COMPANY HOLIDAY PARTIES – EXTREME CAUTION REQUIRED!

It’s that time of year again!  Time to take stock, give thanks, celebrate with friends and family…and be named in a host liquor liability lawsuit!  Nobody wants to be reminded that alcohol and gasoline don’t mix, but reality doesn’t take a holiday.   The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers – 12% more than the rest of the month of December.

Holiday Parties are a great way to boost company morale and build rapport with customers, but the potential for tragedy can’t be overstated.  You may think “I won’t sever alcohol, so I have no liability.”  That’s true unless some of your guests bring their own booze (BYOB), become inebriated and you allow them to drive home.  You could be held liable for any accident they cause while driving under the influence.  You were the host and allowed alcohol to be served at your party; hence, the “host” in host liquor liability. 

Whether you serve alcohol at your party or allow guests to bring their own, there are certain precautions you might consider to ensure their safety and that of the public.

  1. Provide rides through a car service, taxis, Uber or Lyft for those guests who may have had one too many.
  2. Arrange for rooms at a local hotel.  Make sure your guests don’t drive themselves to the hotel.
  3. Require your guests to have a designated driver.  Be certain everyone knows you take this seriously.
  4. Don’t host a BYOB party. 
  5. You, or someone you designate should be prepared to enforce these precautions.
  6. You may even consider not hosting a party. 

These suggestions may sound extreme.  Some guests may think you are being overly protective.  If so, they’ll get over it.  Bottom line:  don’t let anyone at your party drive drunk. 

If you decide to host a holiday party with alcohol, your RWC Insurance Advantage general liability policy will cover it by means of an important exception to the liquor liability  exclusion.  In that section are these words:  “…this exclusion applies only if you are in the business of manufacturing, distributing, selling, serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages.”*  As long as you are not in an alcohol related business coverage is included at no additional cost. 

If you want to know more about general liability click here or call us at 866-454-2155.

From all of us at the RWC Insurance Advantage HAVE a SAFE, HAPPY and ACCIDENT FREE HOLIDAY SEASON!

*(This is not intended to explain all the terms, conditions and exclusions in the general liability policy.  Please read your policy for full details, or contact us to review your coverage needs.)

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