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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Scotch ... intoxication and liquor liability Insurance

Recently I posted on ‘whiskey train’ titled ‘lifting up’….. there are many bars and restaurants which serve liquor ~ the western culture has caught up with many and you see such places crowded always. On the otherside, there is the Govt enterprise – owned, controlled and run by Govt – the TASMAC shops – which you will find people queuing up, as if something is being given free or rushing towards the shop in a manner, as though the World is about to come to an end soon.

In the land where we had prohibition, now we have bars – some situate nearer schools, places of worship, near bus stops and more…. and those enlightened people who have had something flowing in keep themselves engaged in skirmishes and cause nuance to the common man !....

Miles away, in the land that ruled us in the previous century is Scotland, a country that is part of the United Kingdom sharing its border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east. Edinburgh, the country's capital and second-largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres. Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland has the title of Europe's oil capital. Scotch is an adjective meaning "of Scotland" ~~ the word "Scotch" is only applied to specific products, mostly food or drink, such as Scotch whisky, Scotch pie, Scotch broth, and Scotch eggs.  A photo of black dog in my earlier post attracted quite a few comments from my friends ~ it is a brand of scotch whisky.
collaged photo of Rajnikant in an old movie and a Tasmac bar....

Now a Q to my sober insurance friends is – how much of business opportunity lies here……. Not to speak of the business that one can think of making from table friends in a bar. There can be Fire policy covering the stocks of liquor and other assets in the place of sale; there can be marine insurance for the stocks in movement from place to place ………. And there can be liability insurance too… !!!

It is that branch which protects an individual or business from the risk that they may be sued and held legally liable for something such as malpractice, injury or negligence. Liability insurance policies cover both legal costs and any legal payouts for which the insured would be responsible if found legally liable. Intentional damage and contractual liabilities are typically not covered in these types of policies.

One common example is the Act Policy [Third Party Liability policy] in Motor Insurance.  In India, as prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Act, every vehicle owner must have a policy covering the liability that might arise out of the use of the motor vehicle in a public place. Employers liability, also known as Workmen Compensation is another where the Employer has liability to their employees for death / injuries ‘arising out of and in the course of employment’. 

Though it is not prevalent in this manner and though liability related suits are not very high in India, theoretically, any establishment that sells, serves, or assists in the purchase or use of liquor – is open to a liability claim as a consequence of someone getting drunk to the extent that injuries or property damages are the result. It is logical that persons in inebriated condition are still responsible for their action but any accident / injury at the business place that serves alcohol opens itself to liability arising out injuries / accidents also. 

Understand that in some jurisdictions, this might extend to result of actions of those drunk…. An intoxicated person, driving a car after getting drunk, driving negligently, causing an accident – the driver is liable, the car owner is liable [the motor insurer might escape liability] ……. But the bar which sold might still be…. unthinkable in Indian context….. there it is necessary for those establishments serving alcohol to have coverage with ‘liquor liability policy’. 

Some web search made me understand that many states in the US require establishments that sell alcohol to carry liquor liability insurance. Most liquor liability insurance policies exclude the selling of alcohol illegally, such as selling liquor to a minor. There a higher % of alcohol related liability claims raise from fights or altercations that are liquor-induced. Liquor liability insurance  would provide coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policyholder.  There is something known  “dram shop liability,” or social host liability that  holds a social or commercial host liable for injuries inflicted on a third party by an intoxicated guest of the host’s event or establishment.  In some states, every bar in which an intoxicated person drank can be pulled into a lawsuit if the person causes bodily injury to a third party ~ and some Insurers offer discounts on liquor liability coverage to establishments that provide alcohol awareness education and training to employees

~ and that makes an interesting read for any Insurers as it did for the Insurer from Triplicane – Yours Truly

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

5th Oct 2013.

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