7 Liquor Liability Tips

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Make sure your special event insurance includes Host Liquor Liability.
Make sure your special event insurance includes Host Liquor Liability.

If you plan to serve alcohol at your special event, make sure you are protected by adequate insurance. The Event Helper, Inc. has been providing insurance for meeting and event planners since 2009, and offers the following tips:

1) Make sure to inquire about any special conditions or permits needed to serve alcohol.
2) Be aware of the laws in your locale which may govern the sale and consumption of alcohol.
3) Seek legal advice if you are not clear on the applicable liquor liability laws that apply to your special event.
4) Be sure that controls are in place to make sure that intoxicated or underage patrons are not served. Do you have a procedure in place to check IDs?
5) Have a plan in place to manage the situation if one of the guests becomes intoxicated.
6) Consider having a vendor or independent contractor provide the alcohol.
7) Consider ending the serving of alcohol an hour or two prior to the close of your special event.

It’s also important to make sure your special event insurance covers events where alcohol is served and that it includes Host Liquor Liability—coverage for event holders that will have alcohol at the event but are not selling alcohol. The liability could transfer from the drinker to the host when the drinker shows signs of intoxication and then is served, or is allowed to serve themselves more alcohol.

If you are asked to remove Host Liquor Liability, there is no need to remove it. Even at alcohol-free events, if someone sneaks in alcohol, you could be liable regardless of whether or not it was provided by you.

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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