If Your Business Serves Alcohol, Invest In Liquor Liability Insurance

Working in a restaurant presents a unique set of challenges to the involved employees and business owners alike, especially if the restaurant serves alcohol. Introducing alcohol into any environment can potentially create a bad situation, either due to fighting or even due to medical emergencies caused by drinking too much.

Due to the risks involved with drinking, restaurants, bars and taverns that serve it are always advised to invest in liquor liability insurance, which is a type of business insurance that would protect the restaurant (or bar or tavern) against any claims made by a patron who became intoxicated and injured themselves or anyone around them. These sorts of claims are not covered by standard liability policies, which is why liquor liability insurance is recommended as an investment not only to restaurants that serve alcohol, but to any businesses that sells, serves or facilitates the use or purchase of alcohol.

Often, restaurants are given two options when purchasing this insurance: to add it on to a commercial liability policy, or to purchase it as a separate policy. No matter which option is chosen, there are five things that any good liquor liability insurance policy should cover:

-Assault and Battery Coverage – The typical claim made against a bar or restaurant stems from a fight that occurred as a result of drinking; as such, a solid liquor liability insurance policy should always include coverage for assault and battery claims.

-Defense Costs Included – If a restaurant faces any claims as a result of serving alcohol, the greatest expenses as a result of these claims usually result from using a lawyer to defend against the claims. Needless to say, since legal fees are incredibly expenses and any business deserves to get skilled legal counsel, it’s best to pass over any insurance policy that does not include defense costs.

-Employees Included – A good liquor liability insurance policy will include employees as patrons, because as experienced restaurant owners know, no rules will stop the determined rule-breaker amongst your staff from enjoying a drink or two on the job. Both you, and your insurance policy, should be prepared for potential trouble because of this.

-Damage Definition Includes Mental Damages – While assault and battery charges are the most common claim made against a bar or restaurant, other claims include charges that patrons were damaged emotionally or psychologically. The right liquor liability insurance policy will include these claims in the damages that policy covers.

-Reduced Premiums Based on Safety and Claims – Finally, it’s also recommended to look for an insurance group that offers things like free classes and training to their policy holders, as well as offers discounts on premiums for undergoing training and having a clean claim record.

While many restaurants avoid purchasing liquor liability insurance, not investing in this insurance is a major gamble. Sometimes it just takes a single suit to potentially bankrupt a restaurant or bar. This isn’t a risk any business owner should take, especially if they live in states with “dram shop” laws, which legally hold bars and restaurants liable if they knowingly over-serve a visibly intoxicated patron who goes on to injure another person; Pennsylvania is one of those states.

So with New Years celebrations just around the corner, now is the time to talk to one of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff members (F.W.F Insurance Agency) to either evaluate or find your liquor liability insurance. Contact our staff now to set up an appointment! Whether you’re in Johnstown or any other area in central Pennsylvania, and whether you need an entirely new policy or to update the one you already have, we’re here to help you. Our representatives in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties are all ready to work with you so that you can continue operating with peace of mind during this wonderful, but risky, time of the year.

10 Important Safety Tips To Remember During The Holidays

December in America is a time of tradition and celebration, thanks to the three major holidays that take place throughout the month. This year, with Hanukkah already at a close, Christmas and Kwanza are looking to steal the spotlight for the remainder of the year.

Despite their differences, all three of these holidays share common elements: the use of lights and fire. As a result of holiday traditions that use these items, our holiday celebrations can pose a real danger if not practiced safely. Consider these statistics:

-Each year ERs across the nation treat around 12,500 people for injuries related to the set-up and use of holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These injuries usually result from falls from stepladders or roofs, cuts, or shocks from faulty electric equipment.

-The CPSC also warns that candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss.

-Finally, Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage. Causes of these fires often range from short-circuiting to damaged cords or plugs.

We want to ensure that all of us can enjoy the holidays safely – plus, good fire and electric safety practices are the key to keeping your property and casualty premiums low. Due to this, we’ve put together a list of ten tips that you can use to protect your home during the holidays; these are also tips that any business that has decorated for the holidays can follow:

1. Before putting up any holiday lights, review their packaging for the mark of a recognized testing lab to make sure that they have been tested and meet safety standards. Also, since there are different lights for indoor and outdoor use available on the market, it’s good to double check and make sure that you’re using the proper light sets in each area.

2. Before using your lights, check them over for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Be sure to throw out damaged sets and to replace any burned-out bulbs.

3. Check your extension cords and be sure that you’re not overloading them; a good rule of thumb is to use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

4. If you buy a real tree for Christmas, ensure that you buy a fresh one – this means looking for a tree that’s green, sticky with resin, and that does not lose too many needles when tapped against the ground. Once this tree is in your home, be sure that it’s set up far away from heat sources like fireplaces and radiators (and do not light any candles near the tree!). Give it plenty of water to keep it from drying out as long as possible (and dispose of the tree as soon as it begins dropping lots of needles, as this is a sign that it’s becoming even more flammable).

5. Check that the items you use to trim your tree are made from non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.

6. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it’s fire resistant; note that while this does not make the item fire proof, it does lesson the chances of a fire starting (and should a fire start, it’s likely to extinguish quickly).

7. Never use lights on a metallic tree, as faulty lights can create a charge that could electrocute someone who touches a branch on the tree.

8. Do not put a tree up in front of a door or in a busy hallway, as this can cause an accident or even block an emergency exit in unforeseen situations.

9. Always double check that candles have been extinguished when no one is in a room or when you to go bed. Additionally, always turn off all of your holiday lights, from the ones outside to the ones on your tree (fake or real) when you go to bed; a single short in a light circuit or candle accidentally falling over can easily result in a fire.

10. If you open presents and have a fireplace, do not burn any wrapping paper in the fireplace; since wrapping paper can ignite quickly and burn intensely, a flash fire could develop right before your eyes.

Tips like these should be added onto the safety procedures we recommended using during Thanksgiving, since safety guidelines for cooking and keeping guests out of harm’s way should also be taken in account during December celebrations. Remember: taking these precautions will go a long way in protecting your friends, family, and your property during the holidays, allowing you to truly enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

Our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff all wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Stay safe!

Sail Smoothly Through The Winter With The Right Boat Insurance

As the air grows chillier and the holidays are approaching, most of Pennsylvania’s proud boat owners have already placed their beloved watercraft into storage for the winter. With these vessels set to sit indoors for several more months, we urge any and all local boat owners to make sure that in addition to being properly stored, their vessels are properly insured.

Whether you have a bass or fishing boat, a cabin cruiser, a ski boat, a sailboat or pontoon, any boat owner should have a separate policy fully covering their boating needs. Don’t assume that your boat already has coverage through your auto or homeowners policies; this is often not the case, which is why a separate policy for your watercraft is incredibly important. Additionally, with about 20% of all boat claims occurring during the fall and winter months – when boats and watercraft are most susceptible to fire, theft, vandalism, transportation damage, and sometimes even liability issues – having insurance that provides year round, on- and off-water coverage for your watercraft is an absolute necessity.

Our staff at the Johnstown-based the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency (F.W.F Insurance Agency) believes that if you’re a boat owner, both your time on the water during wonderful weather and your time off during the chilly months should be relaxing and worry free. We understand the importance of having a solid boat insurance coverage plan that ensures you’re protected at all times, not just during the summer months when you and your friends are enjoying a water-side vacation.

Our partner, Safeco Insurance (a Liberty Mutual-owned company), understands this as well. That’s why we’re working together to help you buy the perfect policy to ensure that your vessel, and even some of your boating-related personal effects, will be covered and protected year-round. Work with our staff, and we promise that you’ll be able to find an inexpensive plan for your boat that ensures your vessel, your boating gear, and even your friends and family are covered both on land and in the water, year round; in fact, SafeCo offers high-quality coverage that lasts an entire year, as well as roadside assistance coverage that ensures your boat will also be covered in the event of an emergency tow.

Don’t look at the winter as a time-out from protecting your treasured boat; talk to one our representatives today for personalized advice based on what kind of water vessel and gear you own. Whether you’re located in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties, we’re ready to work with you so that you can plan your next summer by the water knowing that you’ll be covered when you’re ready to set sail, no matter what happens during the off-season.

Contact us now to set up a meeting with one of our local representatives in central Pennsylvania! Our representatives will use their connections to 15 other major insurance companies, including SafeCo, to ensure that your boat’s policy is as comprehensive as possible.

10 Safety Tips To Help Protect You This Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just hours away, our staff members are preparing for a wonderful holiday with their families and friends, just like you. As experts in evaluating risk, though, every member of our team understands that this wonderful holiday must also be treated with caution.

This is because Thanksgiving can be just as stressful and even risky as it is joyous; this fact is further highlighted by several Thanksgiving-related statistics:

-More cooking-related home fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day – in fact, the number of filed cooking or grease related claims climb more on Thanksgiving than other day in November.

-Thanksgiving is the most popular holiday for travel in the country; more people on the roads, in a rush to reach their destinations, inevitably leads to a higher number of accidents.

-With a number of guests coming into households on this holiday, the number of claims for slips and falls on or close to Thanksgiving is also on the rise.

 We know that it can seem a little daunting at first to think of Thanksgiving, a time of celebration, as a risky holiday. Fortunately, a few simple precautions can help keep you, your family, and your guests perfectly safe this holiday season, allowing you to enjoy yourself without trouble. Here are our top ten safety tips for this Thanksgiving:

  1. As you travel, give yourself some extra time to navigate the traffic. Do not drive recklessly; with more accidents than usual happening on the road right now, you want to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible.
  2. If you’re cooking or hosting, be alert as to what’s happening in your kitchen at all times; the last thing you want is for a guest who wanders into the kitchen to accidentally burn themselves on the stove or the pan you just pulled out of the oven.
  3. Check your smoke alarm batteries before you begin cooking.
  4. Use alarms and timers to ensure that nothing stays in the oven too long; then, as you move items in and out of the ovens, watch to make sure that your wrappers, dish towels and other fabrics and flammable items are far away from an ignition source.
  5. While we don’t recommend them due to the danger they pose, if you’re using a fryer, keep it in an open away – never in, on or under things like garages, porches, or other flammable structures near your home – and don’t leave the fryer unattended for any reason. Monitor the temperature of the fryer frequently as well. Never fry a turkey indoors.
  6. Follow the cooking directions; they exist for a reason. For example, you need to completely thaw and dry a turkey before cooking it because partially frozen or wet turkeys can result in hot oil splatters later in the process.
  7. Move slowly when picking up or lowering food; don’t risk splattering hot oil or grease by moving too quickly.
  8. Keep your skin covered to reduce the risk of being burned from any accidental hot liquid splatter – but don’t wear lose, baggy clothing, either: you don’t want your sleeves dangling somewhere they shouldn’t be!
  9. Keep in mind that you are responsible for the well-being of any guest at any age while they are on your property. Make guests aware of any slippery surfaces when they arrive, and remove any potential hazards in your home – from candles to sharp or fragile objects – from immediate reach while you have company.
  10. Keep pets as far away from the Thanksgiving preparations and food as possible. Not only does the kitchen pose a danger should anything hot or heavy fall onto a pet, but our Thanksgiving meals are often dangerous for pets; a lot of the food we eat either can’t be digested, or includes bones, which are major health hazards. Don’t risk the vet visit: keep your pets in a separate part of the house this holiday.

 Following simple safety guidelines like these can help ensure that this holiday, your house is both happy and protected. Should an incident happen, however, both our staff and the local authorities are here to help you through it.

Our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff all wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe and enjoy it!

No One Home? Insurance For Vacant Buildings And Lots Is A Must

If you own a vacant home or empty plot of land, you probably have big plans for that property; you’ve also probably put up ‘No Trespassing’ signs for the time being. The next question to ask yourself, then, is: have I properly insured my property to protect myself, as well as my big plans for that space?

These days, having insurance coverage for any unoccupied space you own is a necessity. At first, it may seem that an empty plot of land or building would not need insurance if it were not in use, but this is not the case; in fact, because these areas are unoccupied, empty buildings or lots carry their own risks and liabilities.

Image a scenario where locals might see an empty lot as a shortcut on their way to work, or teenagers might see a deserted building as a cool place to hang out. Should anyone fall or hurt him- or herself on your vacant property during their fun, based on current case law, you could be sued for damages, no matter how many ‘No Trespassing’ signs you’ve posted around the area.

The only way to truly protect yourself from a potential liability suit is to make sure your vacant lot has vacant land insurance, or that your empty property has vacant property insurance. Both types of polices are usually very affordable, and both are designed to protect your best interests.

Vacant land insurance was designed specifically to protect you financially up to a certain liability limit in the event of an accident on your property, and can be used should someone hurt himself or herself while passing through or playing in the deserted space. Vacant property insurance, on the other hand, is designed to protect an actual structure, and so will often cover damages to a building caused by both natural and manmade disasters, including fire, storms, civil commotions, vandalism, and so forth.

The need for these types of insurance is not limited to individuals or landlords, either; others who may need to insure their empty space include:

-Homeowners who are moving but still own their old house
-Real Estate Investors who are overseeing properties that have lacked tenants for over 60 days
-Banks, mortgage companies, or contractors who are holding completed or repossessed properties or lots that have not sold yet

The good news is, insuring your vacant property or building may not be that difficult! In some cases, it’s an easy as extending a homeowners policy, purchasing an umbrella policy, or simply buying vacant property insurance for a couple of months. And with the right insurance agent, getting this done can be incredibly simple.

We highly encourage anyone who owns a vacant building or lot to talk to a member of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff; we can find out what the most cost effective solution to your insurance needs really is. Don’t let your property pose a risk any longer; whether you live in the Johnstown area or even in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and any other nearby counties, if you contact us today, our local staff members will meet with you as soon as possible to evaluate your specific needs and make sure that you’re protected.