Big Liquor Liability Exposure for Off-Premises Caterers

Hospitality and Liquor
// September 12, 2016
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Many off-premises caterers mistakenly believe that they do not have liquor liability exposure because they do not sell alcohol and do not have a license to sell alcohol.

These caterers concentrate on the elegant preparation, presentation and service of food but can offer alcohol service as an accommodation for clients who purchase and supply the alcohol (e.g. party host purchases a case of champagne for a wedding reception or Sunday brunch). This misconception can mask the caterer’s liquor liability exposure if the staff negligently serves alcohol to a guest under 21 or a guest who is visibly intoxicated.

The relaxed party atmosphere and close relationships of the party attendees often disguise the serious liquor liability exposure if a guest overindulges and has a serious accident, harming third parties during the drive home. In many cases, the claimant usually is not a party attendee, but rather an unrelated party who is injured by the attendee. Unlike the party attendee, the claimant often owes no allegiance to the party host or to the caterer.

A claim example from our files brings this exposure into clear focus. An off-premises caterer was responsible for service of alcohol supplied by a host at an anniversary party. One of the guests had a few drinks and left the party with two friends. On the way home, the guest’s vehicle struck a tree. One passenger was paralyzed from the neck down and the other suffered extensive injuries including permanent facial scarring. Both injured parties sued the caterer for serving an allegedly intoxicated person. Legal costs exceeded $70,000, and the claims are currently reserved at $500,000.

USLI has the perfect annual liquor liability Catering Plus product to protect off-premises caterers, featuring:

  • Limits up to $1,000,000/$2,000,000
  • Caterers not required to have a liquor license
  • Annual coverage without a premises limitation, allowing the caterer to travel freely (within the 41 states where USLI offers liquor liability)
  • Annual coverage, so no need to schedule events
  • Building owner blanket additional insured coverage, only $150 in most states
  • 15 percent credit available for responsible risks with all servers completing a certificate granting alcohol awareness training program
  • Assault or battery coverage included for no additional premium in most states
  • Expense costs, including defense, are outside the limit of liability
  • No deductible

Off-premises caterers work during all seasons of the year for spring wedding receptions, summer garden parties, fall celebrations and holiday parties in the winter. This business is constant and so is the liquor liability exposure.

Make sure that your catering customers know their exposures and are properly protected from loss with USLI’s Catering Plus product. Please contact your Hospitality and Liquor Lines underwriter for more information or a quote.

Download marketing materials for the Catering Plus product >>

As always, thank you for your support and business!

JeffEstabrookWritten by Jeff Estabrook
September 15, 2016

Karen-FordContact Karen Ford,
Second Vice President, Product Team Leader | 888-523-5545 Ext. 2391