Tips for Avoiding Winter Weather Liabilities
A reminder that winter is in full swing really isn’t necessary, as winter’s wrath has already made headlines warning about snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. However, it’s always good to be reminded that, in addition to heeding the customary advice regarding winter dress and careful driving, you are also well-advised to take precautions to protect your business from liability for injury to your customers.
Does your insurance provide adequate protection in the event that a customer slips and falls on your business’s property?
Having adequate limits of liability coverage in your businessowners insurance policy (BOP) is critical all year long. (You might be amazed at all the ways that customers manage to get injured on jewelers’ premises under circumstances that could leave the businesses liable!) However, with the heightened risks of ice and wet floors, winter provides a good reminder of the need to be protected.
In fact, in assessing their liability exposure, some businesses choose to include an umbrella policy in their insurance portfolio. An umbrella policy provides additional liability protection beyond the limits that a business owners policy typically provides.
When was the last time you spoke with your insurance agent or broker to confirm that your business is adequately protected against liabilities?
In addition to having insurance protection in the event that something goes wrong, you can take precautions to lower the likelihood of experiencing an unfortunate event for which your business could be liable.
For when snow and ice are present:
- Shovel snow immediately after any snowfall.
- Use salt frequently.
- Assure that any accessory carpeting lies flat to prevent trips after customers clean their footwear.
For all times of the year:
- Keep your sidewalks in parking lots in good repair and free of debris.
- Make sure the premises are in accordance with local building codes (outdoor lighting, height of stairs, height of rails, etc.).
- Apply decals to large glass displays that customers could walk into.
If an accident does occur, follow this protocol:
- DO express empathy and offer assistance.
- DO NOT admit guilt or assume responsibility.
- DO document every detail related to the incident, retain surveillance footage, and contact your insurance company immediately.
- DO NOT discuss the incident with anyone else other than your insurance company or trusted general counsel.