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A sobering thought for pubs with beer gardens (courtesy of Zurich Insurance)

At a glance

  • As summer approaches, pub landlords will need to check outside furniture and fittings for damage to ensure their premises are fit for purpose.

  • Storm damage to smoking shelters was one of the most common claims Zurich received over the winter.

  • Any new activities or services for a pub – such as adding a temporary bouncy castle, barbeque or hosting a fireworks display – could have implications on their existing insurance.

After such a wretched winter there will be no shortage of people hoping for a warm, dry summer and looking forward to a drink in a beer garden. This is great news for landlords. However, there are public liability exposures to think about before they start serving up.

Customer wellbeing has to be at the forefront of their minds and, as outside furniture and fittings get a spring clean, they should also get a thorough inspection to make sure they are in good order.

Anything from cracked paving to broken benches could pose a problem and landlords need to make sure every part of their premises is fit for purpose. This will minimise the number of slips and trips customers suffer and ensure publicans have fulfilled their duty of care to their customers.

Over the winter, storm damage to smoking shelters was one of the most common claims Insurers received, and making sure these structures have survived the wild weather intact is a key responsibility for publicans.

For other outside areas, such as children’s climbing frames and play parks, landlords also need to ensure the equipment is still safe and that they comply with the appropriate Health and Safety Executive regulations.

Appropriate cover

In particular, where landlords introduce items for a short period of time, such as a bouncy castle or barbeque, they need to ensure the operator has the appropriate cover in place and retains liability for any issues that arise from its use.

If they want to make such an item a permanent fixture and operate it for themselves, then they should speak to their broker to make sure such a change is covered by their existing policy.

Similarly, where landlords decide to hold events such as fireworks displays or mini festivals, an insurer will need details around who is running the event, when it is taking place, how it is being managed and the numbers of people attending.

Brokers play a key part in helping insurers keep abreast of these sorts of changes to risks in both the pub and restaurant trade. The relationship they enjoy with their clients means they will be aware of any fundamental changes to the business from offering a new late-night takeaway service to hosting ticketed comedy gigs.

While pub and restaurant owners will be focused on growing their business, it is important brokers advise them about the implications any new activities or services could have on their existing insurance.

This will ensure that, as the business develops, it continues to have the appropriate cover in place to safeguard it for the future.

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