From the Front Lines: Liquor Liability

Bill SchanerWilliam Schaner

President
Hospitality Insurance Agency and Craft Beverage Agency
Lansing, Michigan

How did you get started at your agency?

I started my career working in the IT department for a monoline liquor liability carrier. I transitioned to a claims manager position before the company was bought out by a multiline insurance company and they moved me to a marketing position. This is where I learned about the front lines of the industry. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, it was easy to transition to open my own agency and specialize in liquor liability.

Why liquor liability?

It’s the line of insurance I have the most experience in. From my claims experience, I understand the law. I can explain to clients the intricacies of the law and the coverage the liquor licensee is purchasing.

Biggest liquor liability changes?

The biggest changes have come with the court rulings. In Michigan, for example, the courts are constantly redefining liability for a liquor licensee.

Biggest liquor liability challenges?

Providing insurance to a client with a level of coverage that will protect them without making them “insurance poor.”

Future of liquor liability?

In Michigan, liquor liability coverage is defined by dram shop laws, so there is little variation and the coverages are straightforward. Even with recent court rulings, I expect this to remain the same going forward.

Liquor liability advice for a fellow agent?

Know your client’s needs and find a company that specializes in your client’s business.

Favorite liquor liability success story?

My success stories happen every time a new risk calls and I can explain the laws and the coverage they are buying. Some business owners in the state have been buying an insurance policy but don’t know what the policy covers. I can relate past experiences and case law I have read to help the client understand their coverage.

Will Jones is IA assistant editor.