The liquor liability insurance landscape in South Carolina has undergone significant changes due to recent court cases and legislative actions, impacting businesses across the state.
The hospitality industry in South Carolina is currently facing a challenging environment regarding liquor liability insurance. A combination of legislative changes and high-profile court cases has created a complex situation for bars, restaurants, and insurance providers.
The Rising Insurance Requirements:
In 2017, the South Carolina General Assembly mandated a $1 million minimum liquor liability coverage following a tragic incident involving a drunken driver. This law marked a significant shift, as liquor liability insurance was not previously mandatory in South Carolina.
The Impact of High-Profile Lawsuits:
Recent cases have spotlighted South Carolina’s joint-and-several liability law. Notably, a convenience store chain agreed to a $15.5 million settlement after selling alcohol to an underage individual involved in a fatal accident. These cases highlight the severe financial risks businesses face when implicated in alcohol-related incidents, even if their involvement is peripheral.
The Consequences for Businesses:
The combination of mandatory insurance requirements and potential for high damage awards has led to soaring insurance premiums and coverage difficulties. Some establishments have reported premiums tripling, and others face difficulties in obtaining coverage at all. The situation has been especially hard on smaller, locally-owned businesses.
Legislative and Industry Responses:
There’s growing concern among industry leaders and insurance professionals about the sustainability of these conditions. Recent clarifications from the Alcohol Beverage Licensing Division and proposed legislative changes suggest efforts to ease the burden on businesses. However, the long-term outlook remains uncertain.
For South Carolina’s hospitality industry, navigating the current liquor liability insurance environment requires vigilance and adaptability. At Noble Insurance Advisors, we understand these challenges and are dedicated to helping our clients find the best solutions in this evolving landscape.
If you’re facing difficulties with liquor liability insurance or have any questions about how these changes affect your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Noble Insurance Advisors for expert guidance and support.