Posts Tagged ‘Liability’

Social Host Laws and Prom Time

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments


This morning the office talk turned to prom time. The group was a bunch of guys so the usual hair, dress and nail discussions were not the topics! The topic was the “after party”.

The proms and the parties are a right of passage for both kids and parents.

We know that “after parties” or any teen party for that matter is tricky.

At Herlihy Insurance Group we thought this may be a good time to share the Mass laws on underage drinking.

Am I breaking the law if I allow my child’s underage guests to consume alcohol in my home?

Yes. The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21. It is against the law to serve or provide alcohol to underage guests or to allow them to drink alcohol in your home or on other property you control. If you do, you may be prosecuted criminally. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. M.G.L. c. 138, s. 34

Can I be sued if my child or an underage guest at my home drinks alcohol and injures someone?

Yes. You may be financially responsible if your child or underage guest injures another person (or himself) after having consumed alcohol, if you controlled the supply of the alcohol, made it available, or served it. Civil judgments can be for millions of dollars.

What if my child allows underage guests to drink or possess alcohol at my home or other property I control?

You or your child may be charged criminally. For you to be found guilty under the Social Host Law, the Commonwealth must prove that you or your child knowingly or intentionally supplied, gave, provided, or allowed minors to possess alcohol at your home or other property you controlled. You or your child may also be sued civilly.

Does the Social Host Law apply if I rent a hotel room for my daughter’s party?

Yes, since you control the hotel room, the Social Host Law applies. M.G.L. c. 138, s. 34

We wish all our friends and families a safe prom season. Keep them safe.

Looking for more information?  Click here.

Summer Life On The Liability Ledge

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Personal Insurance No Comments

As we in Massachusetts completely enjoy our summer weather, some of us in the insurance world can be restless and here is why.

Picture this – You are seated so comfortable in your beach chair, blue skies over head, cool beverages and friends by your side. You should not have a care in the world!

That is how my Saturday afternoon started. It was perfect. Enter the beach boaters, paddle boaters, kayakers, water skiers and my sunny afternoon got just a bit “cloudy”. It must be said that all of these beach people are “good people”. None of them are out to injure. Things just tend to happen!

I will not bore you with all of the exciting choices these people were making . Just know that I actually turned my chair so I was no longer facing the water. I am not sure whether it was the SPEEDING jet skis driven by the 12 year old or the parents jumping off the roof of the boats that caused me to turn my chair.

I do know that I spent quite a few minutes thinking that all of those people participating in boating and water sports that day truly needed a Personal Umbrella Policy. Summer time and all of its unique activities remind us again to make sure that Personal Umbrella Policy is active.

Next weekend I hope to be able to keep my chair facing the water and if you have not yet added a Personal Umbrella Policy to your insurance protection please do so once you get home from the beach!

Did I mention the home grown slip and slide created on the beach?

Happy Summer!

Who’s Hosting?

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by Personal Insurance No Comments

House Party

As we roll into June the graduation party, wedding party and “BIG” birthday party invites tend to appear in our mail and email. This is always a very fun time of year to celebrate. Our family gets to visit with many friends and relatives that we may not have seen for a while. Each party is typically its own adventure of some sort.

There are the parties with the “ice luges” and the parties with the “bowling tournaments” and even a “Back to the Eighties” event. Each event definitely presents its own fun factor. Some of these events are hosted at homes and others at different venues.

We like to review with all of our clients the “Host Liquor” Coverage that may or may not be included on their personal insurance policies. If you are serving alcohol Host Liquor Liability is defined as follows:

Liability for bodily injury (BI) or property damage (PD) arising out of the serving or distribution of alcoholic beverages by a party not engaged in this activity as a business enterprise.

House Party

If you are hosting a party that is serving alcohol, please check in with your home insurance carrier to make certain that your Host Liquor Liability coverage is INCLUDED. As we know not all home insurance policies are the same and all party hosters should check on this before the invites go out!

We hope that you enjoyed all the parties this June. As Jay Herlihy would always say… “Take it easy.”

A recent story about Airbnb…

Posted on: April 13th, 2015 by Personal Insurance No Comments

Airbnb’s short and startling ride to global ubiquity, it has delighted many people. Hosts can rent rooms or their entire home and use the income to avoid having a day job, to make ends meet or to get into the bed-and-breakfast business without bothering with local licensing rules or all the usual red tape.

This is one of the “new shared” economy businesses that continue to evolve around us.

For those of you who are planning to rent out some space, please remember to check in with your insurance agent BEFORE you host guests. In most cases you will need to add additional liability protection to your home insurance policy to cover this added exposure.

Here is a recent article of one guest’s Airbnb stay that did not quite go as planned!

Your Car Insurance – Full Coverage – and Ice Cream

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by Personal Insurance No Comments

Summer is a time for ice cream! At our agency we even have the ice cream truck stop by our office a few times during the summer. These ice cream truck visits tend to be a big hit.

You would think that it would be easy to select an ice cream treat from the truck but actually it can be quite difficult when you like everything.

When I recently asked a fellow employee to grab me an ice cream from the truck they started in with several questions. Do you like chocolate or vanilla? Jimmies or no jimmies? Slush or frozen candy bars? Our ice cream truck has numerous options.

It was difficult for them to grab me an ice cream without more information! Because of the assortment and the fact that “ice cream” could mean so many things, this was a challenge.

We at Herlihy Insurance Group have a similar dilemma when our clients contact us to order “full coverage” on their car. You see there is no such thing as “full coverage”.

“Full coverage” isn’t a coverage in itself. It’s a phrase generally used to designate a number of coverages that provide a good amount of protection: specifically liability, comprehensive, and collision coverages.

In Massachusetts your car insurance has twelve basic coverage options. It takes us about 5 minutes for us to briefly what each of these coverages can do for you. If you are new to MA car or every time you get a new or new to you car we hope you have 5 minutes to hear about your options.

I probably take that long sorting out my ice cream choices! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Snow Removal & Your Liability

Posted on: December 6th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Although the white stuff hasn’t arrived in bunches to date, it won’t be long until our New England winter shows its true colors. If you are a contractor who plows or a property owner who hires contractors for snow removal, you have liability issues. If someone gets injured from a slip or fall during the winter, chances are good they’ll be looking for compensation. Whether you or your contractor plowed properly doesn’t really matter.

Actual Claim

One of our contractor clients recently received suit papers from one of their customers. Two years ago a delivery driver slipped on a patch of snow in his customer’s parking lot. The delivery driver sued the owner of the store. Since our contractor had signed a contract with the store owner, our contractor was responsible for defending and paying any damages.


Property Owners

Make sure the contractor doing the snow removal or sanding has Automobile, Liability and Workers Compensation insurance. The liability policy MUST include coverage for snow removal and snow removal should be stated on any certificate of insurance. MANY companies exclude this from contractor’s liability policies. The automobile and liability policies should name you (building owner) as Additional Insured. A contract with a hold harmless agreement and/or indemnity wording is also recommended.


Your auto policy only provides coverage while you are at the job site plowing. After you leave, your liability policy would have to respond. Make sure your liability policy INCLUDES snow removal. Many insurance companies exclude snow removal coverage but may be willing to add it for an additional charge. In some cases, a separate policy may be necessary. Don’t assume you have coverage just because you have a liability policy.

You have Questions? Call Us, We have the Answers.

Snow Plowing Questions Answered

Posted on: November 15th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Many people add plows to their trucks in the winter in the hopes of generating some additional income in the winter months. How and where you place your insurance can be as important as the jobs you get this winter. Quick look at some common questions we receive;

I have a plow on my pickup truck, Do I need a commercial auto liability policy?

Not Necessarily. A snow plow does not disqualify your truck from a Personal Auto Policy (PAP) even if you are using the truck for paid services. If you are operating as an individual, a PAP with a business use Class# 30 may do the trick.

I plow for a town and businesses that require additional insured status, Do I need a commercial auto policy?

YES, regardless of the size or ownership of your vehicle, an additional insured Can Not be added to a PAP. A Commercial Auto Policy (CAU) is your answer. We can add Additional Insured endorsement to meet your obligation.

I have added a plow to my truck, Is physical damage included for my plow?

Yes you can include physical damage coverage for your plow. You must make certain you have physical damage coverage for your truck and add the additional value of the plow.

I have a Commercial Auto Policy, Does my insurance include coverage if someone slips and falls and is injured after I have finished plowing?

NO, One of the biggest exposures all plow operators have is accidents occurring after they have cleared the property, Completed Operations. Completed Operations should be covered under your Commercial General Liability policy. Some companies have limitations on where you are plowing (driveways, streets, parking lots, etc.); get your answers before a claim comes in.

All plowing operations are different, and each company handles snow plowing their own way. For the answers that fit your plowing operations…

Call Us. You have Questions, We have the Answers!

Physicians Billing Errors & Omissions

Posted on: September 27th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Now more than ever, we are seeing the Federal Government increasing scrutiny of physician practices and their billing practices. Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial Insurance companies have launched aggressive campaigns to enforce billing rules and regulations. The addition of increased and complicated billing regulations have left many physician groups spending more time on administration issues creating new liability challenges.

Informed physicians are greatly concerned with the volume of billing in their practices, the education of their employees, and the fines and penalties being levied. Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC’s) are targeting Physicians, Medical Groups and Hospitals and are paid a percentage of any provider overpayments they uncover. The stakes are high and the exposures are real. Do not expect to avoid an audit by having the billing handled by an outside billing party. The information starts and ends with each physician group.

With billing fines up to $11,000 per claim, the audit results for a medical group could be catastrophic. Protection for your practice and reputation are available and can include;

  • Prior Acts Coverage
  • Defense Costs including attorneys and consultants
  • Liability limits from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
  • Substantial cost reduction for medical groups with 10 or more physicians

For more information on Billing Errors & Omissions, Call Us.

You have questions, We have the answers.

New England Winter Snow; “White Gold” or One Big Headache?

Posted on: January 18th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

To date our New England winter has proven to be more bark than bite, with snow fall numbers falling a foot below what we normally see by mid-January. For property owners a nice break from some tough recent winters, for contractors a lost opportunity to pick up additional revenue during a traditionally slow time of year. Either way, property owner or contractor, your potential liability and how you handle snow removal can prove to be costly if not addressed correctly.

What’s all the fuss?

A claim from last year can help answer.

One of our property owners hired a contractor to clear his parking lot and sidewalks for the winter season. A UPS driver making a delivery to the property, slips on an icy sidewalk and goes down hard. The Workers Compensation company for UPS driver sues the building owner for the medical and lost wages paid to the injured UPS driver. Building owner turns the suit over to the contractor who does not have coverage for snow removal. Building owner owes $80,000 for payments made to UPS driver. Building owner also receives an increase on their building insurance of 20% due to the claim. No one; building owner, contractor or driver is happy.

Where do we go from here?

Property Owners

All property owners should make certain any contractor doing snow removal or sanding has Automobile, General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance. The General Liability policy must INCLUDE coverage for snow removal and certificates of insurance should clearly state snow removal is INCLUDED. More companies today are excluding snow removal coverage on General Liability policies, you will not know if snow removal is in or out unless you ask for it in writing. Make the contractor show you the coverage or find another contractor. Also, add yourself as an additional insured on the contractor’s Automobile and General Liability policies. A hold harmless or indemnity agreement is also in your best interest.


When accepting work to clear driveways, parking lots, walkways, etc., contractors need to make certain their General Liability insurance extends to their work AFTER the work is completed. In the claim scenario above, the UPS driver was injured after the contractor completed the work. Commercial Automobile insurance will not provide coverage once the job is completed. The General Liability policy can provide coverage for snow removal if the insurance company elects to offer the coverage, some companies will not offer snow removal coverage. If snow removal coverage has been removed you may be able to buy the coverage back, in some specific cases a separate snow removal policy may be necessary. Do not assume snow removal is included in your contracts, odds are it is not, read the contracts you are signing when accepting business to make sure no surprises down the road.

Winter can provide many opportunities for fun and profit if you know the rules of the game. If you are a property owner or contractor and these claims / concepts are news to you, we have the answers. Eight weeks to go until the first day of spring, we’re sure Mother Nature has saved her best for last this year.

Changes to Slip & Fall Liability

Posted on: November 15th, 2010 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

A recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has changed its liability viewpoint for slip & fall accidents caused by snow and ice and it is not good for property owners.

In the past, the determining factor was whether a slip and fall accident was caused by a “natural” or “unnatural” accumulation of snow and ice. Previous court cases ruled that a property owner who did not remove “natural” accumulations of snow and ice may not be liable for a slip and fall incident. From a liability standpoint, it was better for a property owner not to plow his driveway or shovel his walkway. If “unnatural” accumulation of snow and ice was the cause of the accident, the property owner was found liable to some degree for the accident.

Going forward the courts will now evaluate a property owner’s responsibility based upon the “reasonable care” an owner takes to eliminate a hazard at their property. The question to be answered is – What is “reasonable care”? Is it reasonable to wait an hour, a day or the next morning to shovel a walkway? Unfortunately we all have to wait until more court cases are decided to determine “reasonable care”.

At a minimum we recommend all property owners purchase an Umbrella Liability Policy and review the certificate of insurance and the contract with any company providing your snow removal. For additional information please call (508) 756-5159.