Monthly Archives: July 2011

Hospitality Industry Theft Risks: Hotel Bathrobes, Towels, And Bedroom Supplies Can Be Monitored By RFID Technology

“…hotels are using the tech to monitor the whereabouts of bathrobes, bed sheets, duvet covers, bathmats, pool towels and banquet linens…”

“…Up to 20 per cent of hotels’ stock typically go missing, estimates William Serbin of Linen Tracking Technology…”

The RFID technology – which stands for radio frequency identification and requires an installed chip that can be read by an electronic reader – has been used by various industries for several years to organise product storage and tally shipments.

The company, which sells trackable linens, has teamed with Fluensee, an inventory tracking technology firm, to market the RFID tags to hotels.

A towel with a chip is about a dollar more than other towels, he says. Bendable and washable, the tags can be read by sensors up to six feet away.

When towels are removed from a closet, for example, a reader station can register how many, so that the closet can be restocked.

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Hospitality Industry Liability Risks: Florida Hotel Sued By Victim Of ATV Crash For “Serving Alcoholic Drinks” To Defendent

“…The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, contends that the Clevelander Hotel regularly allowed on-duty police officers to drink alcohol and hang out at its nightclubs…”
A lawsuit filed Thursday claims that a popular South Beach hotel regularly served alcoholic drinks to an on-duty police officer who later crashed his speeding all-terrain vehicle into two people strolling the beach before dawn, seriously injuring both.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Kitzie Nicanor, 29, seeks unspecified damages from the Clevelander Hotel and Derick Kuilan, who was fired from the Miami Beach Police Department shortly after the July 3 crash. Kuilan, 30, also faces criminal charges in the case.

Nicanor suffered a traumatic brain injury that will likely require years of rehabilitation, said her attorney Frank Toral. Nicanor, a Seattle resident who has a 1-year-old son, remains hospitalized in stable condition. Her parents are caring for her son.

Earlier this week, Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega said his department was investigating whether on-duty drinking by officers, clearly banned under agency policy, was nevertheless more common than expected.

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Hospitality Industry Security Risks: Hotel “Cyber Liability Myths Exposed”

Cyber Liability Myths Exposed

By Brad Durbin – Petra Risk Solutions 


In today’s e-commerce society, operating your hotel without cyber liability coverage is like attempting to drive your car blindfolded on a  Southern California  freeway during rush-hour traffic. 

Here are three common myths and misconceptions I’ve heard repeatedly when discussing cyber liability insurance coverage with hotel owners and operators. 

Myth #1 – “I use the online reservation system offered by my franchise.  They’ll cover me if their system is hacked and my guest’s personal information is compromised.”

This is by far the most common misconception among hoteliers about their exposure and responsibility for a data breach. It’s easy to see why.  You are using your franchisor’s reservation system, which is offered as part of your franchise agreement.  Why wouldn’t they cover you if their system is hacked? 

The answer is in your contract.  While some franchise agreements are more favorable in this area than others, most contain special provisions regarding the use of their online reservation systems.  These provisions typically state that the hotel will be responsible for defending the franchisor and holding them harmless, regardless of whether the data breach came from within the online reservation system. 

The exposure is even greater for non-franchised properties using third party reservations system providers or wholesalers.  I have yet to come across a contract for these services that could be viewed as favorable for the hotel in the event that the reservation system is breached. 

 Myth #2 – “If a hotel guest’s credit card information is stolen at the property level, my Payment Card Processing company will cover me under their policy.” 

Most hoteliers erroneously assume that their Payment Card Processing Company (PCP) will have their best interest in mind in the event of a data breach.  I’m not sure why.  No business, regardless of how great or longstanding your relationship with them has been, will volunteer to pay significant attorney costs and consumer notification fees for you unless they are contractually obligated to do so.  Not surprisingly, most PCP contracts are heavily weighted in favor of the PCP provider regardless of where the data was taken from or if the PCP company is to blame.

Your liability is even greater for a data breach that can be traced back to the hotel property level.  If this happens, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) mandates that you conduct a forensic accounting audit of all your records.  These audits can cost $20,000 – $25,000 for a single location, limited service property. This amount does not include fines typical for any non-compliance issues discovered during the audit. 

Myth #3 – “Cyber liability coverage is a waste of money.”

Most states have laws requiring you to notify EVERY GUEST in your database upon discovery of a breach (e.g. California Senate Bill 1386).  Analysts estimate that the average cost for this notification is approximately $30 per record.  Multiply this by the number of records in your system, or the number of guests who have stayed at your hotel over the years, and you can see just how financially devastating these claims can become. 

For a typical limited service franchised property with $2,500,000 – $5,000,000 in annual room revenue, a cyber liability policy with a $1,000,000 limit can usually be obtained for less than $7,000 annually… an extremely fair price point considering the risks and hefty costs associated with a data breach.

Final Thoughts

When a hotel data breach occurs, guests won’t know or care that another company may be responsible.  They will come directly to the hotel for a remedy. The ENTIRE FINANCIAL BURDEN for notification costs, legal defense, and monetary settlement of all related claims may be borne directly by the hotel – if it does not have an appropriate cyber liability insurance policy in force.

To protect your hospitality assets, select and obtain cyber liability coverage that will address PCI fines, consumer notification costs, credit monitoring, and any government or regulatory action levied against your business in the event that a data breach is discovered.  Not all cyber policies include coverage for these areas, so it’s important for you to work with a qualified hospitality insurance broker. 

Securing proper cyber liability insurance coverage is a cost effective method for hoteliers to help mitigate the risks associated with owning and operating a hotel in today’s digital society. 


Brad Durbin is a Hospitality Insurance Specialist with Petra Risk Solutions. For questions about Hotel Cyber Liability or any other Hospitality Risk Solutions, contact Brad at

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Hospitality Industry Cybercrime Risks: Hotel Management Must Insure Against “Illegal Use” Of Internet Access By Individuals Engaging In “Online Piracy”

“Small businesses that offer Internet access, such as a coffee shop or a hotel or even a car mechanic with a waiting area, should be aware of the industry’s crackdown on piracy and take steps to ensure their customers aren’t using the service to steal content,”

 “…people don’t want to pirate music from home because they’re afraid of getting caught, so they’ll use the WiFi connection of a (outside business)…”

The National Federation of Independent Business, a non-profit small-business association, issued a warning to Main Street entrepreneurs who offer Internet access to their customers: Take steps now to avoid allegations of online piracy. Record labels, movie studios and other industry groups recently struck a deal where participating Internet providers will issue warnings to customers whose accounts are allegedly used to steal content.

Under the deal, customers whose accounts are allegedly used for piracy will receive at least five alerts from their Internet provider. Upon sending the fifth notice, the Internet provider may implement certain “mitigation measures” to stop the alleged piracy, including reducing Internet speeds or redirecting traffic to a special landing page until the customer contacts the Internet provider to discuss the issue.

“Internet service providers wouldn’t have to pull the plug on a customer after the sixth notice, but that’s a possibility, and that’s where businesses have to watch out,” said Beth Milito, senior executive counsel for the NFIB. “Small businesses rely on their Internet connections the same way they do the telephone. It’s how they communicate with customers and vendors. It’s where they do business.”

  • One easy way to discourage abuse for businesses offering WiFi is to prevent people who aren’t customers from using their Internet connection by requiring a password. “For example, they could print a password on the receipt and change it periodically, to prevent non-customers from using the service,” Milito said.
  • Businesses can also block access to certain Websites and types of Websites, she added. “This requires a little bit of know-how on the part of the small-business owner, and it may accidentally block access to legitimate Websites, but it also can discourage people from using a business’s network to steal content,” she said. “With more and more people carrying smartphones and even tablets, free WiFi can help a small business attract and keep customers, but unless a business owner uses commonsense and takes precautions, those customers could come at a hefty price.”

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: New Insurance Offerings Cover “Bed Bug Infestation, Loss Of Revenue And Guests’ Risk Of Bringing Bed Bugs Home”

“…The new offering covers lost revenue resulting from treating rooms, as well as paying for the cost of eliminating the bugs…”

“…It can also cover business or leisure travellers against the risk of bringing bedbugs home from a conference or overnight stay…”

Lloyd’s underwriters have teamed up with insurance broker Aon and Global Excess Partners, an innovator in new insurance products, to develop a comprehensive bedbug insurance solution for travellers and the hospitality industry.

According to Lloyd’s, bedbug infestations are on the rise, causing hotel owners, landlords and businesses major problems.

High levels of infestation have been reported in the US and Europe, with New York topping the list of cities in a bedbug battle.

Bedbugs are regarded as the most difficult of pest to treat, more so than cockroaches, ants and termites, as they are elusive, can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 50 degrees Celsius.

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Hospitality Industry Pool Safety: Young Boy Saved From Near Drowning In Michigan Hotel’s “Murky” Pool During Pool Party

“…Blackman Township Public Safety deputy director Jon Johnston says the boy was pulled from the pool, limp and unresponsive. He adds the the child was a guest at a birthday party among nearly 25 other kids when he ended up in the deep end…”

“There were several adults in the immediate pool area and the mother was in the gathering area surrounding the pool so it was situation where one the kids they lost track of,”

A four-year-old boy is recovering, in serious condition on Wednesday after nearly drowning in a hotel pool. It happened at the Avalon Hotel and Conference Center in Blackman Township late Tuesday night. A guest from Stevensville, Michigan is being credited with saving the child’s life.

“The water was a little murky but I knew I saw somebody at the bottom of the pool — little legs, little arms.”

Bettig and his family were at the Avalon Hotel, just off US-127 for a memorial service for his father. “We came home to sit around the pool and look at some pictures of Dad and about fifteen minutes into looking at the photos my son bought it to my attention that there was a boy floating in the water,” said Bettig. “If it wasn’t for his eyes noticing — a couple minutes could have gone by and the little boy might not have had a chance.”

He says the child was underwater for a couple minutes before Bettig dove in. The child was pulled from the pool with a strong pulse but not breathing on his own. He was taken to Allegiance Hospital and then flown to the University of Michigan hospital.

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P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Sales/Group Contracts” Discussed By Todd Seiders, Director Of Risk Management For Petra Risk Solutions (Video)

Petra Risk Solutions’ Director of Risk Management, Todd Seiders, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘Sales/Group Contracts’. 

P3 ( Petra Plus Process) is the Risk Management Division of Petra Risk Solutions – America ’s largest independent insurance brokerage devoted exclusively to the hospitality marketplace.

For more information on Petra and P3 visit or call 800.466.8951.

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