Monthly Archives: December 2011

P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Hotel Cold Weather Checklist” Presented By Risk Manager Joe Fisco Of Petra Risk Solutions (Video)

Petra Risk Solutions’ Risk Manager, Joe Fisco, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘Hotel Cold Weather Checklist’. 

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Insurance, Liability, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hospitality Industry Property Risks: Texas Hotel “Service Elevator” Malfunctions Resulting In Housekeeper’s Fatal Six Story Fall

In Texas, licensed inspectors must check elevators annually. The service elevator at the Crockett Hotel was installed in 1981 and its last annual inspection was in December 2010, according to the most recent records on file with the licensing department. Elevator inspector William McPherson did not note any concerns in his report.

In a 2008 inspection report, McPherson wrote that the service elevator needed a door restrictor — a device that prevents elevator doors opening when an elevator is stuck between floors. It prevents occupants from falling out of the elevator down the shaft, and from being injured if the elevator moves while they try to climb out.

The state’s chief elevator inspector will investigate a fatal incident at the Crockett Hotel, where a housekeeper fell six stories down the shaft of a service elevator Wednesday evening.

Brendel said the elevator was regularly maintained and inspected. He told police that the hotel “had been having problems with the elevators,” but they had been serviced and were working properly, according to a San Antonio police report.

The death stunned Rodriguez’s family, who described her as a warm, kind-hearted woman. She left behind four children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Family members say they have not received any explanation from hotel management about the cause of the death. Gloria Rodriguez’s daughter, Sara Ochoa, said the elevator had frozen with an employee inside it a few days ago, and it had gotten stuck in the past.

Lawrence Taylor, chief inspector for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees elevator safety, was traveling to San Antonio on Thursday to investigate, department spokeswoman Susan Stanford said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency that enforces safety standards for workers, also is investigating the incident.

Brendel said he couldn’t remember if the restrictor had been installed. But in a 2009 letter sent to state officials, he wrote that the hotel was planning to install one. More recent inspection reports did not find any problems regarding the door restrictor.

Read more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Injuries, Insurance, Labor Issues, Maintenance, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Employee Risks: Texas Hotel Uses Video Cameras To Identify Housekeeper Who Used “Portable Electronic Skimmer” To “Steal Guest Credit Card Numbers”

“…a number of guests who suspected someone had entered their rooms and stolen their credit card information, even though they were still in possession of their credit cards. Charges usually were applied to the credit cards several days after the guests had departed the hotel…”

“…While monitoring the hidden camera’s video feed real-time from the hotel security office, Jose Ramirez observed Margarita Fernandez Abreu remove a small device from her pants pocket and then slide approximately three of the debit cards through the device…”

The Stephen F Austin set up an elaborate ruse to trick a hotel maid into revealing she had stolen the credit and debit card numbers of hotel guests.

 Possible suspects in the case were narrowed down to maid Margarita Abreu, the only employee who had entered the room with an electronic key card. Knowing that, the hotel managers set up a hotel room that appeared to be occupied but wasn’t. A hidden camera was placed in the room that focused on the coffee table and debit cards.

 “Margarita also looked through the purse that was on the table as well. Margarita then concealed the device back in her pocket and continued cleaning the room.” After two detectives viewed the video and identified the object as a “card skimmer” that captured and saved the data. That data could be later downloaded and re-encoded to create “clone” credit cards.

Abreu was arrested on charges of credit card abuse, a state jail felony. Her bail was set at $15,000.

For more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Guest Issues, Labor Issues, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Theft

Hospitality Industry Liability Risks: Hawaii Hotel Is Found “Liable” In “Slip-And-Fall Accident” As State Supreme Court Rules “Known Or Obvious Danger” Defense Not Viable

“…Michele R. Steigman sought to recover damages after suffering a slip-and-fall accident while she was a guest of Outrigger Enterprises’ Ohana Surf Hotel….The case went to trial, and a jury found that Outrigger was not negligent…”

“… in Hawaii, the known or obvious danger defense is no longer viable as a complete bar to an injured plaintiff’s claim in the context of premises liability.”

The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled the “known or obvious danger” defense is no longer viable under state law as a complete bar to an injured plaintiff’s premises liability claim. Steigman’s appeal to the Intermediate Court of Appeals resulted in an affirmation of the trial court’s final judgment.

Steigman’s attorneys argued that the ruling goes against a comparative negligence law passed by Hawaii’s legislature in 1969 and modified several times.

The statue states: “Contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in any action by any person or the person’s legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or in injury to person or property, if such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the person or in the case of more than one person, the aggregate negligence of such persons against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage or death recovery is made.”

Therefore the court ruled the traditional “known and obvious danger defense” conflicts with that statute.

“Steigman contends that the traditional known or obvious danger defense conflicts with the Legislature’s intent behind the comparative negligence statute. We agree,” the court stated in its ruling.

For more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Claims, Guest Issues, Injuries, Insurance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: New York Hotel Found Guilty Of Fostering A “Hostile Environment” For A Black Employee In Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

“…He was the only black employee in that department, the suit said, and several other mechanics and supervisors frequently used a racial epithet when he was around, apparently in an effort to cause him discomfort…The suit contended the hotel’s management at favored white and Hispanic workers over African-Americans…”

On Friday a jury, after issuing a verdict in Mr. MacMillan’s favor, awarded him $125,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

Freddrick MacMillan, who has worked at the hotel in various capacities since 1990, sued in Federal District Court in Manhattan in 2009, saying he had been subjected to a hostile environment.

 Mr. MacMillan, who is African-American, said several co-workers habitually referred to him as “boy” and used a racial epithet, and one of them used a noose to hang a doll with a black face from a bulletin board in a supervisor’s office.

For more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Employee Risks: “Introduction To California’s Workers’ Compensation System” (Video)

Learning the rights of an injured worker under California’s workers’ compensation system. This video follows several workers’ compensation case scenarios and provides basic information and resources for obtaining further assistance and/or information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Injuries, Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Alcohol Risks: Hotels And Restaurants Hosting “Office Parties And Charity Events” Need To Insure Against “Liquor Liability”

“…office parties and charity events…can provide opportunities for professionals to mingle casually with their co-workers and clients and can help boost employee morale…(but) they can also prove to be a liability for businesses that serve alcohol…”

“…when business owners host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability would most likely be covered by their commercial general liability (CGL) policy…”

 “…In addition to a CGL policy, businesses should also consider purchasing an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy. An EPLI policy will protect a business from discrimination, sexual harassment, emotional distress, and other workplace-related issues…”

  • Forty-four states plus the District of Columbia have enacted liquor liability laws
  • These laws make it possible for a plaintiff to hold those who serve alcohol to an intoxicated or underage person responsible for any damage or injury caused by these same individuals after they leave the party
  • Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol
  • There are circumstances under these same state laws where criminal charges may also apply
  • Liquor liability laws were intended originally to apply to taverns, bars, and other establishments selling and serving alcohol

However, the liability laws have expanded over time to include “social hosts” (such as those holding a holiday party in their home or business) in some states giving them some exposure to the risk of liability for serving alcohol.

“If you are throwing an office party where alcohol is served, you have a responsibility to make sure that your employees are capable of driving safely.”

For more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Issues, Health, Injuries, Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training