High Profile Cases Spotlight Broader Risks for Hotels and Motels

A stalker videotaped Fox sportscaster Erin Andrews in her Nashville hotel room in 2008. Andrews sued the hotel for negligence. A jury verdict in Andrews’ favor brings the hotel’s share of the award to about $27 million.

With more than 52,000 hotels and motels in the U.S. producing $65.16 billion in industry revenue, hotels and motels are big business. That business is not without its risks, and unfortunately, hotels and motels are also frequently the target of lawsuits.

Hotel Motel Insurance LevelFirst DallasAn unknown man received a key to Wall Street banker Alison Fournier’s room at a Starwood Hotel. He later climbed into bed with her. She sued.  Hotel manager Tara Kimkee Tan went into labor during her shift at the Standard Hotel in New York City. Claiming she was rushed out carelessly by the hotel supervisors after delivery, wasn’t offered maternity leave, and was forced to work more than 80 hours a week, she sued the hotel for $10 million.

These high-profile cases provide examples of less common risks hotels face. More commonly faced risks are issues such as business interruption, utility interruption, harassment, equipment breakdown and crime.

“More common liabilities are slips and falls, bed bugs, and cases of harassment,” says LevelFirst Senior Underwriter and Broker and Hotel-Motel Specialist Michelle Shelton. “On the property side, you have theft, fire, tornados and hail damage. These are the more common threats.”

Shelton says that in addition to general liability and property, types of insurance hotels need, are required to have or may consider include workers comp, business insurance, employment practices liability (EPL) and umbrella liability.

“An umbrella liability claim kicks in when a general liability policy limits are reached,” Shelton explains. “EPL covers third party harassment claims such as an employee harassing a customer or third-party vendor.”

Shelton says that rural motels can face different risks that high-profile urban properties. While the high-profile claims receive media attention, the more frequent risks can be catastrophic for business, especially smaller operations.

“Many times hotel owners aren’t aware of all of the risks, don’t know what the coverages are and are reluctant to purchase them,” Shelton says. “A little knowledge can go a long way in protecting against these common risks.”

LevelFirst has access to multiple markets for hotel and motel owners.

Kelley Sanchez Named Vice President at LevelFirst

DALLAS— LevelFirst, the service-based wholesale broker and MGA binding facility owned by IIAT Services Co., is pleased to announce the appointment of Kelley Sanchez as vice president. Sanchez will assume the responsibility of underwriting new business opportunities with the Transportation Division.

Sanchez came to LevelFirst from USG where she has specialized in transportation since 2011. Prior to USG, Kelley worked as a transportation underwriter for The Parks Group of Arlington. She has more than ten years’ experience in the industry.

Sanchez also served for ten years in the United States Navy.

“We are excited to Kelley has come on board at LevelFirst,” says April Moeser, executive vice president. “She is recognized for expertise in transportation markets, has well-established carrier relationships and understands the coverages needed. She will be an excellent resource for our clients.”

About LevelFirst
LevelFirst offers retail clients unique and exclusive product access in several areas of specialization including property, casualty, energy, transportation, healthcare, hospitality and financial services. IIAT acquired LevelFirst in 2014 to continue its tradition of providing insurance markets for independent insurance agents.

About IIAT
The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) is the nation’s largest state association of Trusted Choice® agencies. IIAT represents approximately 1,700 agencies and more than 14,000 agents and insurance professionals. Trusted Choice® independent agents represent multiple insurance companies. Since they are not employees of any single insurance company, they are advocates for insurance consumers helping them comparison shop for cost-effective and customized coverage. IIAT is also affiliated with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and works with legislative, regulatory and judicial bodies in Texas on behalf of independent insurance agents across the state. More information on IIAT can be found online at iiat.org.