Hoteliers purchase insurance to protect their business from various forms of damage and litigation. Here are the experts’ best tips to get the most out of your insurance coverage and provider.

1. Provide Regular Safety Training

Hotel operators should provide training sessions on the hotel’s policies and procedures to ensure everyone understands how to create a safe work environment. “Additionally, remember that the AHLA has updated cleaning and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19 that all hotel employees should be aware of and follow,” said Matt Zender, SVP, workers’ comp strategy at AmTrust Financial Services.

2. Manage All Staff and Departments

Hotel operators should understand the different risks facing their staff, as each team member faces unique hazards, Zender said. Each team and the various hazards they face should be managed accordingly.  

3. Develop a Proactive Maintenance Plan

According to Kimberly Gore, national hospitality practice leader at HUB International, hotel insurance runs high when a proactive maintenance plan is missing. Reduce property rates and achieve a best-in-class rating by prioritizing updates and keep in mind utilizing incentives, rebates and tax credits.

4. Create a Culture of Communication

Create a culture of open communication and prioritize well-being. This includes encouraging the reporting of every incident no matter how small, learning from near-misses and identifying potential cost exposures, said Gore.

5. Keep Up with Maintenance Tasks

Issues like cluttered hallways, slippery stairwells or wet floors can easily cause a guest or employee to suffer an injury from a slip-and-fall accident. Hotel operators must address any maintenance tasks thoroughly and keep up with these tasks. 

6. Ensure Housekeeping Staff Takes Frequent Breaks

Housekeepers’ daily tasks involve various repetitive motions that can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel and other musculoskeletal disorders.

7. Understand Your Risk

Hoteliers need to understand what they risk they are transferring to others, but more importantly, what risks are being transferred to them contractually. “So often we see hoteliers sign contracts and not understand what exactly they are accepting,” said Jackie Collins, senior director/senior area VP at Arthur Gallagher Risk Management Services.

8. Put People First

Short staffed? Gore said to prioritize employee training in safety and mental health, crafting an insurance benefits plan focused on retaining employees—that in turn will maintain the guest experience you want.

9. Train for Emergency Situations

Train, train and train again. “When emergencies strike, it is hard to think fast and clearly,” said Janet Wright, director of risk management, SuiteLife Underwriting Managers. “The more frequently staff is trained in responding to incidents and emergencies, the more likely they will be able to effectively respond when seconds count.”

10. Take Stock of Your Property

Know your inventory and values and update insurance values at least annually, maintain your equipment, keep servicing documentation and inspect your property from roof to basement frequently, Wright continued.

11. Don’t Forget about Third-Party Liabilities

Determine who has access to your property, systems and data—and why, said Gore. Assess both physical and remote security needs, and review contracts for joint or reciprocal liability.

12. Be Aware of Exposure 

Get clarity on risks like human trafficking, pollution, legionella and insects/vermin, addressing potential coverage exclusions with your broker to avoid self-insuring for these exposures after they’ve happened.

13. Work With an Insurance Broker

Work with an insurance broker that specializes in developing insurance and risk management programs for hotel companies. 

14. Adopt a Multiyear Approach

Adopt a three- to five-year approach to insurance, maintaining ongoing communication throughout the year instead of limiting discussions to the annual renewal period, advised Gore.

15. Use Technology

Technology can also improve employee safety. Some hotel operators have begun using preventative technology like panic buttons so staff can immediately respond to a worker’s location in an emergency.

16. Host Regular Meetings

Staff should always be encouraged to discuss any safety concerns regarding their duties. Host regular meetings to allow the team to review recent tasks or issues that led to hazardous situations, such as exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, excessive workloads that increased stress or harassment from angry guests. 

17. Use a Robust Submission

Confirm your broker develops a robust submission that will get underwriter’s attention. Be sure to scrub the data that is provided as part of the submission. Be sure that the data is correct and complete in order to gain underwriter’s confidence, Collins said.

18. Loss Control

Focus on loss control in an effort to keep losses and claim payments at a minimum. Most situations can either be reduced or avoided.

19. Replacement Costs

Be sure property values are shown at replacement cost. Work with a broker that can help you formulate adequate values.

20. Start the Process Early

Get started early with the renewal process. Underwriters are often overwhelmed with the number of submissions, Collins said.