When raucous sports fans take to the
streets, local businesses are at risk.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EPLI BY MERCEDES OTT
It’s available, it’s affordable, and it’s preferable to litigation.
With high-profile sexual harassment claims dominating today’s headlines, employers and their risk managers
might want to take another look at their
employment practices liability insurance
(EPLI) — or lack thereof.
EPLI provides a defense against
employment violations committed
by employers and/or their employees,
including sexual harassment,
discrimination and wrongful
“It’s important for employers to
know that EPLI is one: available; two:
affordable; and three: a policy costs less
than a legal defense,” said Victoria Stone,
senior vice president, Poms & Associates.
“Irrespective of the validity of an
allegation, it behooves employers to
have a policy to provide for a defense, as
well as a judgment,” Stone said. Client
attitudes vary, but overall, they are
begrudgingly receptive to such a policy.
“Some employers do resent having
to pay for this type of policy,” Stone
said. “My clients aspire to do the
best they can. They are good people
and good to their employees. But I
recommend that they have EPLI,
because these cases can be expensive
to defend, even if you’ve got excellent
Of course, having EPLI is not
enough. Employers must work to create
a culture where sexual harassment — or
discrimination of any kind — is not
acceptable. This includes providing
training and education to employees,
creating policies regarding behavior and
reporting and making sure victims or
witnesses know it’s safe to speak up.
As movements against sexual
harassment gain momentum, some
question whether EPLI negates
corporate America’s motivation to
change the culture that breeds abuse.
Stone however, doesn’t consider that an
issue. “It’s great to have insurance, but
you don’t want to use it,” she said. “We
want to help employers develop practices
that prevent claims from arising; the goal
That prevention mindset is shared by
Marie-France Gelot, SVP, insurance and
claims counsel, Lockton Northeast, who
believes a cultural shift is what’s needed.
“There needs to be a full overhaul of
corporate culture,” she said. “This issue
must be on the agenda of every corporate
board. It starts at the top, at the board
level and within the C-suite. Then legal,
human resources and risk management
must all be on board,” she added.
Calling for strong leadership and
substance over form, Gelot said that the
time for harassment-free workplaces
has come, and those who do not act will
damage their brands, reputations and
ability to attract good talent.
“It’s time for the #We Too movement,”
she said. “I call it that because ‘we’ in
corporate America must stand up and say,
‘We do not condone sexual harassment,’ ”
she said. “Companies must truly commit
to change; they must put their money
where their mouth is and create a zero-tolerance culture,” she added. “We must
take away the fear and stigma.” &
READYING FOR ROWDY FANS BY KATIE DWYER
Major sporting events pose many property and safety risks
to local businesses.
Prior to the nfc Championship game in Philadelphia, the city’s police department issued guidelines for local shops, advising
owners to keep any gates locked if they
were to be closed at game time and
remove any unsecured outdoor items
like trash cans, signs and flowerpots.
They also asked bar owners to serve
drinks in plastic cups instead of glass.
In the city’s downtown area, police
applied Crisco to keep revelers from
climbing traffic lights and poles.
But that city is no stranger to
exuberant — and destructive — fan
celebrations. Stories of fans flipping
cars, smashing windows and setting
fires after a win or loss provide
cautionary tales for storefronts near
major events. Lack of experience
exposes businesses to being
underprepared and possibly under-insured.
“Any major event has two distinct
footprints — inside the venue and
outside the venue,” said Michael
Greear, director of risk control, Aon
Risk Services. “The NFL has stringent
security in place at all their stadiums,
but the surrounding neighborhoods
Buttering streetlamps may not be
necessary everywhere, but there are
incidents of property damage or injuries
on a property. They can also help to
establish liability if a dispute arises over
where exactly an incident occurred.
Like security guards, visible cameras
also deter criminal activity.
documentation and reporting
procedures. “You have to be able to
record what happened if you want to
make a claim,” Greear said. “For many
business owners, documenting an
incident might just mean calling the
police. But when you have an event like
the Super Bowl, the police will probably
be busy. You need a procedure to
capture all the details.”
In addition to cameras, that procedure
could include incident report forms
to document the time of the incident,
how it happened and exactly what
damage resulted. It’s also imperative to
check insurance policies for reporting
requirements. Many will stipulate filing a
claim within a specific time frame.
Know your coverage. Property
policies can vary widely in their scope
and limits. “Business owners should call
their broker and revisit their policies to
confirm what’s covered, what’s not and
how to file a claim,” Greear said. &
steps businesses can take to mitigate
damage from a disorderly crowd:
Remove loose objects. Anything
not bolted to the ground or a wall
should be taken inside, including patio
tables and chairs, portable heat lamps,
signs, trash cans and decorations.
Add security. Hiring additional
security for the day of the event can be
a deterrent to potential troublemakers.
“People get caught up in the
crowd mentality,” Greear said. “A
normal citizen may never think to do
something destructive, but get them in
a crowd and they start doing strange
things. Having guards visible can check
some of that behavior.”
Install cameras. Security cameras
are a critical tool to document any
Victoria Stone, senior vice president,
Poms & Associates
Michael Greear, director, risk
control, Aon Risk Services