Risk Management Tips for Pizzerias

March 7, 2011

Similar to how the insurance industry helped to teach pizza chains that the 30-minute delivery promise was harmful from a safety perspective, insurance agents also can help advise restaurants on how to avoid delivery-related claims and prevent loss. The most frequent claims for pizza delivery businesses stem from the auto line of business, according to Jim Hawley, risk services consultant for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. Accidents can result from: rear-ending the car ahead because the delivery driver is following too closely, speeding excessively or driving while distracted; accidents while making U-turns, failing to observe other vehicles and conditions, failing to yield and turning left through intersections; and accidents when not looking behind or to the side when backing up, and rolling back at traffic control devices.

Pizza chains need to be proactive by first identifying potential loss sources, Hawley said. Second, he recommends owners educate their drivers on how to avoid the losses. Third, he said store managers should be held accountable for their loss results.

“Too many times, store managers feel that corporate should be responsible for claims and loss reduction, when in reality, the front-line store managers will have a more positive effect on their drivers when it comes to safety,” Hawley said.

Over the past five years, Fireman’s Fund has seen an average of 2.74 claims per day from pizza chains, at about $12,409 per claim.

Technology may actually lead to more distracted driving accidents, if pizza delivery drivers are not trained properly. “Due to the fast-paced nature of the pizza business, the high risk age of the majority of delivery drivers, and the need to communicate with their co-workers, the safety concerns surrounding smart phones are especially for pizza delivery owners to understand,” Hawley said.

Fireman’s Fund recommends that phones be kept off during deliveries. If necessary, drivers can check in with the shop after the delivery, but before they venture out onto the road. Also, drivers should never read, send, talk or access an application while driving; they should instead pull over to the side of the road.

To further reduce accidents, the insurer suggests drivers: check that their vehicles are ready and safe (i.e. lights, tires, windows cleaned, etc.); ensure pizzas are securely packed to avoid spillage; park at the curb, because backing up increases the chance of accidents; never enter a customer’s house; never resist a robbery; if there are no lights on, call to verify the address, and practice defensive driving.

Owners should ensure that drivers are properly trained, licensed, insured and have checklists to follow. Delivery workers typically use their personal vehicles and are required to have bodily damage liability coverage added to their personal auto policies. Restaurants also should carry at least $1 million in extra liability coverage to cover accidents in vehicles they don’t own, Fireman’s Fund said.

Topics Risk Management

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Insurance Journal West March 7, 2011
March 7, 2011
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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