New Trusted Choice® Survey Finds American Hosts Grossly Unprepared for their Liability

28.5 Million Party Hosts Likely Underinsured

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 11, 2006-Most of the 28.5 million Americans who plan to host a party between Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl are underinsured, according to a new study by Trusted Choice®.

Of those 28.5 million party hosts, 21.3 million do not have a personal umbrella insurance policy, leaving themselves open to potential lawsuits and facing financial ruin, should the worst occur. The remaining 7.2 million hosts say they don�t know what coverage they have, leaving them vulnerable too.

If a party guest drinks, drives and causes an accident, the hosts can be held responsible in more than 30 states. In fact, a majority (53%) of party hosts believe they should be held responsible, but despite this, most haven�t taken steps to protect themselves.

A personal umbrella insurance policy goes above and beyond homeowners insurance and gives hosts extra liability coverage. Purchasing a personal umbrella policy, providing $1 million or more in additional liability coverage over the limit of a standard homeowners� or renters� policy, is a prudent move for the frequent party host, and can cost as little as $150 a year.

�A majority of people (56%) planning to host parties do not have a personal umbrella policy,� says Madelyn Flannagan, Trusted Choice�. �People don�t buy umbrella policies because they think they have enough coverage from their homeowner and auto policies�but they don�t. The high dollar value of jury awards coupled with skyrocketing health care costs means one lawsuit can easily exceed the liability limits on the average policy.

�Protecting yourself and your family by having the proper coverage is critical,� continues Flannagan. �While you�ll never be able to entirely eliminate risks, planning ahead and learning your responsibilities as a host is the best defense. There are several ways to protect yourself and reduce risk while hosting a party.�

For example, 84% of those surveyed say they would stop serving party guests if they�d had too much to drink. However, only 35% of these respondents had ever actually done so.

�Asking guests to stop drinking at your holiday party can be very awkward,� says Flannagan. �However protecting your family and your guests is more important than an uncomfortable exchange at the neighborhood party. If you host a party and your over-served guest drives away and gets in an accident, you can be held responsible.�

How to prevent holiday party accidents and protect yourself or your business:

  • Meet with your Trusted Choice® agent before hosting a party to familiarize yourself with your state�s host liability laws, and to make sure you�re properly insured.

  • Limit your guest list to those you know.

  • Host your party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather than in a home or office.

  • Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.

  • Schedule entertainment or activities that do not involve alcohol.

  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive.

  • Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end.

  • Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.

  • Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discreetly monitor guests� sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.

  • Stay alert, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.

  • Review your insurance policy with your agent before the event to ensure that you have the proper liability coverage.

For a copy of social host liability laws and complete survey results, please contact Emily Crane (print) at 800-221-7917; emily.crane@iiaba.net or Sue Nester (broadcast) at 800-221-7917; susan.nester@iiaba.net.

About Trusted Choice®:

Trusted Choice® agencies are insurance and financial services firms. They represent multiple insurance companies, offering individuals and business owners a variety of coverage choices, customized insurance plans to meet specialized needs as well as advocacy support. These firms adhere to a pledge of performance, committing them to providing excellent customer service. Go to www.TrustedChoice.com and click on �Find a Trusted Choice® Agent� on the homepage to locate the right agency for your needs.