The 2021 CLM Workers’ Compensation and Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Conference is a fully virtual three-day event that kicks off on May 12, 2021. We spoke with Cathleen Kelly Rebar, partner and shareholder at Rebar Kelly and head of her firm’s liability practice, to get a preview of what attendees can expect in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality track. Want to attend? Click here to register for the conference.
Which retail, restaurant, and hospitality sessions are you most excited about?
“COVID-19 Legal Concerns: What’s Top of Mind for the Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Industry?” is the session I am most looking forward to, as I think it really addresses our new normal. In it, a panel of insurers and defense attorneys will address questions such as “Are companies liable if an employee infects others, and is there a common-law duty to take measures to protect/prevent employees from spreading COVID-19 to customers, vendors, or other third parties?” and “Does instituting a COVID-19/antibody testing program for employees returning to work open the door to lawsuits from employees or third parties who might allege that the program or testing itself was inadequate or inaccurate?” That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so it’s going to be a fascinating discussion.
Were there any trends that came through in the topics submitted?
Most of the topics focus on risk mitigation and risk transfer, which is a significant issue for reducing claims and claim exposure in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality sectors.
What were some obvious—and not so obvious—ways that COVID-19 has affected retail, restaurant, and hospitality claims?
Traditional claims volume has decreased. For instance, restaurant and in-store slip-and-fall claims based on spills or other debris on the floor have significantly decreased because there are less people visiting and cleaning processes have been enhanced. Concerns of future claims include negligent security, as reduced visitors in the hotel and restaurant industry have caused reductions in eyes and presence of employees on site, such as security and doormen.
What is one thing you hope attendees will take away from the show?
Every year, this conference offers a fantastic way to gain a better understanding of the claims involved in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industry. Now that it is coupled with workers’ compensation, we expect the content will be extremely insightful for all attendees because it will offer a better understanding of the ways in which we can leverage the known variables to reduce claims, claim exposure, and to transfer risk.