Go to Top

Supermarkets

supermarkets

Supermarkets sell a variety of foodstuffs, which can be fresh, frozen, bottled, or canned. Items can be prepackaged or bulk. Some produce baked goods; some prepare salads, rotisserie chickens, or heat-and-eat meals. There may be delicatessens or fresh fish or meat cutting. Many supermarkets sell an assortment of nonfood items such as greeting cards, lottery tickets, over-the-counter medications, household disposable and cleaning items, liquor products (where permitted), tobacco, cooking utensils, handheld tools, auto maintenance items, light hardware items, clothing or novelty items. Services offered may include U.S. Postal substations, branch banks, shoe repair, video rental, and sales of gasoline and fuel oil.


Minimum recommended coverage:

Business Personal Property, Spoilage, Business Income and Extra Expense, Equipment Breakdown, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Signs, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Liquor Liability, Umbrella, Hired and Nonownership Auto, Workers Compensation

Other coverages to consider:

Building, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyberliability, Employment-related Practices, Environmental Impairment, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Stop Gap Liability


Property exposures are substantial from electrical wiring, cooking equipment, and refrigeration units. The wiring must be current and up to code. If there is cooking on premises, the cooking and heating equipment may overload. Refrigeration equipment may overheat, or ammonia may explode. All equipment, especially refrigeration units, should be well maintained and in good condition. All grills and deep fat fryers must have automatic fire extinguishing protection, hoods and filters. There should be fuel shut offs and adequate hand-held fire extinguishers. The kitchen must be kept clean and grease free to prevent the spread of fire. The storage and disposal of boxes, packaging, and wrappings can add significantly to the fuel load of fire if not handled properly. If there are any on-premises incinerating devices to burn or dispose of combustible waste, the age, condition, maintenance, and controls are key.

Spoilage exposure is very high. A small fire or a power outage of even moderate duration can cause all fresh and frozen goods to be condemned as unfit for consumption or sale. Alarms and warning devices should be in place to alert the operation to loss of power. Backup power, such as a generator, should be available. Theft is also a concern. Appropriate security measures should be in place, such as keeping more expensive meats behind glass and inaccessible to customers, and having security mirrors prominently displayed throughout the store. Premises alarms should report to a central stations or police department after hours.

Equipment breakdown exposures can be high as operations are dependent on refrigeration and cooking equipment.

Crime exposure can be severe for both employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities. If there is a 24-hour exposure or even late night/early morning hours, supermarkets can be targets for holdup. Employee dishonesty is controlled through background screening of employees, inventory monitoring, control of the cash register, disciplined controls and division of duties. To prevent theft of money and securities, money should be regularly stripped from the cash drawers and irregular drops made to the bank during the day if there is substantial accumulation of cash.

Inland marine exposures normally include accounts receivables from customers, computers for inventories and sales transactions, signs, and valuable papers and records for suppliers and employees information. Backup copies of all records, including computer records, should be made and stored off premises.

Premises liability exposure is very high due to public access to the premises. Slips, trips and falls are major concerns, especially during inclement weather when customers track snow, mud, and water into the facility. Customers drop items in the produce area and may carry food and other items throughout the store, generating spills that can result in slips and falls. Housekeeping should be excellent and spills must be cleaned up promptly. Floor coverings must be in good condition, with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked.

There should be well marked and sufficient exits, with backup lighting systems in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slip and falls. Customers can be injured or killed during a robbery. Security of visitors in parking areas is rapidly becoming the responsibility of the owner or operator of the premises. Outdoor security and lighting must be consistent with the area.

Products liability exposure results from food poisoning, contamination and allergic reactions. Monitoring the quality of food received, posting lists of ingredients, and maintaining proper storage temperature can reduce this exposure. Accurate records must be kept of products and batches to monitor for recalls. There should be controls in place to prevent all types of contamination from chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides used for pest control. Stock should be regularly rotated so older stock is sold first. Out of date stock must be removed on a regular basis and discarded.

Liquor liability exposures are mostly from selling liquor to underage individuals and those already intoxicated. Any failure to comply with state and federal regulations can result in the loss of a liquor permit. There must be a set procedure to check ages of anyone attempting to purchase alcohol. Employees must be trained to recognize signs of intoxication.

Automobile exposure may be limited to hired or nonownership liability exposures from employees using their vehicles to run errands. If delivery services are provided, MVRs and driving records should be obtained for any employee delivering products to customers. Vehicles should be properly maintained and records retained.

Workers compensation exposure is very high due to lifting that can cause back injury, hernias, sprains, and strains. Floors may become slick, resulting in slips and falls. Employees should be provided with safety equipment, trained on proper handling techniques, and have conveying devices available to assist with heavy lifting. Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome plague butchers, as do cuts and potential injury from saws, grinders, and other meat processing equipment. Guards and/or protection devices should be in place. In any retail business, hold-ups are possible so employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner.

Refrigerant leaks can be a potential cause of injury. The injury potential is determined by the type of refrigerant used and the reason for the leak.