Slips, Trips & Olive Pits

Ryan Brennan is the Senior Liability Claims Officer for Calibre Insurance and manages the larger more complex liability claims while providing technical support and training to the junior claims officers.

He has ten years of liability claims management experience under his belt, having worked for some of Australia’s largest insurers and brokers, handling claims across a number of third party classes of business.

Connect with Ryan Brennan on LinkedIN


What are the two greatest exposures for café and restaurant owners when it comes to third party personal injury claims?

  1. Slips and falls, and
  2. Foreign objects found in food

What are the biggest mistakes made when it comes to third party personal injury claims?

  • Not correctly recording the details of an incident, and
  • Not downloading the CCTV footage on a USB before the opportunity is lost


What action should the owner take in the event of an incident or claim?

  1. Notify your insurance broker, no matter how big or small the incident
  2. Download your CCTV footage, this is of critical importance
  3. Have your documentation stored safely, and ready for investigation
  4. Have a detailed incident report completed by your staff member at the time of an incident
  5. Send the incident report, CCTV footage and any other relevant information to your broker
  6. Ask your customer to put any demands in writing so you can pass them on to your insurer

Access your Action Plan guide here

Be proactive in your risk management, and prevent an incident before it occurs

  1. Have a formal cleaning procedure in place. Access a Cleaning Schedule template here
  2. Inspect your furniture and be mindful of its placement
  3. Have appropriate policies and procedures in place, and ensure staff are adequately trained in those policies and procedures

What can you say to your customer?

You should never admit liability or agree to pay compensation to a customer (below paragraph notwithstanding), though you can say the following:

  • You can apologise to a customer without affecting your rights under your insurance policy
  • You are allowed to apologise without the apology being considered an admission of liability
  • Tell your customer you cannot agree to compensation and it will be in the hands of your insurer

What you could say:

“I’m sorry you fell. Can I help you up? Would you like a glass of water?”

“I’m sorry that your tooth has broken. Please take a seat. Can I call someone for you, like your dentist or family member?”

What you shouldn’t say: 

“Wow, we really should have cleaned up that spill hours ago!”

“We have a new employee who doesn’t check the olives for pits!”

Final Important Tips

  • Notify your broker of every incident even if the customer doesn’t make a complaint
  • Customers may not notify you at all until they see a lawyer, and this can sometimes be years later
  • CCTV FOOTAGE IS CRUCIAL; download before the opportunity is lost; have a USB and keep the record for 7 years.  If possible, note the time stamp at key times in the CCTV footage.
  • Complete an incident report (access one here) ; be observant and record those observations
  • There is nothing wrong with recording the facts, but it is best to leave it up to your broker and insurer to decide if there is any liability
  • Ask for a letter of demand from the customer; don’t allow yourself to be pressured into any agreement without first checking with your broker
  • Co-operate with your insurer and remember they’re trying to make the best commercial decisions for both of you


Fill in the form below and we will send you an email with our useful support documents:   Action Plan Guide  | Recommended Policies & Procedures to Implement  |  Incident Report Template  |  Cleaning Schedule Template  |  Asset Valuation Worksheet

Read our Collection Statement