UK licensees could face legal action if they sell alcohol to already intoxicated customers, one insurance group has warned.

According to risk management consultancy Aon Global’s Vine to Wine report the current trend for social responsibility in the retail of alcohol could see the UK follow US liquor liability laws.

In the USA, licensees can be held liable for the damage and injuries of a drunk driver and Aon says the threat of alcohol claims has now been identified as a high risk to insurers in 2007.

Tony Hills, business director at Aon, said: “The UK legal environment is a lot less claimant friendly than that in the USA, but there will be some shift towards placing liability with pub owners.

“There are already signs that this is happening and this month the Government has tightened up the penalties for serving underage customers, with licensees now facing a fine of £10,000 and closure for up to three months.

“Those establishments with good risk management, effective staff training and robust corporate social responsibility programmes will inevitably feel the benefit of their investment with reduced claims and lower premiums.”

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By Christopher Walton

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