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South Carolina bars high and dry over rising insurance costs


A South Carolina law passed in 2017 requiring places with liquor licenses to buy at least a million dollars’ worth of liquor liability coverage has forced some bars and venues to close, WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville, South Carolina, reported.

“If they continue to raise the rates, there will be no profit margin for anybody,” Jeremy Barnes, owner of Pinky's Revenge Bar and Arcade in Taylors, South Carolina, told a reporter. “You won’t be able to pay your employees, you won’t be able to maintain our equipment. I would have to go double at the door.”

According to the news report, Mr. Barnes’ liquor liability insurance was $8,800 two years ago. This year, it will cost him at least $31,000. Kynn Tribble, who owns Tribble's Bar and Grill in Piedmont, South Carolina, told a reporter his liquor liability went from $5,000 to $60,000 in three years. Both said the increase could cause them to shut down, as has been the case with other establishments already.

Insurers are also feeling the pinch.

“So, insurers are paying out two dollars for every dollar they collect for liquor liability right now in South Carolina. It’s a really tough business for them,” Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance Association, told a reporter, adding that “countless insurance agencies” have pulled out of the state altogether.