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Insane Pizza Delivery Drivers Now Covered by Insane Pizza Delivery Driver Insurance

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CARS, SPEED, PIZZA!!!!
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According to PizzaMarketplace.com, the "premier online destination for C-level pizza executive leadership seeking cutting-edge intelligence for their multiunit restaurant concepts," pizza parlor owners no longer have to worry about insane delivery drivers driving...insanely.

The aptly named SLICE (safety, loss control, insurance, coverage, expertise) policy, offered by California-based EPIC Programs Group, "is geared specifically toward pizza delivery operators to help reduce liability resulting from delivery drivers."

"We are extremely excited to introduce the SLICE program," Seth Madnick, managing principal of EPIC, tells PizzaMarketplace. "As agents and brokers who work extensively in the pizza business know only too well, the insurance marketplace for pizza restaurant operators -- particularly deliver operations -- is currently in a state of flux, limiting the coverage options they can present to their clients. SLICE is the right answer at the right time for agents and brokers who work with a significant number of pizza delivery clients."

But Ben Berkowitz of Reuters says the SLICE program isn't all that groundbreaking.

Writes Berkowitz:

As unusual as it may seem, "pizza business insurance" is actually an important line of coverage in the food service industry.

Some of the world's best-known insurers and insurance brokers, including Willis Group, Progressive and Allianz SE's Fireman's Fund, offer specialized pizza programs.

According to industry websites, delivery drivers' own insurance policies usually will not cover them when they are delivering food on their employers' behalf, leading pizzerias and other restaurants that employ drivers to take out excess coverage on them.

This will no doubt come as a welcome development for local pizzerias as well as large chains like Domino's, which has seen its share of delivery-related trouble in the past.

A little background for the uninitiated, from Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases [PDF] by Manuel Velasquez:

In May 1993 Domino’s paid $2.8 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of 41-year-old Susan Wauchop who was killed when her van was struck by a Domino’s delivery truck being driven on a highway in rainy weather.The family alleged that the 19-year-old driver was speeding to meet Domino’s guarantee to deliver a pizza within 30 minutes. Domino’s argued that weather and road conditions were the real cause of the accident and refused to change its 30-minute guarantee. Not only was the guarantee popular with its customers, it also set Domino’s apart from its numerous rivals in a highly competitive and crowded business.

[...]

The company required all franchisees in the United States to sign a contract agreeing to use the 30-minute guarantee. Driver training manuals made the importance of speed clear: “Speed is vital. For Domino’s the deadline is 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the hungry customer begins to get restless. After 40 minutes, he gets worried. After 50 minutes, he gets irritated. After an hour he explodes.” The manuals also emphasized safety, however: “Know one thing for sure: FAST DELIVERY DOES NOT COME FROM SPEEDING AND RECKLESS DRIVING ... without a doubt, reckless, illegal driving does not profit the shop.” To allow drivers sufficient time to make their deliveries, the company adopted a policy of “Go fast in the shop, go slow on the road.” A pizza made from fresh ingredients should be in the oven within two minutes of a phoned-in order, and in its box within eight minutes, allowing the driver 22 minutes to meet the 30-minute deadline. In addition, outlets were not to guarantee delivery to an area more than two or three miles away.

[...]

Criticism of the 30-minute guarantee continued to mount. In 1989, the director of the National Safe Workplace Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, claimed that in 1988 Domino’s drivers were involved in 100 accidents resulting in 10 deaths. The following year the Institute announced that there were 20 deaths involving Domino’s delivery cars in 1989 and that some 140 accidents -- at least 20 of them involving fatalities -- had resulted in lawsuits against Domino’s since the 30-minute guarantee was first initiated in 1984. The director of the institute alleged that the company’s 30-minute guarantee was responsible for many of the deaths. (In 1989 and 1990 Domino’s had a total of about 80,000 drivers working for the company.)

In fact, it was the 1993 case that ultimately ended the Domino's 30-minute guarantee. But now that delivery drivers can no longer kill someone's business -- only someone -- will SLICE policies mean no more agonizing, never-ending 32-minute waits for your pie?
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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