Is your Super Bowl party protected by liability insurance?

Published February 01, 2019

2019 Super Bowl-1

Social host liability wasn't an issue when Sylvia Group began Super Bowl preparations with a Patriots-themed dress-down day on Friday, Feb. 1, but it could be for party hosts who let guests get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Director of Business Development

Sylvia Group began blogging about what are known as "social host laws" several years ago, in advance of New Year's Eve. Today, we revisit the topic in advance of what's become another annual event: the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl.

With the Pats back in the NFL championship game for the third straight year and ninth time in 18 seasons, New Englanders are old pros at hosting parties when their team is in the Big Game. But sometimes party-goers ingest a bit more beverage than they should over the course of what can be a very long day and night, and for that reason, hosts have to watch their guests almost as closely as they watch their team.

Don't let social host liability and a guest's DUI arrest ruin your Super Bowl celebration.

When Celebration Becomes Inebriation

Here's what we discovered two years ago in advance of the Patriots' historic comeback victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI: Studies by the breathylyzer technology company BACtrack indicate that:

  • NFL Championship Sunday ranks among the nation's five most drunken days, with an average blood/alcohol concentration of 0.091 among BACtrack users in a study ranging from November 2013 through October 2014. That
    date's blood alcohol content (BAC) level trailed only New Year's Eve and the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day, tied for first at 0.094; the Saturday between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl at 0.093; and Feb. 15, the first heavy drinkers graphic.pngSaturday after the NFL season, which also happened to be the day after Valentine's Day, at 0.092.
  • As a region, New England likes to drink. A 2011-2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control showed the highest percentages of occasional and heavy drinkers to be in northern states, with three New England States ranking among the top five nationally among adults who had consumed at least one drink in a span of 30 days and also showing a comparatively large percentage of adults who consumed multiple drinks on a daily basis.
  • Patriots fans generally rank in the middle of the pack for alcohol consumption on NFL game-day Sundays, but their consumption is significantly higher with the Pats in the Super Bowl. BACtrack's study of the first seven weeks of the 2015 season showed fans rooting for New England having an average BAC level of 0.041, well above Cincinnati fans' last-place average of 0.015, but far below Buffalo fans' league-leading 0.076. (Runners-up Detroit and Philadelphia each checked in at a relatively teatotaling 0.069.) But that regular-season New England average was no way near Pats' fans Super Bowl BAC level, which climbed steadily from 0.043 at kickoff to 0.084 amid postgame celebrations. 

3 Rules for Social Hosts

That brings us back to keeping an eye on your guests if you're hosting this Sunday. 

Visitors to the Sylvia Group Blog by now are probably familiar with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island social host laws. For those unfamiliar, what you need to know is that an inebriated guest who is involved in an auto accident after leaving your party could leave you facing charges and a lawsuit.

If you're hosting:

  1. Don't over-serve.
  2. Make sure there's plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverage available.
  3. If someone does have too much to drink, make sure he or she isn't driving.

The Insurance Information Institute has more information on social host liability and sensible hosting here.

Much of this is common sense, we know, but then again, common sense sometimes goes out the window during the Super Bowl, as Seahawks fans know all too well.

Winning Strategies

Enjoy Sunday's game. You know you can count on Belichick, Brady and Co. to do their jobs. Do whatever you can to ensure the Super Bowl leaves positive memories.

Here at Sylvia Group, we, too, have a winning team. If you'd like to discuss how we can help you reduce risk and manage its cost through a program of performance-based insurance, we'd be happy to tackle the challenge.


About Mike Isbister and Sylvia Group

Mike Isbister_retouchedThroughout his 30-year career in sales and service, Mike Isbister has achieved success by combining analytics and action, recognizing that having meaningful data is important — but only if you know what to do with it. The analytics-plus-action approach works not only for Mike and his team but also for Sylvia Group clients. Through the SPS process of compiling and breaking down data, they’re better able to analyze needs and exposures, review claims to determine risk-management solutions, and design comprehensive, cost-effective insurance programs.

Voted "Best Insurance Agency" in both years of the SouthCoast Media Best of the Best Awards program, Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing insurancebenefits and financial planning programs. We’re a locally owned agency known for our commitment to our clients and our community, as well for our industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence. 

Upcoming Events


2019 Golf Tournament
August 26
Bay Club
63 County Rd.
Mattapoisett, MA 02739

More Information »

Massachusetts Employee Benefits Compliance
Thursday, Sept. 19
8:30-10 a.m.
Sylvia Group
500 Faunce Corner Road
Building 100, Suite 120
Dartmouth, MA 02747

More Information »

Medicare Open Enrollment
Tuesday, Oct. 15
11 a.m.-noon
Sylvia Group
500 Faunce Corner Road
Building 100, Suite 120
Dartmouth, MA 02747

More Information »

Long-Term Care Insurance: Retirement Security
Thursday, Nov. 7
5:30-7 p.m.
Sylvia Group
500 Faunce Corner Road
Building 100, Suite 120
Dartmouth, MA 02747

More Information »

Sylvia Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for news and updates about policies, enrollment changes and new laws that affect you.


  • “I come in contact with many insurance brokers in the course of my practice – even more so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Some are ill-prepared or still in denial. Others call me from the car on the way to a client meeting asking for a summary of the ACA in ten minutes. On the flip side of this coin is the Sylvia Group agency. Their clients are very fortunate to have a broker who is knowledgeable about employee benefit matters. The fact that Sylvia Group invited me, an ERISA lawyer, to conduct a live client seminar on the new ACA employer information reporting requirements indicates to me that they are engaged in the process and they care about their clients.”

    – RICHARD A. SZCZEBAK, Esq., RAS Law, P.C.

  • “By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”

    – MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford

  • “When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill White immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”

    – EVELYN BETTENCOURT, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering

  • “Sylvia Group is very resonsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We knw we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”

    – GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

  • “Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”

    – CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group

  • "Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."

    - MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.

  • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”

    – KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

  • “The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”

    – JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.

  • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

    - PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

  • “I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”

    – PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium

  • “I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”

    – SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client

  • “I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”

    – CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client

  • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

    – LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

  • "Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."

    - WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC