The Picture May Surprise You - Video Surveillance and the Effects on Restaurant Claim Outcomes
Mar 29, 2019

There is a lot of thought that goes into the decision to place cameras inside and/or around the perimeter of your restaurant locations.  Implications of brand image, location, guest experience, customer base, and many other factors weigh into this decision.  Ultimately, the decision to invest in video equipment or upgrade older systems is likely contingent on a positive ROI.  There are several factors that go into the ROI analysis.  However, from a claims professional or risk manager’s perspective, the presence of video surveillance systems is expected to have a positive impact on casualty claim outcomes.  But can this expectation be borne out in the claims data or must we rely on multiple examples of individual claim anecdotes to prove this point?  We’re going take a look at this very question.


Benefits of Surveillance Cameras

There are many benefits to having cameras inside your restaurants that go well beyond utilization in your claims management program.  In addition to claim specific anecdotes, there are many additional benefits of installing the cameras.  Among the many are:


  • Guest Relations – Camera installation in restaurant lobbies and the guest dining areas brings many benefits that will enhance customer experience and encourage repeat visits, including monitoring guest flow and team member behavior.
  • Safety and Compliance - The mere presence of cameras inside the restaurant heightens the awareness of safety procedures, use of PPE (personal protective equipment), and food safety practices.   Video surveillance can also assist with remote safety audits, improving restaurant coverage and lowering costs. 
  • Security – Proper installation of cameras inside and outside the restaurant will deter criminal activity.  This includes product shrink, dine and dash incidents, faked injuries, theft, vandalism, robbery, and after-hours monitoring.
  • Claim Investigation – The presence of video evidence can also impact claims investigation by assisting with affirming or refuting an allegation. 


The Claim Data

Gallagher Bassett has a vast client base in both restaurant and retail clients that both use and do not use video surveillance systems in their operations.  In combing through the data, we developed case studies and analyzed outcomes across a sampling of similar clients to evaluate the financial impact of video surveillance on claim outcomes.  Specifically, we set out to explore a statistical correlation between the presence of video surveillance technology and claim outcomes. 


With the above in mind, we all might expect to see a strong correlation between improved claim outcomes and the presence of CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras.  But does the data really prove that out?  We tested several hypotheses to determine the impact of CCTV on general liability and workers’ compensation claims in the restaurant business.  Here is what we did and what we found:


Workers’ Compensation:   In our workers’ compensation analysis, our sample showed lower cost on closed claims but a higher average on incurred.


General Liability:  We also looked at general liability losses and again found mixed results.  In our sample, we found an increased cost on closed files but a decrease on average incurred. 


Severity:  Our severity rate analysis across both lines also yielded mixed results.  Our sample showed an increase in the workers’ compensation severity while at the same time showed a reduction in the general liability severity. 


As you can see, the outcome of our analysis is inconclusive on whether video surveillance can reduce financial outcomes.  It should be noted, however, that a number of variables go into claim outcomes and controlling for all of them can be quite difficult.



While our analysis did not provide a statistical framework to link the presence of CCTV cameras to better claim outcomes, we continue to believe there is significant value to be had from these cameras.  Our inconclusive results may have been caused by the lack of claim level data that accurately captures the presence or lack thereof of video footage of the incident. 


As a best practice, we suggest incorporating a claim file specific flag that denotes the presence of video. This data point can be done at intake by adding it to your existing web or call script or it can be accomplished by your claims administrator.  Knowing precisely which claims have video footage available will enable a more accurate analytical review at some point in the future.  As we continue our focus on the restaurant & food service sector, we fully intend to revisit this topic again once significant claim data can be obtained that ties the presence or lack thereof to each individual claim file.


Tim Kelly has 30 years of industry experience and leads the Restaurant & Foodservice Practice at GB. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian Murphy is a Senior Business Insights Analyst in GB Analytics. Brian has been with GB for 10 years and also has experience as an Account Manager.  You can find him on LinkedIn.



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