A Growing Interest In Active Shooter Insurance For Business

Picture of Mary Kate McGrath By Mary Kate McGrath

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active shooter insuranceA mass shooting is defined as an attack in which 3 or more people are killed by a firearm. This year the United States has seen a shocking 38 mass shootings or active shooter incidents, according to the New York Times. In August alone, the number of victims of mass shootings in the country totaled 53. The loss of life was felt greatly in Texas, where on August 31st, a gunman in Odessa began shooting indiscriminately at cars, killing 5 people. The incident devastated a state already reeling from a recent gun-related tragedy. Earlier in the month, on August 3rd, a massacre at a Wal-Mart in El Paso left 22 people dead, making it one of the most deadly attacks in the state. These mass shootings are raising new concerns about how best to protect businesses.

In a country already on edge amid rising incidents of gun violence, recent attacks have raised new anxieties and questions about public safety. Public and private corporate spaces are struggling to address gun-related risks, and discern how best to support employees following a tragedy of this magnitude. The shooting in El Paso, Texas, raised new concerns about how domestic terrorism impacts workplaces, and what best practices should be for preventing or preparing for such an event. Businesses are struggling to determine how best to prevent an attack, and in case of an emergency, save lives and mitigate damage. 

Now, the threat of gun violence has grown so great that schools, municipalities, and businesses are choosing to purchase insurance against it, according to CNBC. Even though active shooter insurance plans have been available for nearly a decade, there is new interest in coverage to cover employee medical expenses, property damage, and other considerations. Insurance coverage of this nature represents a worst-case scenario for any business, but in an era where gun violence is on the rise, interest in coverage for an active shooter incident will likely continue to grow.

Survey Finds Employees Aren't Aware of Critical Workplace Safety Procedures

What Is Active Shooter Insurance? 

Although active shooter insurance, or active assailant coverage, has been around since 2011, they are becoming more visible in an era plagued by gun violence according to the Insurance Information Institute. The policy plan covers medical expenses and funeral costs for victims, as well as the cost of property damage and loss of business. In general, active shooter insurance would supplement, but not replace, the coverage a business is already investing in, which is typically general liability insurance. 

A general liability insurance plan, also known as business liability insurance, protects a business from general claims, which might include any physical injury or property damage. The plan helps cover medical expenses and attorney fees resulting from bodily injuries or property damage the business is legally responsible for. Most businesses, regardless of size, have a plan of this sort. 

According to CNBC, some researchers argue that general liability coverage predates the rise of active shooter incidents, and don’t offer sufficient support. Most general liability plans exclude employee injuries, auto accidents, professional mistakes, or intentional acts. Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, points out how these plans fail to consider, or deliberately exclude an active shooter incident. “As violence grows in schools, malls, universities, and other venues, insurers found that many of the standard liability policies in existence were written prior to the rise in mass shootings,” Worters told CNBC. “Some existing liability policies even exclude gun-related violence entirely.” 

An active shooter insurance policy is a standalone policy, and rates vary based on facility considerations. For example, a higher education institution is more open with high foot-traffic. The lack of physical security in public areas make college buildings more difficult to secure, which means the cost of an active assailant plan would be higher. In general, a small business such as a coffee shop would pay about $1,200 for $1 million in coverage, according to CNBC. 

What Does Active Shooter Insurance Cover? 

Many policies cover crisis management service, medical expense coverage, job retraining or relocation, and other potential supplements which are necessary and unlikely to be covered by a general liability plan. 

Medical Expenses. Policies ensure that employers are able to offer adequate support to affected employees and their families, including covering medical bills, funeral expenses, or death benefits. The policy also allows employers to provide trauma support, as certain plans  cover psychiatric counseling for victims traumatized by the event. 

Business Interuption Coverage. Insured businesses will better be able to recoup the financial losses caused by damage or destruction of property during an active shooter incident. The plan may also help a business stay afloat if regular operations are disrupted by significant property destruction. 

Relocation, Retraining, and Loss of Attraction. An active shooter incident can stigmatize a business, brand, building, or neighborhood, and businesses must be prepared for these losses as well. An active shooter insurance policy can help employees with relocation and retraining, should an individual decide the trauma is preventing them from remaining a current location or role. The policy can also help a business with revenue gaps caused by stigmatization, even if the shooting did not occur at the insured's business. 

Businesses must find new ways to mitigate risks for employees, and even though active shooter insurance may not be at the forefront of every employers' minds, the coverage can ultimately help support employees in case of an emergency. For this reason, the prevalence of these policies is increasing. In July, McGowan Program Administrators sold about 120 active shooter insurance policies, as per CNBC. During 2016, the administration sold the same number of policies over the course of a year. 

Technology, such as a mass notification system, can also play a major role in a businesses proactive approach to corporate safety, active shooter prevention and response. It allows business owners to inform employees of any potential risks, including an active shooter event, and keep all workers informed as the situation develops. In addition, the system helps with operational considerations, letting employees know of available resources in the instance of an emergency. 

When seconds count it is vital to be able to reach your employees quickly and effiently. Our Rave Alert system helps companies do so. Interested in learning more? Click the button below.

Rave Alert Employee Communications

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Mary Kate McGrath

Written by Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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