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May/June  Volume 29, Number 3        


Active Shooter Insurance Now Available

Sadly, active shooter incidents have become so common there is now an insurance market to insure the liability of the entities where they occur.

Incidents involving an active shooter, defined by the FBI as "one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area," have been increasing around the country. According to a report released by the FBI last June, the number of mass shootings rose to 20 per year in both 2014 and 2015.

"The findings establish an increasing frequency of incidents annually," said an earlier FBI report. "This trend reinforces the need to remain vigilant regarding prevention efforts and for law enforcement to aggressively train to better respond to — and help communities recover from — active shooter incidents."

Unfortunately, insurance can't solve the problems behind active shooter incidents. But it does fill a real need. The problem is that if allegations of negligence are brought against entities such as Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida (February 2018) and the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas (October 2017), they may not have insurance available.

Gray Area

Claims arising from these incidents are not necessarily covered under any current insurance policies, according to John Powter, president of GDP Advisors in McKinney, Texas.

"Some are saying it's under GL and some are saying it's more of a professional liability 'failure to protect' type cover, but there is a little bit of confusion as to the response," Powter said. "There is a concern, or gray area, with the general liability policy — in reality it was never designed to cover an active shooter incident." "Insureds may also believe that active shooter incidents are automatically covered by terrorism insurance, all of which can lead to a debate between insureds and their carriers."

In the past couple of years, several markets have emerged that provide active shooter liability coverage, including through the Lloyd's Active Shooter Consortium in London.

Following the Parkland shooting, seven South Florida school districts purchased $3 million worth of active shooter insurance, according to a recent article in Campus Safety Magazine.

More than Insurance

These new active shooter policies are standalone, primary liability policies that will cover lawsuits arising from harm caused by attackers using deadly weapons. The policies usually also feature risk assessment and crisis management services, where experts make recommendations on how to make the premises less vulnerable. Policies also provide event responders and post-event counseling services when needed, including setting up an emergency call center, advising insureds on emergency communications, putting a recovery plan in place and arranging counseling services.

Insurers stress that no amount of preparation can make an entity such as a school completely ready for an active shooter incident, especially from an emotional standpoint. But "having the pieces in place to handle one of these devastating situations can help ease the burden if one occurs," according to Hugh Nelson, president of Southern Insurance Underwriters (SIU) in Alpharetta, Ga.

Coverage limits are available up to $25 million. Although originally designed for educational institutions like public and private schools and universities, other entities such as banks, hotels, sports venues and amusement parks have been purchasing the coverage. Now insurers will consider covering all classes of business, including

  • Educational institutions
  • Entertainment organizations
  • Hotels
  • Healthcare providers
  • Religious institutions
  • Retail organizations
  • Rodeos, fairs and trade shows.

If your organization or company feels it may be vulnerable to an active shooter risk, please contact us and let us help you assess your situation.

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In this issue:

This Just In...

How to Control Distracted Driving

Why 'Side A' Is Critical if You're a Director or Officer

Active Shooter Insurance Now Available

How Much Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage Do You Need?



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