In 2019, the U.S. witnessed 417 mass shootings that claimed more than 500 lives and injured over 1,600 people. These figures indicate a sharp rise in the number of mass shootings since 2018. Educational institutes and places of worship might be easy targets, but other organizations, including shopping centers, offices, etc. aren’t immune to such violent incidents.
Irrespective of where a mass shooting occurs, it has devastating consequences. Apart from property damage and loss of business, it also results in physical injuries, deaths, and mental trauma. Recuperating in its aftermath requires immediate financial support to receive the necessary help. That is why many organizations have been opting for active shooter insurance as it’s better to be prepared for the emergency beforehand.
Before we take a closer look at active shooter insurance, let us understand why it is important.
Why Do You Need Active Shooter Insurance?
Many organization leaders are under the impression that general liability insurance provides coverage for active shooter incidents. However, such a policy is only operative when the organization is sued by the victims and found responsible for the attack. Such lawsuits usually take years to conclude. Even if the organization has good intentions, it may not be able to help the victims.
Moreover, standard insurance policies often ignore gun-related violence altogether. On the other hand, a standalone active shooter insurance policy helps compensate the victims immediately after the incident. It also covers the cost of structural damage, rehabilitation, and loss of business caused by the attack. Irrespective of the size and nature of your organization, you can benefit from active shooter insurance.
Understanding Active Shooter Insurance
The Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as someone “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” The individual usually uses a firearm and doesn’t follow a pattern while selecting victims. Active shooter insurance is a standalone policy that covers liability and expenses resulting from an active shooting incident.
Active shooter insurance compensates an organization for any physical damage to the property. Additionally, it covers expenses such as medical bills, funeral costs, death benefits, etc. Many active shooter insurance policies also include crisis management and counseling services. Moreover, it covers loss of business and the cost of retraining/relocation/rehabilitation after a violent incident.
Most active shooter insurance policies cover the following:
Physical Damage/Loss of Property
It refers to the compensation received for structural damage to the insured property caused by an active shooter incident. This includes the cost of repairing the property, upgrading security systems, relocating to a new property, etc. Some policies also cover the expense of a complete teardown to rebuild the property from scratch.
This is particularly useful for a school that may want to overhaul its layout to prevent undue emotional stress on the students. Likewise, you may want to renovate your office premises and make it better equipped to tackle such incidents. Active shooter insurance covers all these costs.
Whether you oversee a manufacturing plant or manage a commercial property, it is your responsibility to protect your students/employees/customers, etc. Depending on the type of your organization, you may be legally obligated to pay for certain damages caused by an active shooter. Failing to do so puts you at risk of being sued. Active shooter insurance lets you compensate the victims and avoid any legal hassles.
Medical Expenses, Funeral Costs & Death Benefits
The most catastrophic outcomes of an active shooter event are physical injuries and fatalities. Victims may not have the financial resources to bear the expense of their medical treatment. Active shooter insurance lets you compensate the victims for their medical costs. Many policies also include funeral costs and compensation for surviving family members, in case of any casualties.
Moreover, survivors of an active shooter event might suffer from long-term emotional and psychological trauma. Some active shooter insurance policies cover the cost of counseling and rehabilitation of traumatized victims.
Under this coverage, you can claim compensation for hiring a specialist crisis response team or consultant. This is only applicable when the team is solely assigned to manage the active shooter event. It also includes the cost of PR and marketing strategies executed to reinforce your organization’s reputation and branding after the incident.
Business Interruption & Loss of Attraction
An active shooter event can completely disrupt regular business operations resulting in loss of revenue. It can also stigmatize the city your business is located in and weaken your brand reputation, resulting in further losses. Active shooter insurance covers these revenue gaps, as well as the expense of brand rehabilitation.
In today’s desperate times, every organization, however big or small, must have active shooter insurance. However, you should carefully weigh certain factors before deciding to purchase a standalone active shooter insurance policy.
A Word of Caution
Active shooter insurance is an emerging insurance product that originated only a few years backs. That is why there is a lack of standardization in terms of policy wording and coverage. Insurance brokers may even try to dupe you with half-baked policies. It is, therefore, crucial to carefully go through the policy and ensure that it doesn’t have any significant exclusions.
Take a look at the type of attacks and weapons that have been excluded from the policy. Make sure it covers a wide range of attacks apart from those caused by firearms. Some common exclusions are biological weapons, vehicular attacks, and domestic violence-related incidents. Additionally, insurance companies often restrict the payout depending on the weapon used for the attack.
You should also watch out for the casualty threshold limit. It means that you will only be eligible for compensation when an active shooter event leads to a specified number of casualties. Moreover, you should ensure that the policy covers the cost of victims’ rehabilitation and counseling.
Mass shootings can result in physical injuries, emotional trauma, and fatalities. While you can’t prevent such violent incidents from happening, you can certain steps to take care of your stakeholders in its aftermath. They could be your students, employees, customers, guests, or even patients.
Active shooter insurance helps you deal with the legal and financial obligations following such an event. Additionally, it covers the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation of victims. It also includes compensation for crisis management, business interruption, structural damage, etc.
Does your company use active shooter insurance? Share your views in the comments section below.