Protection through active shooter insurance is growing as the number of shootings accelerates. FBI records indicate 16.4 annual events between 2007 and 2013, more than double the yearly average of 6.4 incidents between 2000 and 2006.
Employment defense law firms in particular are advised that guidance and counsel offered to employer clients following recent events in Dayton, Ohio and the Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas may be welcomed as one means of workplace preparation and active shooter insurance risk management.
Restaurants, houses of worship, shopping malls, sports stadiums, theaters, and educational facilities are among the many businesses nationally that are working to identify and manage the risks associated with an active shooter or workplace violence event.
Active shooter insurance closely relates to other forms of insurance coverage and provisions as well, including:
- Business interruption insurance
- Property damage claims
- Workers’ compensation claims
- General liability and casualty claims
- Medical expenses for those who are injured and traumatized
- Legal defense costs for resulting lawsuits
- Crisis management services needed to manage intense media attention
- Post-event counseling for victims, their families, first responders, and other community members
Employment defense counsel can advise employers and property owners on the relevant state and national standard of care requirements designed to prevent and respond to shootings, as well as within the terms of an insurance policy itself. Employee training reviews can be part of this effort, with identification of suitable planning strategies, such as lockdown; run, hide, fight; and ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate).
Many insureds may need help in assessing remediation costs in the event of an active shooter event. The cost of a new school in Sandy Hook, Conn. cost $50 million, including state-of-the-art safety features, as an extreme example. Demolition and remediation costs are also needed when the site of a shooting is replaced with a memorial for victims.
Active Shooter Definitions and Statistics
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines an “active shooter” as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.”
A total of 220 active shooter events occurred in the U.S. between 2000 and 2016, according to the FBI and the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) center at Texas State University. Tragically, almost 700 people were killed as a result of the violence. While the likelihood of an incident at the individual workplace level is low, the potential outcome is so tragic that employers and property owners could be viewed as negligent without proper preparation.
Active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, according to DHS, perhaps even before law enforcement arrives on the scene. Nevertheless, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is most often required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.
The cost of an active shooter policy can cost $3,000 per year for a high school or $50,000 per year for a university, according to an August 7th news report by NPR. Every policy is different, and an experienced insurance broker as well as defense counsel can assist the insured in assessing their needs and suitable coverage levels.
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Active Shooter Resources
Click on the link to access a copy of the Department of Homeland Security booklet titled, “Active Shooter: How to Respond.”
As another resource, click on the link for a white paper by Marsh titled, “Protecting People and Operations from Active Shooter Threats.”
This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be interpreted as legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Every situation is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.