By Tyler Cichewicz
A new insurance market is emerging to help counter and repair the damage done by shootings in public places. The coverage addresses a gray area in insurance policies that may leave insureds susceptible to claims in the aftermath of an active shooter incident.
Active shooter incidents are defined by one or more individuals who kill or attempt to kill people in a populated area, such as a school, church, or event. Coverage for this emerging market is not limited strictly to firearms and covers explosives and other weapons used to carry out incident.
Shooting incidents are increasing according to a recent FBI study which found an average of one incident every three weeks. From 2000 to 2007 there was an average of 6.4 incidents a year, however in the last six years, that average has become 16.4 incidents per year. The number of incidents per year in 2014 and 2015 was 20.
New programs have been launched in response to this growing concern. Policies cover both pre- and postactive shooter incident services. Services focus on legal defense in the event of allegations of negligence that failed to stop the incident from occurring. In addition, services will also provide aid to those recovering from such an incident.
John Powter of GDP Advisors in Texas, says, “There is a concern, or gray area, with the general liability policy- in reality it was never designed to cover an active shooter incident.” Powter’s concern for this disconnect is reflected in Paul Marshall’s, a program manager for McGowan Program Administrators, statement that there has been little case law to establish if an active shooter incident is covered by insured’s GL or professional liability policy.
“What I tell my agents any time there is a new, unidentified, exposure is that the best way to manage that risk in the short term is with a named peril policy,” Marshall says.
All classes of business will be considered for the coverage, which is available through a Lloyd’s line slip.
GDP originally launched the program for educational institutions, but received inquiries from a variety of other entities that hosted high volumes of people.
The real value of the policy is that the risk assessment includes an active shooter and vulnerability assessment along with preparedness seminars and training modules and crisis management.
Powter says this coverage is important as it not only clearly articulates coverage for an active shooter incident, but it helps entities with the coverage to understand their risk and how to prepare and handle any such incident.
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