When a business or school buys insurance for a building, they expect to use it for wear and tear. Leaks and broken tiles. Worse case scenario, a break-in or robbery. Storm damage is the most common, with around 30% of all premiums paid in the U.S. going toward wind and hail damage to a building. Recently, they’ve had to imagine getting insurance to cover the possibility of a mass shooting incident taking place on their property. Many insurance companies are in fact formulating coverage for this kind of tragic incident.
The reality is that mass shootings are being called an epidemic in America. The FBI conducted a study in 2013 where they analyzed all U.S. active shooter incidents that took place between 2000 and 2013. They identified 160 incidents in those 13 years. Between 2000 and 2007, there was a yearly average of 6.4 incidents. This jumped at an alarming rate to 16.7 incidents per year between 2008 and 2013. Obviously, something had to be done. They’re currently doing more studies focusing on aspects like shooter psychology and best practices for safety in an attempt to curb incidents and fatality rates.
In the meantime, in public places, people are living in fear. We’ve seen that venues both small and large, rural and urban, spiritual and commercial aren’t necessarily safe from this brand of violence. Not only is it emotionally and physically devastating, but it can also be financially devastating. One solution cropping up? Insurance coverage for active and mass shooting incidents.
McGowan Companies and Hiscox Insurance are two companies that provide underwriting for “active shooter” coverage. Both companies have noted a rise in inquiries about such coverage, particularly from schools. McGowan Cos. notes that clients like hotels, malls, and local government have all expressed interest in their coverage as well. The boom in business has been so significant, McGowan has had to make hires specifically to help with the influx of active shooter coverage.
That’s not to say coverage has been perfect. It helps provide payouts for shooting victims and their families, but it doesn’t typically cover all resulting medical expenses. It does usually help with repair or even rebuilding of the place where the shooting took place. For schools, in particular, it feels uncomfortable and even triggering for students and teachers to return to the site of a tragedy. In the case of Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children and six adults were murdered in 2012, local taxpayers voted to demolish the original school and rebuild a new one with a $50 million price tag. A similar plan is brewing at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Another reason why McGowan’s coverage has been so popular? The risk assessment and training that comes with the coverage. Unfortunately, in many of these shooting cases, survivors feel like more should have been done. Security could have been better. Reports of disgruntled students should have been heeded. The FBI is currently working on updating best practices for security, as mentioned previously, but school administrators in particularly are anxious for change ASAP.
Interested in how insurance covers rare but significant events like shootings and terrorism? You can check out a good read from Reuters here. Although the past couple decades in America have forever changed our view of security, at least we can find comfort in knowing people are fighting to enhance security around us and support victims of new types of violence.