In the aftermath of an active shooter event, most insurance companies do not step in until victims sue the facility or building owner—which can be painful for victims and potentially expensive for building owners.
At the 2019 BOMA International Conference & Expo, McGowan Program Administrators spoke with BUILDINGS on the show floor about what to look for when purchasing active shooter insurance and the need for a crisis management component.
“If you were to have an active shooter event at your facility, do you know the protocol of what your existing insurance policy would cover?” asks Paul Marshall, managing director of the active shooter and workplace violence division of McGowan Program Administrators. “My hunch is it would not respond to the victims. It would have to wait for the lawsuits [to come in], which we don’t want to happen.”
Prepare, Respond, Recover
McGowan Program Administrators helps underwrite insurance for building owners and managers in the event of an active shooter in order to help the facility and community prepare, respond and recover. Marshall adds that recovery is a major component—from providing trauma counseling to paying for funeral expenses and medical bills.
[Related: Active Shooter Drills: An Eye-Opening Encounter]
Recovery also can include fixing property damage or refurbishing a space, which often comes with an emotional need. In the aftermath of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, the school spent about $3.2 million to refurbish the site of the incident.
“They didn’t have to but felt they needed to in order to have people feel comfortable,” Marshall says.
Most standard coverage policies do not provide response for an active shooter event, he adds, such as increased security that may be needed afterward and business income loss. Your building might need to close due to injuries or even death. Relocation might be necessary. Marshall says your policy might not pay unless there was physical damage to your building or its contents.
McGowan’s Active Shooter/Workplace Violence Insurance covers such liabilities and extra expenses tied to attacks with firearms, knives, vehicles or other types of violence. The policy also considers all classes of business, including but not limited to:
- Government agencies
- Religious institutions
- Public entities
12 Things Your Active Shooter Insurance Should Include
When purchasing an active shooter policy, Marshall notes that the policy should include 12 items, according to McGowan’s Buyer’s Guide: Active Shooter Insurance.
- Third party liability coverage that includes damages, monetary awards and settlements.
- Primary other insurance clause.
- No exclusion for terrorism.
- No exclusion for under three casualties.
- No exclusion for over 50 casualties.
- No exclusion for act of burglary/theft.
- Crisis response services pre-approved and paid by insurance carrier.
- Security vulnerability assessment included.
- Safety action plan seminar/webinar included.
- Crisis response management hot line included.
- Crisis counseling included.
- Funeral expense included.
Marshall advises building owners and facilities managers to work through their existing insurance brokers/professionals on an active shooter policy, or visit McGowan’s website for a quote on its active shooter insurance policy.
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