How do you confidently face the unknown?
Updated: Aug 19
“We never thought it could happen here.” This is a direct quote from a witness to the 2019 Virginia Beach mass shooting where a disgruntled employee fatally shot twelve people in a municipal building.We’ve heard variations of this quote before and we all know, from our own experience, that it can happen here.It did happen here.Where and when it will happen again is our unknown.
A mass killing is defined when three or more people are killed during one incident with no cooling off period. In 2019 our nation hit an all-time record with 41 mass killings. The statistics show that we are seeing an increase of domestic terrorism in the workplace and they take place in both private and public spaces. The majority of these events are carried out with the use of firearms and the FBI reports that mass shootings occur at businesses more than any other setting.
What does this mean for a business owner? Public and employee safety has morphed into something different than what we’ve traditionally known. We now have the responsibility to predict and prepare for new and emerging threats, risks that we don’t even know exist. In order to do this, we formulate plans and develop processes for the workplace. We train our employees on what to do in case of an emergency and run drills on how to save lives and mitigate damage. We do the best we can to prevent the unknown from happening.
From an insurance perspective, the increase in active shooter incidents is impacting our industry. We now create riders that are specific to trending violence in our society so that we can fully protect commercial clients. This can include policies specific to active shooter or active assailant. These types of policies bring additional coverage to general liability to cover property damage, business disruption, medical coverage and other considerations.
What is active shooter insurance:
Most businesses have general liability or business liability insurance to protect against property damage and physical injury claims. General liability will cover medical costs, replacement costs, attorney fees and anything that the company is legally responsible for in order to make the situation “whole.”
Active shooter insurance is a standalone policy that covers medical expenses and funeral costs for victims, as well as the cost of property damage and loss of business. This type of policy is considered supplemental to the general liability insurance. Rates will vary based on the specific workplace situation. The location, amount of public foot traffic, presence of security efforts, are all taken into account. An example of the coverage cost would be a $20M manufacturing business carrying $1M of added liability insurance with a $3-4K annual premium.
What does active shooter insurance cover?
In addition to medical expenses, most policies cover crisis management services, job retraining or relocation, business disruption and other supplements which are not typically covered by general liability. Coverage can vary with each policy but generally they are setup to include the following:
The policy allows employers to provide trauma support and counseling for victims traumatized by the event.
Businesses will be able to recoup any financial losses caused by significant property damage that may have resulted in business disruption of regular operations.
An active shooter incident can stigmatize a business, the brand, and even the building or pubic space in which it occurred. The policy can help cover revenue gaps caused by this crisis.
There will always be risks in this world that will impact our business. Some we can prepare for, others are unknown. The best way to confidently face the unknown is to continuously seek out new ways to mitigate your risk so when a crisis does occur, your business will be better prepared to handle (and recover) from an event.
Jonathan Theders is CEO of RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders, a family owned risk management firm in West Chester, Ohio. As a middle market specialist, he often works with companies in need of a risk management approach to insurance and loss prevention through a unique process called Beyond Insurance. Jonathan specializes in complex liability, property, fleet management and directors and officer’s protection through proven and proprietary applications. He is also a partner for Crisisinsured.com, an online provider of specialized coverage for the emerging risks in today’s workplace.