Sometimes an active shooter incident can start and finish before any law enforcement officers arrive on the scene.


In response to the emerging risks of active shooter incidents, a new insurance market has arisen to cater to the needs of commercial enterprises facing this threat. Active shooter insurance provides the coverage businesses and other public places need to protect against the perils posed by attacks using deadly weapons.

Active shooter events are impossible to predict. While we once thought schools and movie theaters were safe places, the sad truth is everywhere is now at risk. Any business or building that allows open access to the public and attracts a high volume of foot traffic is exposed to the threat of a mass shooter. Among the different types of commercial establishments and public institutions, the ones with the highest risk of an active shooter incident tend to be those operating in the following:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Religious
  • Lodging
  • Entertainment
  • Restaurants
  • Night clubs
  • Hospitality
  • Malls and other shopping centers
  • Sports venues
  • Banks
  • Amusement parks
  • Industrial

While this isn’t an extensive list, it covers many of the places that have suffered through the tragedy of an active shooter event. As noted in the FBI’s “Active Shooter Incidents in the United State in 2014 and 2015,” businesses generally closed to pedestrian traffic are still vulnerable to active shooter threats. Disgruntled employees and unstable clients are just some of the types of potential risks that may arise in companies or institutions closed off to the public. The data shows that although high-traffic operations might be in the greatest peril, just about any location may now be in danger of becoming a staging ground for an active shooter.

With commercial enterprises and other public institutions at risk, it’s important that brokers and agents working with these clients ensure they have the information and data necessary to put the protections in place in the unfortunate event that an active shooter incident occurs.

Companies of all shapes and sizes are susceptible to threats from active shooters.Companies of all shapes and sizes are susceptible to threats from active shooters.

Create awareness, not paranoia

Brokers and agents seeking new ways to approach the sensitive topic of active shooter insurance with their clients need to ensure they’re taking an approach that avoids stirring up paranoia but that creates awareness of the potential risks. Whipping up a frenzy of fearmongering can turn away potential clients or lead to overly expansive policies that don’t match the clients’ specific needs.

“There have been 342 mass shooting incidents in 2016 through October.”

One way to address this issue is by first explaining that while many property policies cover physical damage, general liability doesn’t always explicitly state whether active shooter incidents are clearly covered. Further, there’s no common consensus on whether an active shooter incident falls under a general liability or professional liability policy. In addition, some operations might assume that terrorism insurance covers an active shooter event, but this isn’t always the case. Brokers and agents can start a conversation with their clients to discuss what their current policies do and don’t cover.

Once the extent of coverage has been established, brokers and agents can lay out the facts about the frequency of active shooter events in the U.S. For instance, through October, there have been 342 mass shooting incidents in 2016, which translates to more than one a day, Gun Violence Archive reported.

Often the hardest part of addressing issues surrounding active shooter events stems from improper worker training. Brokers and agents underwriting active shooter insurance should work with their clients to help them implement the proper training programs for staff members. Often, a mass shooting incident happens so quickly, it’s over before any law enforcement officers arrive on the scene. Since organizations have a “duty of care” to ensure a secure environment for all individuals that pass through, they can be held liable for any legal or regulatory consequences.

Who can help?

McGowan Program Administrators offers active shooter insurance for businesses and other organizations facing the risks of active shooters and other attacks using deadly weapons. In addition, the coverage provides risk assessment and crisis management services to aid companies in planning for these threats and react to them properly if and when they do occur. Further, with event responders and post-event counseling services, McGowan’s active shooter insurance ensures companies and institutions that fall victim to an active shooter attack have the means to deal with the crisis and the resources to continue operating.

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