Active Shooter Coverage
Posted by Keith Jones on Sep 25th, 2018 3:08pm
There were nearly 400 reported mass shootings in the U.S. in 2016.
If you are like me, you have watched and read about the incidents that have occurred right here in Florida. The night club in Orlando, the school in South Florida and, most recently, the Jacksonville Landing shooting. Each time, I've thought ... not in my home state – not in Florida.
After fretting over the individuals and families forever scared, my thoughts then go to the businesses and property owners involved. The lawsuits that will follow will be enormous. In many cases, the affected parties' General Liability program should provide protection. But will the limits be anywhere near adequate? I am sure there will be instances when carriers will deny coverage ... or attempt to deny coverage.
We saw an uptick in suits here in Tallahassee related to apartment complexes and strip centers facing suits due to assaults and muggings occurring on their property during the 1980s. Negligence was tied to (or was attempted to be tied to) inadequate lighting, failure to maintain fencing, lack of deadbolt locks, etc. In many cases landlords and businesses were held liable and damages broached a million or more dollars. Bottom line ... failure to provide a safe environment.
I suspect the same legal arguments (and new ones as well) will be used in instances now involving "shooters" ... and the injuries sustained by persons "on the premises" during the act.
While there may be coverage available under liability programs designed around the CGL contract, it has gotten to the point that we, as agents, should begin discussing "Active Shooter Coverage" with most if not all our clients. At least start the conversation ...
Education facilities, healthcare institutions, shopping centers, sports/entertainment venues, churches/synagogues/mosques/etc. You get the idea ...
While the term "Active Shooter" may have a little bit of universal meaning ... "Active Shooter Coverage" is still fluid. Here are a few of the features I have seen included in the marketing materials I am now receiving:
- Broad definition of deadly weapon – including biological materials as well as vehicles
- Very high limits of liability - $25mil to $100 mil
- Demolition coverage – much like Ordinance and Law (razing the building completely)
- Memorialization Coverage – pay to erect a memorial
- Funeral expenses for the deceased
- Counseling services for the surviving
- Crisis Management services for the landlord
- Primary insurance over any other collectible coverage
- Defense cost ... sometimes written on a pay on behalf basis
Additionally, there are now programs/seminars that are being made available by various law enforcement agencies and some private, specialty contractors to assist landlords and property owners in "hardening" their establishments. We just had a seminar and implemented some very aggressive measures at my home church here in Tallahassee ... measures I would have deemed excessive just a few months ago. I teach at FSU in the College of Business ... we just had an "active shooter seminar" last week. FYI ... the FSU College of Business is right behind Strozier Library ... where FSU had a shooting incident just about two years ago.
A very uncomfortable ... but growingly necessary (is that even a proper phrase?)