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Active shooter coverage, Insurers find business in US school shootings

The insurance covers expenses tied to shootings in places such as office buildings and concert halls and is increasingly gaining traction with schools.


Active shooter coverage, Insurers find business in US school shootings
School districts often find that their general liability policies fall short on coverage for the cascade of bills that follow a violent incident. (Image Credit: Flickr)

Insurance broker Paul Marshall can count on his phone ringing in the aftermath of a school shooting.

Since the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school, where 17 people were killed and more than a dozen injured, seven South Florida school district has bought $3 million worth of "active shooter" coverage that Marshall's Ohio-based employer, the McGowan Companies, began selling in 2016.

"Every day we get a phone call from another school district," Marshall said.

The insurance, which is backed by XL Catlin covers expenses tied to shootings in places such as office buildings and concert halls and is increasingly gaining traction with schools. It pays up to USD 250,000 per shooting victim, for death and serious injuries, such as blindness or total disability, with additional medical coverage depending on how much insurance a district buys.

Also Read | Maryland shooter dies in gunfire with security officer

There is no detailed survey of insurance coverage at US schools, but insurers say it is only within about the past year that more schools have been seeking "active shooter" and "active assailant" policies.

School districts often find that their general liability policies fall short on coverage for the cascade of bills that follow a violent incident like the mass shooting last month in Parkland, Florida, insurers and school administrators say.

The costs can include victim lawsuits, building repairs, legal fees, medical expenses and trauma counseling, as well as media consultants, accountants to handle charitable contributions, and even reconstruction of buildings where bloodshed occurred.

"This is a very sort of unique and specific issue that we are facing" Chris Parker, who heads a unit at Beazley PLC that writes policies for political violence, terrorism, and other risks said about coverage for US schools.

On Tuesday, a student who shot and critically wounded two fellow students at a Maryland high school died after exchanging gunfire with a campus security officer.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the February shooting, is covered under a general liability policy through its local school district, which does not spell out whether shootings are covered, a spokeswoman said.

That was also true at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 26 people in 2012. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by families of two children killed there seeking unspecified sums has dragged on since 2015.

In the case of public schools, state laws that exempt them from liability or limit the payouts can leave survivors and their families with huge medical expenses. Those laws can have exceptions and in some states, such as Florida, the legislature has authority to waive such limits.

Still, the process can take years and while school employees are generally covered through workers' compensation insurance some shooter policies could help families meet some of the medical costs.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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