Recent public, random acts of violence like the Gilroy, El Paso, Odessa and Ohio active shooter events that demonstrate the need to include active shooter insurance in your Arizona business asset protection plan.
This additional (and only partial) list of events involving workplace violence and active shooters over the last few months illustrates the wide range of threats business owners in Phoenix, Scottsdale and beyond must be prepared to deal with.
- North Carolina University shooter
- Poway synagogue shooter
- San Francisco pedestrian vehicular assault
- Christchurch mosque shooter
- Multiple foiled school shootings
- Domestic violence at dental office and at Hacienda healthcare
In some of these cases the threat was internal often related to either domestic violence, (which accounts for about 30 percent of workplace violence), disgruntled employees, or an out of control medical patient. In other cases, it's been a, "wrong place, wrong time" random act of violence like domestic terrorism or acts of violence that have started in public and moved into healthcare facilities.
Being prepared requires that business owners and facility operators of all types have multiple layers of defense that I have previously covered, including active security measures as well as consistently enforced internal policies on firearms, that provides required conditions for practice owners or employees who choose to carry a firearm.
Where is the risk?
Business and medical practice owners now face increased risk as both physical and legal targets of active shooters and other workplace violence. This risk extends to owners and executives of corporate entities with liability and employers of employees that may be injured in an act of violence.
What are at-risk locations?
Think beyond your office and include any commercial real estate like a hotels, apartment buildings, or retail shopping center. They may also sponsor public events like a health fair. All these need to be examined for the same security and insurance issues.
What can be (but isn't always) covered by active shooter insurance?
• Physical damage — Including repair, relocation, and teardown
• Legal liability and litigation defense
• Crisis management and public relations
• Business interruption coverage
• Medical, funeral, and death benefit liability
Watch for exclusions that can make a policy nearly WORTHLESS
Again, expert advice* on specific policy details is vital, and not just on the coverage limits. Make sure your policy doesn't have any of the following exclusions that reduce or negate the value of the policy.
- Terrorism exclusion. We've all seen the news: Healthcare facilities are considered high-risk and common targets.
- Casualty threshold limits. These can require that a certain minimum number of people to be killed or injured or some other qualifying event to occur before the insurance coverage applies.
- Employee exclusion. The coverage may be limited or completely excluded if the bad actor is an owner or employee.
- Vehicle exclusion. If a vehicle is used as a weapon, instead of a firearm or etc., the coverage may not apply.
- Mental anguish exclusion. Any case involving a death, injury, or even the psychological effects of such an incident would likely result in mental distress.
- Domestic violence exclusion. Remember, 30 percent of all workplace violence are related to domestic violence.
Why would someone buy a policy with such ridiculous exclusions? They wouldn't, if they actually knew what they were buying or were well advised.
Other security measures to consider
These fall into two primary groups designed to deter, detect, report, and react to various threats. First are active security measures like guards, metal detectors, and other mandatory electronic screening. Second are passive security measures including:
- Locked doors with limited and controlled pedestrian access;
- Controlled vehicle access including active and passive barriers;
- Various electronic access controls like key cards and biometric scanners;
- Electronic monitoring systems like cameras;
- Lighting, landscape, and architecture controls.
There may be liability for practice owners failing to act in any of these areas, despite not having any current defined legal duty to do so. Please err on the side of caution.
*Thanks to OH active shooter insurance expert, Paul Marshall with the McGowan Companies.
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