Is Active Shooter Insurance Becoming a Risk Management Necessity?

With too-frequent mass shootings and workplace homicides at a high, active shooter coverage is gaining attention.
By: | March 1, 2019 • 2 min read

February’s mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois is yet another reminder that mass shootings, often in spaces that also happen to be workplaces, are an unfortunately common problem in the country right now.


In fact, according to recent data reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, homicides accounted for a staggering 10 percent of workplace deaths that occurred in the United States in 2016. Of those 500 workplace homicides, 394 of them — nearly 80 percent of the total — were caused by shootings. Meaning: Statistically, at least one fatal workplace shooting occurs every day in the United States. A tough reality to swallow, right?

This brings about the question: 

Should risk managers be considering active shooter insurance for workplaces?

Active shooter insurance, also known as “active assailant insurance,” is a type of gap coverage used to supplement general liability insurance, covering unexpected expenses stemming from a shooting, like funeral costs, death benefits and more.

After a string of mass school shootings over the past decade, active shooter insurance has risen in popularity among school districts. As Robert Hartwig, director at the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center in South Carolina, noted to the Wall Street Journal, “There’s burgeoning demand for this product.”

With workplace homicides, the bulk of which are shootings, at their highest since 2010, whether other industries should follow suit isn’t a surprising question.

As Risk & Insurance® reported in November, health care and social service workplace settings are particularly at risk for violence, with 75 percent of workplace assaults occurring in those industries. That said, the Aurora shooting, in which five workers were killed, didn’t fall into that category. The shooter opened fired after being terminated from his job at an Illinois manufacturing company.

Devastating events like this can lead to major unexpected costs for employers, ranging from medical costs to trauma counseling. Active shooter insurance is one way some work providers are choosing to offset these costs in the tragic event that a shooting does occur.

Because active shooter insurance can’t possibly be universal in application, there are a number of factors to consider when thinking about adding this type of policy to your coverage. Think: pinpointing where the gaps in your general liability insurance exist and reviewing what your property insurance covers in the case of an active shooter event (oftentimes not much).


In regards to cost, active shooter insurance can range significantly. For reference, when it comes to school systems, the Wall Street Journal reports that, dependent on size, annual premiums for active shooter insurance can range from $1,800 to $20 million.

Further reading: This full Wall Street Journal piece outlining how the prevalence of mass school shootings has led to a spike in active shooter insurance policies is worth reading. For those considering active shooter insurance, we’ve also outlined some key factors to pay attention to when it comes to your policy here.

Adjua Fisher is a freelance writer, editor and business owner living in Philadelphia. Formerly a health and fitness editor at Philadelphia magazine, she now spends her days bouncing between writing assignments and working with clients of her holistic health coaching practice. She can be reached at [email protected]

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]