Dedicated coverage for active assailant events

police officers with gun flashlight in dark hallway

High-profile mass shootings over the last decade in various public and private settings and various attacks involving vehicles have often been carried out with the sole intent of instilling public fear while causing as much loss of life as possible. Although traditional forms of insurance coverage can provide a measure of protection for businesses and employees that are targeted in such attacks, their language can be ambiguous — and may have sizable gaps.

To address any potential coverage gaps, several leading insurers have developed new forms of coverage dedicated to responding to active assailant threats, helping organizations that are victims of such attacks to mitigate their risk and recover following them.


Dedicated coverage for active assailant events

A growing threat

Mass shootings in schools, private businesses, and public settings have long threatened the safety and security of people and organizations across the US. Many of these shootings are characterized as active shooter events, which are defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as being perpetrated by individuals “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In 2017, an active shooter event occurred, on average, every 12 days, according to FBI data.

Beyond active shooter events, the means of attack used by individuals and organizations engaged in terrorism have shifted. While past attacks have been carried out primarily by specific  groups against perceived high-value/high-profile targets, many recent attacks have come against soft targets and been perpetrated by “lone wolves” and small groups with no direct connection to known terrorist organizations.

Coverage highlights

Active assailant coverage — also known as active shooter coverage or deadly weapons coverage — developed by commercial insurers can help organizations address these ever-present risks. Offering a combination of property and casualty coverage, active assailant coverage can complement the general liability and property coverage that most businesses already purchase, offering another layer of protection against the threat of assailants.

Various active assailant insurance products available via  commercial insurers typically offer affirmative coverage that is triggered by premediated malicious physical attacks by active assailants who are physically present and armed. These policies can typically offer:

  • Property damage, business interruption, and extra expense coverage
  • Legal liability coverage
  • Non-physical damage coverage
  • Loss of attraction and denial of access coverage
  • Reimbursement for costs for public relations consulting, crisis management, medical services, counseling and/or psychiatric care, hiring of additional staff, and added security
  • Limits of up to $100 million
  • No exclusions for vehicles, attacks by employees, and terrorism

Preparation and response planning

Beyond purchasing insurance coverage, it’s vital that businesses carefully consider their potential risk and actively engage in prevention and response preparedness activities to help reduce the potential loss of life, injuries, and damage to their and others’ property. In addition to the coverage afforded by the policy, active assailant products can help in this effort. For example, policies typically cover the costs of advisory services to help businesses assess their potential risk, conduct on-site seminars to train employees, and develop active shooter response plans.