According to the FBI, active shooter incidents have become more frequent and more severe in recent years, with a 96.8% rise in the number of events between 2017 and 2021. With advanced weaponry and increased frequency, three out of the five deadliest mass shootings in US history took place in the last 10 years.
Active shooter incidents can carry various consequences. These incidents often result in fatalities, serious injuries, and prolonged trauma among those involved. Additionally, such incidents can leave lasting impacts on the locations in which they occur—namely, commercial properties. Organizations that encounter active shooter incidents could face substantial recovery expenses, regulatory penalties, and liability concerns.
It’s vital for organizations to better understand active shooter incidents and how to protect against them.
COMMONLY TARGETED LOCATIONS
Usually, active shooters select “soft targets and crowded places” (ST-CPs) when planning their attacks. ST-CPs are areas that are accessible to the public and have limited security measures in place such as malls, transportation hubs, schools, entertainment venues, and sporting events. Recent FBI data highlights the industries that are commonly targeted by active shooters:
- Commerce/Retail (52.4%)
- Government (4.9%)
- Education (3.3%)
- Religious Organizations (1.6%)
- Healthcare (1.6%)
IMPACT ON ORGANIZATIONS
All targeted organizations could face serious ramifications. They may be responsible for medical bills, funeral costs, workers’ compensation claims, property repairs, counseling services, and business interruption expenses. Businesses may also face penalties for violating OSHA’s general duty clause if they failed to properly protect their employees from a “recognized hazard.”
Determining an organization’s liability for injuries and damages requires the consideration of the following factors:
- Reasonable foreseeability: Could the organization predict or reasonably foresee this event happening?
- Effectiveness of security: The review will analyze all security measures taken by the entity to protect its employees from this hazard.
- Possibility of Negligence: An organization may be held liable for injuries and damages from active shooter events if they failed to take proper steps to minimize the incident.
PREVENTION AND RESPONSE MEASURES
Effective prevention and response measures are critical when dealing with situations that could, quite literally, be the difference between life and death. Organizations should prioritize the following when building their prevention strategy:
- Proper security protocols
- Monitoring applicable parties
- Employee training
- Establishing an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
- Guidance from law enforcement and legal counsel
In conjunction with the previously mentioned risk management measures, organizations should be sure to safeguard against potential losses stemming from active shooter incidents by securing sufficient insurance. Namely, active shooter coverage—also called deadly weapons or active assailant insurance— can be purchased as a supplement to standard policies (e.g., commercial property or general liability coverage). This type of insurance is designed to fill possible coverage gaps by assisting with various costs and services related to active shooter incidents, including pre-incident consulting, crisis management services, victim compensation and support, incident response resources, property repairs or replacements, business interruptions, loss of attraction, and legal liability or litigation expenses.
PREPARATION AND RESPONSE PLANNING
As active shooter incidents continue to rise in frequency and severity, organizations need to carefully consider their risk and actively engage in response preparedness activities. By learning about these incidents, implementing effective prevention and response measures, and purchasing proper coverage, organizations can help minimize losses stemming from mass shootings.
Gwenyth P. Luu helps organizations improve their bottom line and lower their total cost of risk by implementing the JGS Proactive Service Platform. The JGS Proactive Service Platform is an inclusive strategy that focuses on primary cost drivers of a risk management program. Gwenyth helps businesses understand all of their potential and actual costs and liabilities, execute an actionable strategy, and deliver superior client service and support. The JGS Proactive Service Platform is driven by continuous strategy and service delivered on a daily basis throughout the year. The service platform includes risk control strategies, claims advocacy and management, contract reviews and insurance program design reviews.