Nearly half of all active shooter incidents happen in commercial establishments, at places of business, both open and closed to the public. According to the FBI, there were 729 victims of active shooter incidents in 2017 alone. That’s more than three times as many as in 2016, previously the deadliest year for active shooter events on record.1  

Is your business properly insured? 

Most businesses rely on multiple liability policies to protect them, should an active shooter event happen on their property, or in their workplace. These include: Workers’ Compensation for injured employees, General Liability for injured patrons, a Property policy for direct property damage and Environmental coverage in the event that biological cleaning and sanitizing is necessary. 

But, piecing these policies together usually creates major coverage gaps, as an active shooter incident only triggers certain aspects of each policy. Furthermore, an active shooter event claim using multiple policies will result in multiple deductibles, or self-insured retentions, and will erode policy limits quickly. This could preclude you from coverage for common exposures during the same policy period, i.e. slips and falls on your property, roof leaks, etc., and could ultimately, leave you underinsured. 

Understanding the layers of liability for active shooter incidents 

Every business needs: Workers’ Compensation for employees that get injured on the job and as mandated by most state laws; General Liability for third party accidents or injuries that happen on your property; Property coverage for damage to your physical property and Environmental coverage for cleaning and sanitizing or proper waste disposal. Each of these policies must be examined individually as they relate to an active shooter event, and compared to a dedicated Active Shooter policy. 

Generally, using a Worker’s Compensation policy for an active shooter claim:

  • Indemnity benefits are limited to a maximum weekly wage which varies by state. Therefore, it’s not likely to reimburse high-wage earners that may be victims of the shooting.  
  • Worker’s Comp death benefits are not pre-determined, but instead based on variables, including age of deceased worker and his/her dependents. 1099s will not be covered.
  • Grief counseling isn’t always insurable under Worker’s Comp. 

In a dedicated Active Shooter policy, you may find: 

  • Indemnity benefits are not limited to wage.
  • Death benefits are pre-determined; 1099s will be covered.
  • Grief counseling is covered. 

Generally, using a General Liability (GL) policy for an active shooter claim: 

  • Covers third-party bodily injury/property damage only but excludes mental anguish claims.
  • Because active shooter event claims are large,  GL limits can quickly erode and therefore won’t be available for other common GL claims. 
  • In an active shooter event, GL policies are only triggered if there is a lawsuit. 

In a dedicated Active Shooter policy, you may find: 

  • Third-party bodily injury includes mental anguish.
  • Coverage can be triggered without a lawsuit. 

Generally, using a Property or Business Interruption policy for an active shooter claim: 

  • Business interruption coverage is subject to a deductible/waiting period. 
  • Must purchase policy extension for “Terrorism coverage,” otherwise an act of terrorism is excluded.
  • Pollution clean-up is not covered. 

In a dedicated Active Shooter policy, you may find: 

  • There is no deductible or waiting period for claims payout. 
  • Terrorism is always included. 
  • Pollution cleanup coverage is available and will include biological clean up.
  • Includes “Loss of Attraction” coverage, which provides relief if patrons are fearful or your building/location.  It covers your business even if the active shooter event happened on a neighboring property. 

Generally, using an Environmental policy for an active shooter claim: 

  • Costly pollution clean-ups are usually only secured by entities that have regular chemical exposures.  
  • Biological cleaning and sanitizing may not be covered under a traditional environmental policy and may require an additional rider.
  • Premiums/deductibles for these policies are very high.

In a dedicated Active Shooter policy, you may find: 

  • Pollution clean-up is covered, including biological clean up. 
  • Deductibles/premiums are much lower than the traditional environmental liability policy. 

In addition to the above-mentioned features, a dedicated Active Shooter policy means one deductible and a dedicated claims process for all related claims. Additional Active Shooter policy features can include: 

  • Covers all employees on a blanket basis 
  • Up to $20M in limits
  • Typical $10,000 deductible 

Contact your HUB specialist to find out how you can further secure your business with a dedicated Active Shooter policy. 


[1] https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents-graphics