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Interest in active assailant insurance increases as deadly shootings rise

Posted On: Aug. 23, 2022 6:55 AM CST


Insurers offering active assailant coverage have been fielding quotes and binding more business as the number of incidents increases.

With the recent high-profile shootings across the United States, more organizations are seeking insurance protection against potential liability and property damage exposures related to the deadly incidents, and other associated costs, sources say.

“It’s never been busier,” said Chris Parker, London-based head of terrorism and deadly weapon protection for Beazley. With mass shooting numbers increasing in the U.S. every year, “there’s more interest in the product,” with both inquiries and binding up, he said.

Beazley PLC deployed a team of four people in the U.S. earlier this year to market its active assailant insurance product and inform potential policyholders and brokers.

Data from the Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks shootings and firearms deaths, shows mass shooting incidents roughly doubled between 2017 and 2021.

There is “absolutely” more interest in this coverage, said Morgan Shrubb, New York-based head of terrorism for Axa XL, a unit of Axa SA. Her team now offers active assailant coverage on all of its quotes for terrorism insurance, and the take-up rate has doubled this year, she said.

Tim Strong, head of crisis management in London for Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd., said inquiries and submissions usually rise by about 15% to 20% after an event, “but given the steady frequency of events in the U.S., submissions counts have been pretty constant.”   

The types of organizations looking at active assailant covers are also widening. When the coverage was first offered, many of the buyers were schools, municipalities and other public entities, sources say. More recently, interest has grown in the corporate sector, said Jo Holliday, managing director and global head of crisis management for Willis Towers Watson PLC in London.

“In the past six months in particular, there’s been a real increase and divergence in the types of clients which are asking about and binding the coverage,” she said.

Beazley’s Mr. Parker said there is no category of industry in which an organization has not bound coverage.

Historically, municipalities and schools had been the buyers of coverage from Axa XL, but the coverage is increasingly being bought by private-sector companies, Ms. Shrubb said. Those buying active assailant insurance include apartment building owners, condominium associations, hotels, retailers and entertainment companies, she said.

In addition to the number and types of organizations looking at and purchasing active assailant coverage, purchased limits are also rising, sources said.

Purchased limits in the range of $1 million to $2 million were available when the Beazley coverage was introduced in 2016, but the average limit has risen to between $3 million and $5 million, Mr. Parker said. The largest limit available – incorporating nearly every underwriter in the market – is $100 million, which Beazley writes for two policyholders, he said.

Aspen Insurance offers a maximum limit of $25 million, and the average limit purchased is $7.8 million, Mr. Strong said.

The risk management community is also showing growing concern and awareness of the issue.

“As risk managers, I think it’s important for us to bring these topics up to our executives,” said Kristen Peed, corporate director of risk management at Cleveland-based CBIZ Inc. and a board member of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.

“We need to have proper training for our employees to know how to react if faced with this,” she said. “We can’t ignore what’s going on because the events are happening it feels like on a more regular basis, so we are forced to look at and address the risks.”  

RIMS has an active shooter report and is increasingly incorporating programming on active assailant issues into its events and educational efforts, according to a spokesman for the organization.