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Do Small Businesses Need 'Active Shooter' Insurance?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 08, 2015 5:59 AM

The recent mass shooting in San Bernardino was the 355th of its kind this year alone. Coming as it did -- perpetrated on location at an office holiday by a fellow employee -- it was a wake-up call to employers and small businesses regarding not only safety but also liability.

And for concerned companies, an insurance broker is now offering "active shooter" insurance policies that can cover gun violence. Originally pitched to colleges and universities, businesses large and small are now looking into expanding their insurance coverage.

The "Active Shooter" Policy

Wendy Peters, an executive vice president at insurance broker Willis, told Fortune that active shooter insurance policies can cover up to $5 million of liability if the business didn't take the necessary precautions to prevent a mass shooting, "on the scene" costs of a shooting incident, as well as any counseling or consulting expenses needed after the event. And Peters said, "There's been widespread interest in the product."

Shooting Victim Coverage

Normally, injuries to employees due to a shooting at work are covered under workers' compensation insurance. Workers' comp covers on-the-job injuries, even if they occur via a criminal act by another employee.

While most states only require that employees show that the attack or assault happened while they were performing job duties in order to qualify for workers' comp, some states also require that the motivation for the assault be work related rather than purely personal.

Assessment of Risk

Whether your business is OK with workers' compensation insurance for workplace shootings or you need to add an active shooter policy will depend on your own assessment of the risk of a shooting, and what it may cost your business.

Fortune noted that of the 3.8 million injuries reported by the AFL-CIO in 2013, only 773 were the result of violence. And the number of workplace homicides has declined over the past five years. If you would like legal help reviewing your small business' insurance policies and coverage, you can consult with an insurance attorney near you.

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