Deaths by firearms are a daily occurrence in the United States. Some shocking statistics can be found when quantifying the country's issue. During the first week of 2019, a total of 242 people were killed and 492 people injured as a result of gun violence, including 5 'mass shootings', according to the non-profit organisation Gun Violence Archive (GVA). In 2018, there were 340 'mass shootings' in the United States. Almost half of the 'mass shootings' in 2017 occurred on educational and commercial premises and interest in additional insurance coverage has risen both from private and public schools.
Traditionally, life and health insurers have carried the financial cost following gun violence incidents, provided the victims have had such insurance coverage. In the last few years, non-life insurers and brokers have seen an increased demand for 'active shooter / deadly weapon' insurance policies. Such policies, still in their infancy, cover third-party liability risks for schools and businesses, consultancy for pre/post-event advice, counselling, legal costs, funerals and security risk management. In short, these policies cover the gaps in traditional general liability policies.
It is not just the victims which insurers have started to cover. Some insurers are also protecting third-party liability for gun owners, and this has become a very debated topic. The main obstacle for insurers is that the majority of deaths by firearms are caused by suicide (60% of all firearm deaths) and murder (37%). An insurable event would usually have to be accidental, which accounts for only about 2% of all firearms deaths.
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Chris Parker, Head of Terrorism, Political Violence and Kidnap & Ransom at Beazley Group, confirms the increased demand for "active shooter" insurance in the USA.
This is a very sort of unique and specific issue that we are facing. The trend that we’re seeing in terms of the amount of interest we have in this (active shooter) product - the amount of enquiries, the amount of policies being bound is just on the increase all the time.