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Preparing for the Unthinkable: Active Assailant Coverage

June 19, 2019

Most of us carry more than a few important dates around in our heads. We remember our kids’ birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and maybe even the day we bought a new house or started a great job. We know that Christmas is always December 25, and Halloween is October 31.

But do you know why these dates are significant?

  • December 14, 2012
  • December 2, 2015
  • October 1, 2017
  • January 23, 2018
  • February 14, 2018
  • April 22, 2018
  • May 18, 2018
  • September 6, 2018
  • October 27, 2018
  • November 19, 2018

Unfortunately, these specific dates represent Active Shooter/Assailant Events at, respectively:

  • Sandy Hook School (Newtown, CT)
  • Inland Regional Center (San Bernardino, CA)
  • Route 91 Music Festival/Concert (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Marshall County High School (Benton, KY)
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, FL)
  • Waffle House Restaurant (San Bruno, CA)
  • Santa Fe High School (Santa Fe, TX)
  • Fifth Third Center (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Tree of Life Synagogue (Pittsburg, PA)
  • Mercy Hospital (Chicago, IL)

Sadly, there are numerous additional events both before and after this time frame. We may not remember the exact dates, but we remember what happened in these locations. These are some dates we’d like to forget.

Clearly, violent incidents happen in places where we all gather or work—our schools, restaurants, houses of worship, entertainment venues, and even medical facilities. Shootings like these are random and without boundaries.  Simply put, no place is off limits. While this abbreviated list of events occurred solely in the United States, these unprovoked and unexpected attacks are happening all over the world. After an incident, we’re left in collective disbelief, grappling with grief and fear as we desperately look for ways to prevent it from happening again. We form committees with our peers and work with local and national police resources, the FBI, parents, and many others to decipher the whys and look ahead to what’s next.

  • Do we close our business doors for good?
  • Do we seek counseling to learn how to grieve and move on?
  • Do we contact public relations’ officials to protect the reputation of our school, business, or place of worship?
  • Do we enlist new training experts to teach our staffs how to respond if an event occurs? An emerging industry has evolved to teach us how to respond during an attack.  Do we hide, do we run the opposite way, or do we fight back with force?
  • Do we keep our doors locked on a fulltime basis?

All these responses are possible, and several can occur simultaneously.

While we focus first on the emotional costs that can’t be measured, there are also both known and unknown financial losses. As a result, the insurance industry has responded with an insurance policy for business and facilities to recoup some of the financial costs.

Will I be covered under my General Liability Policy?

The need for new products has arisen because traditional policies such as general liability or property coverage don’t provide the necessary coverages for a specific event. For instance, General Liability coverage pays for third party bodily injury and property damage losses caused by an occurrence that the business-owner is legally liable to pay. An occurrence is defined as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.”2 While the specifics of an event will be carefully reviewed, there have been court cases regarding the definition of “occurrence” and whether an active assailant situation can be defined as an accident. In addition, the General Liability policy may include an endorsement excluding assault and battery – which is an assailant event. Typically, a General Liability policy will not pay the costs of hiring professionals such as guidance counselors. While the specifics of an incident will assist in determining coverage under a General Liability policy, Active Assailant/Active Shooter coverage is designed specifically to cover these events.

Will my Property Policy protect me?

Following an active shooter event, a business or organization will almost certainly cease operations for a time. This can result in a loss of income and future earnings. For a Property Policy to respond and pay loss-of-income coverage, there must be a direct physical loss (first) to the property, e.g. flood or fire (among many possible perils). Typically, in an active assailant situation, no direct damage occurs prior to an incident and, therefore, loss-of-income coverage doesn’t apply. In addition, there may be clean-up costs associated with an event. Most Property Policies will not assume these costs due to an event. 

However, Active Assailant coverage can cover loss-of-income and clean-up costs as well as other property costs associated with an event.

Listed below are coverages which can be included on a policy providing both property and liability coverage. The premiums for these policies can range anywhere from $800 – $5,000 depending on the location and type of business.

Active Assailant Coverages to Consider:

  • Third Party Liability Coverage
  • Medical Costs
  • Dental Costs
  • Counselling Costs
  • Job Retraining/Recruitment
  • Crisis Management Support
  • Loss of Business Income
  • Loss of Attraction
  • Extra Expenses
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Event Cancellation

Because there are so many products within the marketplace, it’s crucial to understand what’s provided and to know how these coverages can taper with a current insurance program. Your Oswald insurance team is available to help you navigate the ever-evolving marketplace to be sure that what’s important to you is fully protected in the event of the unthinkable.

For more information visit our Active Assailant page or contact us here.

For more information, please contact:
Susan Tobbe
Senior Client Manager

Sources: (,

Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.