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Active Shooter/Active Assailant Coverage: The Rise of Mass Shootings

Active Shooter/Active Assailant Coverage: The Rise of Mass Shootings

Active Shooter/Active Assailant Coverage: The Rise of Mass Shootings

Pop, pop, pop! BANG! Bullets fly across the sky, and chaos, confusion, and panic erupt. Unfortunately, active shooter/active assailant incidents are a more prevalent reality in the United States than ever before. These unfortunate events occur wherever large groups of people gather.

The perpetrators often target high-profile areas such as parades and festivals, school systems, churches, and high-volume retail centers such as shopping malls and car dealerships. There appears to be no place that is immune from a potential attack. For many business owners, the fear is if and how our insurance policy will react to such an event.

Defining an Active Shooter

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically using firearms. In most cases, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims.”

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Motivating factors can include mental instability, workplace disputes, domestic disputes, and political or religious ideologies.

Understanding Active Shooter/Active Assailant Coverage

While general liability coverage applies to a broad range of risks, it also has limitations. It is not safe to assume your existing policy applies to mass shootings or workplace aggression. If you lack the appropriate coverage, your dealership will bear the full brunt of recovery-related expenses. Therefore, there has been a significant spike in demand for active shooter/active assailant policies over the past several years amid rising anxieties from a seemingly relentless stream of violent attacks.

An active shooter/active assailant policy represents more than an extra budget line item. It offers specialized resources that help your dealership deliver a caring, supportive response to the victims and survivors. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the basics of these policies.

Legal Liability and Litigation

Today, businesses are held to a higher standard of accountability regarding public safety measures toward customers and employees. Therefore, your dealership is legally obligated to pay for certain damages and claim expenses that arise from an active shooter/active assailant incident. Those who fall short of this “duty of care” are at risk of being sued.

Physical Damage 

Your dealership can get indemnity for physical loss or damage to your property. After an incident, many businesses experience millions of dollars in property expenses due to the cost of structural security upgrades, building closure, relocation, or teardown.

Business Interruption 

Your dealership can suffer a significant financial loss with an active shooter incident or even the threat of an event when the police investigations bring business to a halt. The proper active shooter/active assailant coverage will provide for physical loss, damage, or destruction of property as well as income loss.

Loss of Attraction

A violent event often stigmatizes a neighborhood, business district, or brand. Active shooter/active assailant insurance covers brand rehabilitation and helps fill in the revenue gaps, even if the disturbance did not happen at your dealership.

Crisis Management

Without expert guidance, how you respond to a crisis can cause a slew of other issues to your dealership’s reputation. Insurance carriers will cover the consulting fees for a Crisis Management Team or a Public Relations firm resulting solely and directly from an active shooter.

Examining the Exclusions

Many active shooter/active assailant policies include exclusions that could prove costly in the aftermath of an incident.


Some policies only include customers or guests. Due to the nature of these events, it is critical to make sure your employees are also covered.

Casualty Thresholds

Some policies have a body deductible, and coverage solely applies after a certain number of people, usually three or four, have been injured or killed. Most workplace shootings involve less than three injured people, so it is critical to review this part of your policy to ensure it covers these incidents as well.

Managing Your Risk Mitigation 

Active shooter/active assailant is a new exposure, and it is ever-changing. A mass shooting can plunge your dealership into a disorienting world of trauma, grief, media scrutiny, and litigation threats. Thus, you need to carefully assess your dealership’s ability to withstand a violent attack.

Preparation is essential in managing your exposure to mass violence incidents. Conduct regular security reviews and training sessions so employees can recognize the warning signs, react properly, and possibly reduce the impact of an otherwise tragic incident.

Filling in the Coverage Gaps

Ultimately, the best way to decide if active shooter/active assailant insurance is right for your dealership is to find gaps in your other insurance policies and see if active shooter/active assailant coverage can fill these holes. At Dealer Risk Services, we recognize the unique challenges and exposures you face and offer the right products and services to safeguard your dealership. To learn more, contact one of our Insurance Professionals.