The last 18 months have seen a rise in the number of gun assaults in U.S. cities against a backdrop of unprecedented social and economic pressures. While many organizations now have plans in place to help protect their people against an active shooter attack, it is also important to consider how a business might continue to operate in the wake of such an incident.
Overall, since the 1990s, major U.S. cities have followed a national trend in becoming safer —with rates of homicide decreasing over time and today remains well below historical highs. However, homicide rates at the end of 2020 were up 30% on the previous year, showing a stark increase. This year is set to be the deadliest year in two decades for gun violence—figures show 482 mass shootings to date, with President Biden looking to strengthen firearm regulations in response to the troubling statistics.
An increase in active shooter attacks
Among the firearms attacks in the U.S. are active shooter incidents, where an individual is 'actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.'[i] According to the FBI, there was a total of 40 active shooter incidents in the U.S. in 2020—up a staggering 33% from 2019 and 100% from 2016.[ii]
This upward trend perhaps comes as no surprise when considering the huge impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on people's lives from many perspectives—from social isolation and mental health issues to enforced unemployment, family breakdown and ongoing uncertainty.
Job cuts and factory closures mean businesses face heightened risks from disgruntled employees, while untreated mental illness typically features a significant proportion of mass shooters,[iii] and so this risk may also increase. Random shooting incidents can also occur due to misguided political or religious motivations, and there is also the ever-present threat of lone-wolf terrorism.
Non-damage business interruption and denial of access
Even when taking these statistics into account, you may think it unlikely that your business could be subject to this type of attack. However, an incident doesn't have to happen on your premises or even directly involve any of your employees to affect your business and its operations.
Simply being located near the scene of attack can lead to the immediate denial of access to your premises as the area is sealed off and may go on to cause prolonged disruption as the incident is diffused and investigated. Whether you're based in a high-rise office, a corner store, or a construction site, your business may be left to absorb the financial fallout if you don't have adequate cover for this type of incident.
Ensuring your business is covered
Coverage for most crisis events is generally not included on a standard business insurance policy. Typically, business owners have to purchase individual cover for specific perils such as vicious attacks (including active shooter incidents), civil unrest or terrorism.
However, through Gallagher Crisis Protect, businesses can insure themselves against a total of 20 security threats under one policy, including vicious attack
Crisis Consultants available 24/7
Gallagher Crisis Protect includes access to some of the world's leading crisis consultants whenever you need them. They are on hand to help you with immediate incident response and can provide the necessary post-incident guidance and support such as counselling and legal advice. Pre-incident support is covered too, with information and training materials, including videos on how to manage an active shooter situation.
For more information about the threats covered by Gallagher Crisis Protect, and the full range of consultancy services included, please contact Charles Pippert.