Mass shooting insurance in high demand as gun violence surges again

The United States has suffered many attacks which are classified as "mass shootings." The following are among the worst.

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U.S. insurance providers are reporting a dramatic spike in demand for policies that protect against mass shootings, which have occurred an alarming 203 times across the country in the first five months of 2021.

In the past six weeks, policy seekers have inquired about active shooter coverage at a rate 50% higher than at this time last year, according to Reuters, which cited data from Marsh Inc., the world’s biggest insurance broker based in New York City.

Active shooter insurance policies have grown in popularity over the past several years due to high-profile school shootings and other massacres such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 dead, the Las Vegas shooting a year later that killed 60, and the 2019 shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart where a gunman killed 22 people.

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Such policies typically cover victim lawsuits, building repairs, legal fees, medical expenses and trauma counseling, according to Reuters.

Active shooter policy rates have risen by as much as 50% so far this year for clients across all public and private sectors, including hospitals, retail establishments, colleges and universities, restaurants and places of worship, according to Chris Kirby, head of political violence coverage at insurer Optio.

The coverage ranges anywhere from $1 million to as high as $75 million.

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The U.S. health care industry has shown particular interest in signing up for mass shooting protection policies despite the rarity of fatal shootings in hospitals, said Tarique Nageer, terrorism placement advisory leader at Marsh.

Concerns over potentially volatile behavior in clinics and emergency rooms have led to a 25% to 50% rise in active shooter insurance prices for health care facilities compared to last year, while overall rates have remained steady, according to Reuters.

“Those are places where you could see people who are disgruntled that members of their family might have died and didn’t get a vaccine or weren’t treated properly,” said Tim Davies, head of crisis management at Canopius, a Lloyd’s of London global specialty insurer.

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With most of the country under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year was the least deadly for mass shootings in the U.S. in a decade according to statistics, but in that same time span gun violence was still responsible for killing nearly 20,000 Americans, not including suicides.

So far this year, a deadly wave of bloodshed across the country continues a staggering trend of mass shootings which have quickly rebounded to the forefront of American life.

The United States has seen more than 200 mass shootings since Jan. 1, according to a report by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that defines them as any event involving the shooting of four or more people other than the assailant.

Just last Sunday, a gunman killed six people and himself at a birthday party in Colorado Springs. In two days during the same weekend, more than 260 shootings in 37 states across the United States killed 94 people and injured 236, according to GVA data.

Just a day ago, nine young men were shot and wounded in a drive-by in Providence, Rhode Island, in the biggest mass shooting in recent history in the state capital.

In April, eight people were shot to death at a FedEx warehouse facility in Indianapolis, and a week before that six people, including two children, were killed in a mass shooting at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

In March, a shooting spree at several metro Atlanta spas left eight innocent people dead, including six Asian women.

Days later, on March 22, another mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store killed 10 people, including a police officer.

On March 31, four people including a child were killed and two wounded in a shooting at an office complex in Orange, California.

The sudden resurgence in gun violence comes as more people are reemerging from pandemic lockdowns, whereas violence in 2020 mostly migrated from public spaces into homes, according to Hart Brown, senior vice president of R3 Continuum, a crisis management firm that helps counsel clients in the aftermaths of about 800 shootings a year.

Greg Zanis devoted the last 25 years of his life to honoring the victims of mass shootings and natural disasters across America. The Illinois carpenter delivered about 27,000 of the handmade wooden memorials across the country. His crosses have become painfully familiar at the scenes of the worst national tragedies.

“The environment that was created by the pandemic, with the social distancing, the lockdown, and so forth and the compounding stressors is really what’s driving much of the violence that we’re seeing right now,” he told Reuters.

Demand for R3 Continuum’s services is up 15% to 20% this year, he says, with the gradual reopening of offices and the potential for violence in the workplace, Reuters reported.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 41% of U.S. adults reported having symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders in January, compared with 11% in the first half of 2019.

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