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Active Assailant Case Study: Risk-managing and saving lives in mass shooting events

Active Assailant Case Study: Risk-managing and saving lives in mass shooting events

July 5, 2024

The active assailant insurance market is just a few years old but growing significantly in response to the increased number of mass shootings, predominantly in the United States.

Chaucer’s new partnership with Gabriel, a technology company tackling mass shootings and workplace violence threats, and crisis management specialists Merrill Herzog, aims to improve outcomes from active assailant incidents by preventive risk management and early detection, live two-way communication for insureds, and real-time security team response.

How bad is the problem?
In 2023, there were 655 mass shooting incidents in the US1 in which four or more people were killed or injured. Whilst this number is lower than the decade high of 689 in 2021, it is an 8% increase on 2020, which itself was a 47% increase on 2019, and around 200 more than any other year in that decade.

Although the statistics are muddied by varying definitions of mass shootings, and suicides, gun violence in the United States has increased since the outbreak of the pandemic. Reasons attributed to this include the impact of pandemic restrictions and a difficult economy sparking a cost-of-living crisis, political turmoil and a mental health crisis.

Can events be prevented?
Whilst careful risk management and security controls including metal detectors, CCTV, weapons detection systems and automatic door locks can help lower the risk or the damage from an event, they rely on employees utilizing all methods available to them, and good communication across site.

Notable mass shooting examples in recent years including the event in Uvalde, Texas in 2022, was a particularly damaging event because locks and security measures did not work, were not used, or were used by the shooter for their own purposes.

90% of mass shooters, however, have told people ahead of time that they are intending to carry out an attack or indicated violent intent. These verbal warnings are often combined with other signs that someone may be more likely to carry out an attack, which can include extreme depression, sharing extreme hate online or admiration for earlier attacks (copycat fantasies) and having experienced or carried out abuse.

Awareness of these sorts of issues and providing training or mental health care can help reduce the likelihood or prevent a mass shooting event entirely. Seven of the last ten school shootings, for example, were prevented because somebody took action upon noticing these warning signs.

What coverage is available currently?
Active Assailant products have existed for several years, but most provide after-the-event response only; coverage for property damage and liability to others, among other expense coverages which will respond to restore a...

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