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Aurora Shooting has Chicago Businesses Insuring for the Worst

Following the mass shooting at Aurora’s Henry Pratt in Feburary, Chicagoland businesses are considering Active Shooter Insurance.

Active Shooter Insurance, which is primarily purchased by schools and public organizations, is in growing demand for businesses- and for good reason. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI), most recent report, from 2000- 2017, 42% of Active Shooter Incidents took place at businesses.

Chicagoland businesses are taking notice. After the tragedy at Henry Pratt last month, Claire Bushey of Crain’s Chicago Business, reports Chicago-based Insurance brokers, Aon and Arthur J. Gallagher had gotten more calls from businesses regarding Active Shooter Insurance. “There were certainly calls to find out, ‘Hey, do we have coverage for this?’ ” he says. “People don’t think about this until it becomes real.”- Robby Kunz, Arthur J. Gallagher

Why Active Shooter Insurance?

Many standard insurance policies were written before the surge in workplace gun-related violence. As a result,  coverage for gun violence or workplace violence-related incidents can sometimes fall into a gray area. This can become costly for businesses, especially  when their coverage  doesn’t include victim compensation. According to the Program Director of Active Shooter/Workplace Violence Insurance at McGowann Program Administrators,

“The ‘duty to defend’ clause in commercial general liability policies means victims have to sue an organization and win a lawsuit, even if the organization has good intentions and wants victims to be taken care of.”Paul Marshall, McGowan 

Consequently, more businesses are opting for the additional coverage of Active Shooter Insurance, not only to ensure proper coverage for their businesses and employees, but to avoid the potentially hefty litigation fees in the event that their liability insurance doesn’t properly compensate victims following an Active Shooter incident. Active Shooter Insurance can include coverage for: 

  • medical bills, victim cousenling, death expenses and funeral expenses
  • litigation 
  • property damage 
  • temporary loss of revenue 
  • damage to a company’s reputation, diminished productivity and decreased morale
  • loss of attraction 

Workplace Preparation Best Practices

Today’s businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to preventing and preparing for a potential active shooter. However, addressing these challenges promptly and effectively, could mean the difference between life and death. According to experts, the are the best practices for training employees on how to react in the event of an active shooter include: 


Companies can should first start by formulating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), that includes input from the Human Resources Department, Training Team and Management Team in addition to input from their property manager and local law enforcement agents. An effective EAP includes:

– An evacuation policy, procedure and escape route (including floor plans and safe areas)

– Roles and contact information for individuals listed in the EAP

-An Emergency notification system for to alerting local law enforcement, hospitals and employees in     remote areas of the facility


In addition to creating a plan of action, businesses should provide employees with hands-on training.  According to the Department of Homeland Security,”The most effective way of training your staff for an active shooter incident is to conduct mock active shooter training exercises.” To prepare for Active Shooter Training sessions, contact local law enforcement for help and for additional resources, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Active Shooter workshop modules here


Some key tips to keep in mind when preparing yourself and employees for an Active shooter.


Getting as far away from the shooter as possible should be your first priority. Escape to a safe nearby location or designated safe area, as outlined in your EPA, if possible. Leave any belongs behind and warn others your encounter of the threat. When you arrive to a somewhere safe,  call 911.

If you can’t escape quickly, HIDE

When escaping is not an option, hide. But this doesn’t mean you need to passively sit in on place, instead law enforcement and experts recommend an “active” approach to hiding, with a plan of escape when possible. Hide in areas that lock from the inside, have thick, or cinderblock walls and little to no windows. Designate the best areas ahead of time in your EPA. In the event that you can’t make it to one of these areas, use furniture or heavy objects to baracade doors shut. For outward opening doors, if there’s a hyradulic arm at the top

“you can tie a belt tightly around the v-shaped arm and door won’t open”- Rob Berryman, Safety consultant of the American Contractors Insurance Group.

As a last resort, FIGHT

If the shooter breaks into your hiding spot and conterring them is the only option, fight aggressively and if possible, in a group. Remain low but ready to run and grab nearby objects to use as improvised weapons and to throw them directly at the shooter’s face.

“I challenge people to go back to their desk and find five things that can defend themselves with. Staplers, scissors, coffee mugs, anything.” Berryman continues.

Although no individual or business could ever be expected to be fully prepared for the tragic and unpredictable nature of an active shooter situation, with the right preparation and training in place, businesses can potentially save lives or lessen the losses.

For more information and resources to help prepare your business for an active shooter, visit:

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