(Reuters) – The cost of buying insurance coverage against mass shootings has increased by more than 10% in the United States this year after a series of fatalities, the insurance companies said.
The country has witnessed 293 mass shootings so far this year, according to a report from the Gun Violence Archive, which defines them as any incident involving the shooting of four or more people in addition to the attacker. It can be compared with 309 during the same period last year but is sharply up from 240 2020.
Demand for such insurance has increased since the recent shootings, including the murder of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last month, the worst school shooting in the United States in nearly a decade.
Active shooting insurance usually covers crime victim processes, building repairs, legal fees, medical expenses and trauma counseling.
“The number of inquiries we have received in recent weeks has definitely increased … We have not been as busy as this ever before,”; said Chris Parker, head of political violence and lethal weapons protection at Lloyd’s of London insurance company Beazley.
Mr Parker said the insurance company had seen a 25% increase in revenue so far this year for its lethal weapons policy, with a 30% to 35% increase in inquiries and a 10% to 15% increase in prices, driven by the rising the number and severity of weapons attacks.
He said customers now bought insurance to cover themselves for $ 5 million to $ 10 million in losses, compared to $ 1 million to $ 3 million four years ago.
Policyholders can usually pay tens of thousands of dollars for $ 1 million in coverage. Beazley’s customers include schools, municipalities, places of worship, bars and restaurants.
Other buyers include organizers of events such as marathons, rodeos, cattle shows, concerts, Fourth of July parties and Pride marches. Beazley is one of the largest players in the area along with other insurance companies from Lloyd’s of London, sources say.
There has been an increase in violent attacks on hospitals and health care institutions as families of people who lost their lives in the pandemic are looking for someone to blame, the insurance companies said.
Inflation is also seen as a driving force for violent acts when the cost of living rises.
Chris Kirby, head of political violence coverage at the insurance company Optio, said that demand for insurance is usually increasing after major attacks.
“This was the case after 9/11 and was the same after the riots and violent civilian disruptions that have taken place in recent years in the United States, and we are seeing the same increase in demand for the recent influx of mass shootings,” he said.
Church Mutual, a leading insurer for religious organizations in the United States, said they had seen a 10% to 15% increase in requests for armed intruders and mass shootings and an increase in requests for services.
Church Mutual has seen more demand for its “Pull for Police unit”, which allows a customer to pull a tab, triggering a signal to police that there is an armed intruder.
Church Mutual’s customers also include food banks and childcare centers.
The price for an active shooting insurance varies depending on location, security protocols and the gun laws in the state of residence, say the insurance companies.
Insurance companies are already charging schools, healthcare institutions and shops more for coverage, and prices are generally 5% to 10% higher than last year, says Tarique Nageer, CEO of terrorism and political violence, at insurance broker Marsh.