Cleveland company pioneers insurance for active shooter situations

Published: Mar. 26, 2018 at 8:56 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2018 at 4:00 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "Active Shooter Insurance" is a very descriptive title and it conjures up ghastly images, but the goals of the insurance are a lot loftier than they may sound.

The goal is to help families, who after shootings, are left with astronomical medical bills, funerals, and years of litigation.

They also hope to avoid prolonged litigation, and begin healing sooner, according to Paul Marshall of Cleveland's McGowan and Company, a leader in putting coverage plans together.

"It answers the question of who's taking care of the victims," Marshall says.

Marshall added that traditional liability coverage a district carries many times doesn't cover catastrophic shootings, and if it does, it requires districts not to discuss details with victims.

This approach is far different, according to Marshall.

"Our program allows the organization, university or school system to reach out and try to start healing the community day one and gives them the financial resources to do that which can be pretty expensive," Marshall says.

Coverage can cover injuries, hospitalization, funeral costs, clean-up costs, and even demolition of a school and rebuilding a new one to erase scars of the turmoil. With more than 1,000 policies issued the company is also learning new areas coverage may be needed. In many cases coverage never imagined, like one coverage suggested by a client, on how to protect schools if a drone fixed with an explosive device flies over a Friday night football game.

That coverage is now added to policies, as has coverage for study abroad.

Costs can be large or small. For example, a small charter school would pay about $1,500 a year. An added bonus is that as more people buy the coverage, the risk is spread out and costs are coming down. The goal is to have a more conversational and less confrontational recovery, using far less litigation.

"Any way we can get the families and community on our side because the school system is the victim as well," Marshall said.

Having monetary help available more quickly can defuse the adversarial tone of litigation, and lawsuits are expensive and typically leave no one completely satisfied.

The company coaches clients on how to avoid trouble by suggesting adding tip lines and monitoring social media.  It is a sign of the times, and no one imagined cyber liability insurance years ago, now most every business has it.

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