GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Clay County School district’s board approved an estimated $1,634,490 to cover its property/casualty/active assailant insurance policies, an increase of $287,305 or 21% over the previous year. Specifically cited among the district’s reasons for the cost increase is the rise in “active assailant premiums.”
According to the school district’s insurance broker, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., some of the reasons for the increased costs include increased litigation, more plaintiff-friendly judgments, increased storm activity, and pandemic losses.
In the approved insurance policy, the district is covered for up to $1 million per claim with a $10,000 deductible.
The policy will be through the Virginia-based insurance company Markel.
Among other area school districts, some are covered for shooting attacks, but not in a specific line item.
“We don’t have a policy that solely covers active assailants, but if something were to happen, there would be covered under our Special Contingency Risk/Terrorism policies to help recovery from the traumatic event (i.e. counseling, extra security, transportation, etc.), said St. Johns County School District spokesperson Christina Upchurch.
The board says there are several reasons for the price hike, including inflation and increasing property values.
But liability experts say more and more active shooter attacks are being recorded, and that’s affecting premiums.
Raymond Reddin is a partner at Hall Booth Smith, a firm that checks on insurance liability for a wide range of clientele, including school districts. Part of his firm’s job is letting places know how legally exposed they are to casualty events, like an active shooter.
“You know, 10 to 15 years ago, this would be unsought, but the crazy world we live in has dictated we’re now — this is something that every business entity, every school, hospital, hotel, you name it needs to think about. They need to think about getting the insurance and they need to think about having a security assessment done at their facility,” Reddin said.
According to the FBI, these shootings most often happen at places of business, representing nearly 44% of recorded attacks. Roughly one in five happen in schools or colleges, about 13% are in open spaces, just over 9% happen at government buildings, health care facilities and places of worships. Private residences make up the balance.