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3 ways companies are responding to active shooter threats

Do existing insurance policies provide sufficient coverage against third-party lawsuits following active shooter incidents?

The most common question that many real estate and hospitality risk managers are asking is whether their existing insurance provides sufficient coverage against third-party lawsuits following active shooter incidents on their properties. (Photo: iStock)
The most common question that many real estate and hospitality risk managers are asking is whether their existing insurance provides sufficient coverage against third-party lawsuits following active shooter incidents on their properties. (Photo: iStock)

The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas last October has driven large-scale changes to hotel, gaming, and entertainment organizations’ risk management approaches.

Related: Staying safe: Mitigating active shooter risks

As these industries glean lessons and seek opportunities for risk improvement following Las Vegas and other recent active shooter incidents, here are three major trends we’re observing:

1. More insurance coverage


The most common question that many real estate and hospitality risk managers are asking is whether their existing insurance provides sufficient coverage against third-party lawsuits following active shooter incidents on their properties.

During recent renewals, the vast majority of these organizations purchased more general liability limits than they have historically, with an average increase of 20% to 30% compared to the prior year. 

2. Revamped security policies and procedures


Greater emphasis has been placed on training all staff — from housekeeping and engineering to valets and front desk personnel — to be better prepared for an active shooter event. Employees are now told to remain vigilant and on the lookout for suspicious activity; the message is “If you see something, say something — no matter how trivial.” 

Specific training has focused on the types of luggage that guests may carry; for example, discerning between a golf bag and a gun bag. To address high turnover rates, hospitality organizations are working to conduct this training frequently and consistently. 

In addition:

  • Hotel policy on “do not disturb” and “occupied” signs is changing. In the past, it was acceptable for a room to remain unchecked for several days if such a sign were on the door. That’s no longer the case.
  • Police and security presence in the front and back of many hotels has increased. And many hotels will likely consider greater use of cameras throughout their properties.
  • Many businesses are reviewing their existing active shooter response plans. And those organizations that do not have such plans are creating them.

3. New physical security procedures


Some larger convention hotels will likely consider introducing more intensive bag checks and screening of guests and non-guests. But there’s a balance to be struck: Rather than requiring all visitors to be searched and wanded when they enter, similar to security measures seen at airports and concert and sporting venues, many hotels and casinos would prefer that security be visible but not intrusive to the guest experience.

It’s impossible to fully eliminate the potential active shooter threats. But considering these trends — including optimizing your insurance coverage — can help you better protect employees and guests. 

Related: 3 ways to improve your active shooter preparedness and response capabilities

Christian Ryan, the U.S. Gaming Practice Leader for real estate, gaming, and hospitality insurance broker, MarshThis article first appeared on Marsh.com and is reprinted here with permission. Visit the Marsh Risk in Context blog for the original post.

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