Active assailant attacks – carried out by an individual with the intent of killing or causing harm to a person or people – are becoming more frequent in many countries around the world. In the US, during 2019, there were more mash shootings than the days of the year. UK reported a 16% increase in knife-related incidents and a 2% increase in firearm incidents – a total of 46,639 events.

The above incidents occurred across various industry sectors with a variety of motivations; however an Active Assailant Attack policy does not need to distinguish the motivation, provided it is premeditated and has a malicious intent to kill or cause bodily injury to a person or group of persons.

Insured’s should consider the potential gaps in coverage on their General Liability and Property Damage and Business Interruption policies, caused by active assailants.

What is an active assailant?

An active assailant as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area”. An active assailant could be attacking with several different weapons including knives, bombs, firearms, and even cars in some cases. Essentially, the words ‘active assailant’ reflect any and all threats to a group of people.

Assailants are usually attacking areas with heavy flows of human traffic, such as commercial areas and public places. Schools and higher educational premises are near the top of most common location for an attack.

Active Assailant Attack insurance

Although a traditional terrorism policy covers Property Damage and Business Interruption following Property Damage, active assailant attacks causing civilian casualties are beyond cover. Let alone, a terrorism policy to be triggered, requires a motive either ideological, political, religious or along those lines. While an active assailant attack motive can be anyone’s guess.

Active Assailant Attack insurance goes beyond those restrictions and provides cover for Property Damage, Business Interruption, as well as for non-damage Business Interruption caused by denial of access or threat. It also covers companies who although haven’t been the target of an attack, they have still suffered loss of profits due to suspending operations because of the attack.  And finally, it covers the legal liability, the increased cost of doing business, or the loss of revenue due to reduced store traffic because of the attack, the costs of supporting and helping the victims of attacks, such as counseling, funeral, and medical costs.

Crisis management services can also be made available in terms of pre-incident training as well as crisis response. Crisis management professionals can be on call to provide immediate support and guidance should a crisis strikes.

Increased Accountability

Corporate management will come under intense scrutiny when an attack takes place and will be judged on the protection and procedures in place prior to an attack. This scrutiny will play out in real time and, more particularly, after the event. The interjection of politics and social media takes this scrutiny to a new, much broader dimension. Duty of care and best-practice have become larger anchors of measurement for the evaluation of preparedness and response.

As the take-up of Active Assailant Attack insurance increases, businesses that are judged not to have a plan in place may face the greatest criticism. It is our role as consultants to tailor solutions for our clients to address all of the above, and to work with insurers to continue to adapt to our clients’ needs.

Share This