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Gun Owner Insurance Considerations and Commercial Liability Coverage

We don’t often think about insurance coverage until we need it. With the recent events and news coverage, here’s an update for Gun Owners and Business Owners alike.

AS A GUN OWNER:
Most homeowners’ policy covers many types of liability claims that can include gun-related accidents. “Accident,” here, is key. Under a traditional HO-3 form there is no specific gun-related exclusion. There is, however, an “Expected or intended injury” exclusion, which itself contains an exception for “use of reasonable force by an ‘insured’ to protect persons or property.” Therefore, under the HO policy some coverage:

  • would be available for the accidental firing of a gun (e.g. the gun discharging while the insured is cleaning it), and
  • may be available for certain self-defense situations, if the gun firing was deemed “use of reasonable force,” something that obviously is 1) fact-specific and 2) subject to interpretation.

Regarding the live, active shooting, such as the intentional firing of the gun in a public setting, during an active shooter event. The ability to argue self-defense or “use of reasonable force” depends on the circumstances: Was the insured defending from a home invasion? Was he in a public setting? Did the insured shoot an active shooter, shoot another person he confused for the shooter, or accidentally hit a bystander, etc.? Such situations may not be covered under your standard Home Owner policy, so check with your local Agent on coverage.

AS A BUSINESS, CHURCH, OR RETAIL:
In today’s modern world threats come from many sources. One of the most difficult to defend against is the incursion of an armed individual (or group of individuals) intent on inflicting harm. Unfortunately, due to the growing trend of annual Active Shooter incidents in the United States of America the term ‘Active Shooter’ reflects how mass gun and deadly weapon violence and is now embedded in the world around us.

The reasons are clear, public-accessible facilities by virtue of their business provide easy, open access and are therefore naturally very hard to secure. The daily, high volume transient movement of staff, students, customers and visitors increase the chances of an active shooter event occurring as anyone can gain unchallenged access at any time. When a facility operator gets things wrong the potential liability for a non-employee (third party) being harmed in such an active shooter event can be significant. Many Insurance Companies now exclude Active Shooter situations from their standard coverage.

Today, there are supplemental coverages in this regard. Therefore, additional, specific policies should be considered. When looking for coverage, consider: Limits of Liability, Clear Third-Party Coverage, Definitions (weapon, firearms, explosive devices, knives, medical instrument, and corrosive substances), Insurance support in assessing and reducing risk exposure, etc. Some organizations like schools. colleges, churches can qualify for umbrella coverage (one policy can cover multiple sites).

Bottom line: Do you know if you are protected? How Much? What terms?

Credit to: IA&B of Pennsylvania

For more information, contact:
Dale Rothenberger
Advocate Consulting
(610) 685-2804