ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Several Tampa Bay school districts are considering joining a growing number of others across the country that have active shooter insurance.
Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco and Sarasota schools have not ruled out active shooter insurance, which would cover them in the unlikely event of such an incident.
“These shootings are very rare, but they’re extremely volatile,” said Paul Marshall of McGowan Program Administrators. “There’s a great amount of pain and suffering and financial loss, and that’s typically why people purchase insurance.”
Here's where each district stands:
- Sarasota County is looking to establish its own police force. "We will be looking at all insurance and compliance needs for the 2018-19 year and beyond, including active shooter insurance as needed," the district said.
- Pasco and Hillsborough counties have not purchased the additional insurance, but also haven't ruled it out.
Pinellas County is reviewing information regarding active shooter insurance policies.
Polk County: "The District has evaluated coverages and is recommending additional insurance for Disaster Management for the 18/19 school year as well as reducing the excess liability retention to reduce the exposure to third party liability. This recommendation will be proposed on the next Board Meeting scheduled for June 19, 2018."
- Manatee County is not considering it at this time, but said that could change later.
Active shooter insurance is relatively new, said Marshall, whose employer is one of the largest providers in the country. Since 2016, many businesses, churches and school districts, including Palm Beach County and others in Florida, have purchased it, he said.
The coverage includes a wide range of options, including:
- The school’s initial response to a shooting, from paying survivors’ medical bills to victims’ funeral services.
- Liability in the event of a lawsuit following the shooting.
- Demolition of a building where the shooting occurred and construction of a new one.
Because active shooter insurance is so new, it’s constantly evolving to include different levels of coverage.
Plans with McGowan Program Administrators can range from $1 million to $100 million. A district of 200,000 students, roughly the size of the Hillsborough County School District, would cost $100,000 per year, McGowan estimated.
“If the tragic event does occur at their school, then they’ll have a response plan,” Marshall said. “Similar to a hurricane hitting South Florida, the insurance carriers are there to help put the community back together as best as possible.”