Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance: Providing Value Before, During and After a Violence Event

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Q: Who is CrisisRisk

A: CrisisRisk™ is the crisis response firm attached to the Preferred Deadly Weapon
Protection Insurance policy. A strategic risk, crisis, and consequence management firm,
CrisisRisk provides support to deadly weapon insureds before, during and after a deadly
weapon event. Founded by individuals who spent their careers in law, insurance, and
crisis management, CrisisRisk offers a unique lens through which to view your Violence
Protection Program. Its principals have handled hundreds of crises, including some of
this nation’s most catastrophic deadly weapon events.

Q: What Services will members who place their Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance coverage with Preferred receive?

A: Members receive both risk management and crisis response services. Preferred insureds are given access to risk management tools and educational materials to assess and enhance your violence protection program, Deadly Weapon Protection webinars on topical issues, and a resource Portal that houses sample policies, a security assessment, mini-trainings and copies of webinars. Within the Portal is an ‘Ask the Expert’ feature that gives you direct access to CrisisRisk for questions you have about your Violence Protection Program. CrisisRisk also provides 24 x 7 response services in the event a threat is made, a concern arises as to a circumstance that could lead to violence, or a violence event occurs.

Q: How prevalent are deadly weapon events?

A: Over the decades, there have been high profile shootings that have garnered the public’s attention. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Aurora Movie Theater. Las Vegas MGM, to name a few. While the media and the public often focus on mass shootings due to their sensational nature, there are deadly weapon events that occur every day in US businesses, schools, governmental organizations, houses of worship and mass gathering venues. Let’s look at some statistics:

 

  • There are roughly 65,000 gun-related incidents each year. That’s one incident every ten minutes.
  • On average, there is more than one mass shooting per day in the United States, which is defined by the FBI has a shooting involving 4 or more victims. In 2020 there was a 50 % increase over the highest prior year!
  • Every year there are over two million reported incidents of workplace violence and a similar number of reported incidents of bullying in our schools. Many more go unreported, with numbers estimated to be as high as another 40 %.

Q: How often should an organization conduct a risk assessment related to the threat of violence?

A: Every organization should perform an annual risk and vulnerability assessment to identify internal and external exposures, known and emerging threats, and vulnerabilities that exist that can prevent your organization from optimally responding if the threat of violence materializes. The risk landscape is constantly changing. Just a few years ago we never knew about drones or that they would be weaponized. Has your risk assessment factored in drones? Vehicles are another example. In 2016 we saw a cargo truck deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the promenade in Nice, France. A vehicle can become a weapon and may need to be factored into your planning. The workplace environment also changed dramatically in 2020. Covid-19. Social Justice. Political polarization. How have these factors impacted your workforce, your customers, and your risk to violence? You need to find out.

Q: What are the critical components of a Violence Protection Program that we should have in place?

A: A ‘best practices’ Violence Prevention Program will address:

  • Program Framework (Policies, Plans, Procedures, Training, Risk Assessment)
  • Security Controls (Access Controls, Alarms, Surveillance)  • Critical Incident Response Training (Evacuation, Lockdown, Lockout)
  • People, Policies, Procedures (Hiring Practices, Visitors, Weapons, Harassment and Bullying) 
  • Behavioral Risk (Awareness Training, Anonymous Reporting Capabilities)

 

In February, the CrisisRisk Threat of Violence Survey was sent to all members who placed their Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance with Preferred. The Survey will help you determine how your current Violence Prevention Program aligns with best practices and learn about strategies to mature your program

Q: Which organizations are vulnerable to the threat of violence?

A: Violence is ubiquitous. Every organization is vulnerable to certain types of violence and should prepare to mitigate the exposure. For example, the perpetrators of targeted violence are typically current or former employees who have a grievance with a supervisor, manager, or co-worker or customers of a service provider they aren’t satisfied with. Many attackers of targeted violence will exhibit behavioral warning signs prior to committing the violent act. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death of women in the workplace and is perpetrated by someone whose spouse or domestic partner is working in your organization. Again- there are typically warning signs before domestic violence spills over into your workplace. Your employees need to know what they are. There are additional types of violence your organization may be vulnerable to, depending on services it performs. For example, violence perpetrated in conjunction with criminal behavior, such as theft or robbery. The environments most at risk are those who exchange cash, store drugs, have late operating hours or employees working alone. There is also ideological workplace violence, which is perpetrated by extremists who justify their violent actions based on their ideological, political, or religious beliefs. They target organizations they believe have transgressed their ideology. Ranging from white supremacists to environmental, animal rights and pro-choice extremists, they will destroy property or harm people in the name of what they are trying to protect.

Q: What type of training do our employees need to have to be prepared for the threat of violence?

A: Employees should be trained on what to do before, during and after a violence event.

Before: Perpetrators of violence often exhibit behavioral warning signs or broadcast their intent to commit a violent act. In fact, 80 % will leak or broadcast their intent to at least one person, and 60 % to two or more people, before a targeted deadly weapon event. These signs, if recognized, afford an opportunity for prevention. Employees are the eyes and ears of an organization and if they are trained to recognize behaviors of concern and report them, violence may be prevented.

During: Recognizing that every act of violence can’t be prevented, it is important to receive Critical Incident Response Training to know what to do and how to respond if a deadly weapon is brought into your facility. Most employees are trained on how to evacuate if there is a fire. A response to an armed intruder is completely different and also requires drills and practice. Lockdown is the response protocol to use when a threatening individual is inside your facility. In a ‘lockdown’ one can respond in three ways—evacuating–getting out; if not possible, protecting yourself in a room or location until help arrives; and finally, and only as a last resort, engaging with the assailant to try and stop them. Many organizations use the term ‘shelter in place’ instead of “Lockdown.” We recommend reserving ‘shelter in place’ for nonhuman threats such as weather events or an environmental exposure that is outside. In a Lockdown, evacuation may be one of your options, and from a response perspective, it is the opposite of ‘shelter in place.’ There is no roadmap as to which response to choose, as it will depend on where you are in relation to the assailant and how much time you think you have to take action. Critical incident response training helps to build muscle memory which kicks in when one is in a threatening situation and physiological reactions prevent seeing, hearing, and thinking optimally.

After: After a violence event occurs, there are many decisions to make, actions to take and words to say in order to protect people, brand, reputation, and more. Leadership needs to be trained on crisis and consequence management. The crisis itself lasts only hours or days. The consequences can last forever.

Q: What do we do if we suspect an employee may pose a threat?

A: The Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance Policy includes an endorsement called ‘Circumstance’. If you are dealing with a threatening individual or someone who exhibits behavioral warning signs that appear to be related to violence, contact CrisisRisk 24 x 7 on the number provided on the first page of your Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance policy for assistance. We will help you assess the threat level and determine next steps to be taken to mitigate the outcome. If you believe the threat is imminent, call 9-1-1 before calling CrisisRisk.

Q: If we experience a deadly weapon event, what type of help will we receive from CrisisRisk?

A: Organizations experiencing an event which impacts critical assets— people, brand and reputation— require immediate crisis response services, 24 x 7. How the first minutes and hours are managed will determine whether your organization is defined by what occurred. Critical decisions must be made. Victims and other stakeholders need to be identified, their needs must be evaluated and supported, messaging needs to be crafted, and media needs to be managed. This must occur rapidly to ensure critical assets are protected. Depending on what occurred, addition services may be needed such as intelligence monitoring, legal, investigation and security enhancement. If a violence event has occurred, CrisisRisk is there to help, 24 x 7.

Q: Who should be informed in your organization that a Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance policy is in place?

A: At a minimum, all site managers, HR professionals, security personnel, and others who would be contacted about a behavioral circumstance, threat of violence, or violence event. In the event of a circumstance, or an actual violence event, minutes count. Every location that is insured under the Deadly Weapon Protection Insurance policy should be provided with the 24 x 7 # to reach CrisisRisk.

Suzanne R. Loughlin
Co-Founder, General Counsel, CrisisRisk Strategies, LLC

Suzy has extensive consultative experience in crisis management and crisis communications on behalf of clients ranging from the world’s largest global companies to educational institutions and governmental entities. Suzy’s hands-on crisis management experience, combined with her training and practice in legal exposures, enables her to provide critical decision support to clients in urgent crisis events. Suzy is co-author of the book Disaster Ready People for A Disaster Ready America.