Our security team carries handguns, so do we need to purchase additional insurance?

This is a very common question asked during an initial security assessment, especially by churches and private schools. The short answer is yes. Churches, private schools and businesses that allow both volunteer and paid security teams to carry weapons need additional insurance coverage. What you really want are the answers to these questions: 1. What’s the process? and 2. How much will it cost? In this article you’ll understand the why and how of purchasing insurance for your armed security teams.

Why do you need additional coverage? Well, if you’ve started using armed security and you didn’t notify your insurance company, there’s a good chance your current policy doesn’t cover the associated risks…especially if your mission is to protect a church. The truth is, there’s a lot risk involved when people carry weapons, and your insurance provider needs to know that an armed individual/team is now on-site every Sunday.

Here’s some of the questions that your insurance provider will ask:

  1. How many security officers are armed?
  2. How many security officers are unarmed?
  3. How many hours a week are they working/volunteering while armed?
  4. Are you paying them and how much?
  5. Are the volunteers or employees that are armed licensed to carry the weapons?
  6. Do you have a written procedure that addresses the following?

    • Use of force
    • Use of deadly force
    • Alternatives to the use of force
    • Use of intermediate weapons (i.e., batons, pepper spray, tasers, etc.)
    • Training requirements

What helps your team and your organization when you need to purchase additional coverage? Standards-policies, training, and documentation. Take a look at the questions above and figure out how an insurance provider determines your risk. If you don’t have a standard for your armed team (i.e., background investigations, training requirements, procedures, etc.) it creates or enhances risk. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to maintain the same skill level with firearms, it just means that everyone who’s armed should successfully complete the standard level of training and inquiry. 

What if the quote you receive from the insurance provider is too high? As with all insurance, you can shop around for other providers. Alternatively, your team can be trained to protect in ways that don’t require guns. Remember, guns do not prevent or deter violence; guns are a tool of response. More often than not the gun mitigates the consequence of a violent act.

If an armed person gets inside your facility to commit a violent act, having a capable, armed response is a good thing. However, your main security strategy should be focused on detecting and delaying a violent intruder before there’s an issue. Prevention is always the best way to mitigate risk.

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