Sunday, May 27, 2018

Insurance Companies Say "No" to Arming Teachers

In the wake of school mass shootings, the NRA - a front organization for gun manufacturers - and its political prostitutes within the Republican Party insanely say the solution is more guns.  Indeed, they propose arming teachers and school staff embers, most of whom want nothing to do with the idiotic proposal. Nonetheless, Republicans in a number of states have passed laws allowing the arming of teachers; however, they are hitting a roadblock: insurance carriers who are refusing to offer insurance coverage -  something we need to see start happening to gun owners in the home insurance realm as intimated in a prior post.  As is their norm insurance carriers typically eagerly accept premium payments, but want to minimize as much as possible the risk that they might actually have to pay out on claims.  The analysis of these companies is that more guns in schools is a very bad idea.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at insurance carrier's refusal in most cases to issue policies to school districts arming teachers and staff.  Here are highlights:
Kansas has a problem: It has a law allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom, but almost no schools are using it because insurance companies refuse to provide coverage if they do. As EMC Insurance, the largest insurer of schools in Kansas, explained in a letter to its agents, the company “has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.”
Then came the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, leading frustrated Republican legislators in Kansas to try forcing the issue with a bill banning “unfair, discriminatory” rates for schools that arm staff. The insurance industry held firm. Last month, the bill failed.
As proposals to arm teachers sweep across the nation, insurance companies are being forced to weigh the risks of these controversial plans. Some insurers are balking. Some are agreeing to provide policies but lamenting the lack of evidence about whether it makes schools safer — or increases the chances of people getting shot. Others are raising rates.  The reaction of insurance companies is notable because they are supposed to evaluate dangers through the dry eye of actuarial science, largely avoiding the heated emotions of the nation’s gun debate, in which one side condemns guns and the other side claims, as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) did last week, that the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.  Insurance companies are not so certain, worried more guns in schools might not only fail to stop mass shootings but lead to more accidents. The epidemic of mass shootings in schools and other public venues has put new pressure on the insurance industry to take a stand. They face huge potential liabilities from these tragedies. The 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where a gunman fatally shot 58 people, could cost insurers more than $1 billion, including potential lawsuits and covering lost business income from the incident and its fallout, according to the International Risk Management Institute. Adding trained police officers to schools is generally viewed favorably, industry officials say. But giving guns to school janitors or history teachers — even with some training — raises concerns. More guns make insurers nervous in other situations, too, said Scott Kennedy, president of CCIG, an insurance company in Colorado. He pointed to the common preference among insurers that nightclub bouncers remain unarmed, while off-duty police officers working security are usually allowed to carry firearms. Joe Carter, a vice president of United Educators, which specializes in insuring schools, said he frequently hears from insurance executives at industry events worried about whether they will be asked to cover armed teachers and school staff.  “I don’t know anyone out there who is ready to offer liability coverage for schools when they’re arming their teachers,” Carter said.
Kansas passed its law arming teachers in 2013, after the mass shooting the previous year in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That immediately led EMC Insurance to announce it would rather exit the school insurance market than cover armed teachers and staff. Republican lawmakers were upset but couldn’t find another insurer willing to take on the policies.

Let's hope this common sense spreads to the residential insurance market and to homeowners having to discard their guns or lose insurance mandated by their mortgage companies.  With luck, it could also lead to landlords to ban guns in their rental properties. 

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