Product Fundamentals: Active Assailant Insurance

What is Active Assailant Insurance?

Active assailant insurance is a specialised form of insurance designed to provide financial protection and bodily injury coverage for individuals and businesses in the event of an active assailant incident.

An active assailant event is defined as a malicious physical attack performed by either an armed individual or a group. The weapon used in such events can vary widely, from knives and guns to explosive devices, vehicles used as ramming devices, or altered handheld weapons.

This policy is designed to help victims and organisations impacted by these events by covering victim support services, crisis response services, legal liabilities and business interruption.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) notes an increase in issue-motivated extremism. The threat of violent attacks in the community is highlighted by approximately 400 high-priority counterterrorism investigations managed by ASIO since 2016.

Who should consider the coverage?

Places of worship, education and healthcare institutions, banks, and businesses accessible to the general public are considered at higher risk.

Businesses with heavy foot-traffic, such as shopping centers, restaurants, and hospitality venues, are also vulnerable.

What does it cover?
Damage to property

Active assailant insurance policies provide coverage for the financial impact of property damage, enabling businesses to repair and replace property assets and contents.

Business interruption

As a result of an assailant attack, business can be interrupted for an extended period of time, meaning a potential loss of income for those affected. Policies compensate businesses for income loss, including property damage and rent. Organisations may be denied access to their worksites by government bodies or law enforcement authorities, both scenarios are covered by active assailant insurance. Finally, loss of attraction is covered under policies, whereby business is lost due to an incident nearby, as is any business interruption that resulted from a threat of attack.

Victim compensation and support

Victims are the most important focus of most active assailant insurance policies. There are many coverage options for victims, including employee and third-party compensation if someone is injured, coverage of medical expenses and psychiatric treatment. Funeral costs of casualties may also be covered, as well as provisions for victims who need to retrain due to injury, or relocate as a result of the incident.

Incident response and crisis management services

Armed assailant incidents can drastically affect the business, making it difficult to trade following the event. Policies may therefore provide crisis management, with the help of expert crisis consultants and incident response teams which are available 24/7.

Legal liabilities

Active assailant insurance covers the legal liability of bodily injury and damage to property as a result of an attack.

Difference between Active Assailant Insurance and Terrorism and Sabotage Insurance
Terrorism and Sabotage:
  • Protects company’s assets/income in event of terrorism attack – an attack committed for political, religious, ideological or similar reasons.

  • Traditional policies focus on property damage and business interruption cover.

  • There is a narrow scope for what will trigger the policy, but it allows for deeper protection, i.e. narrower but deeper coverage.

Active Assailant:
  • Offers cover for malicious incidents not designated as acts of terror.

  • An active assailant is considered any person who committed a premeditated physical attack with the intention of killing or causing bodily harm, including attacks using handheld weapons, explosive devices, acid or vehicles.

  • Primarily focuses on victims, incident response costs and potential legal liabilities.

  • Policy is much broader but offers more limited cover for property damage and business interruption i.e. wider but shallower coverage.

Claims scenarios
  • The serial stabbing event at a prolific shopping centre in NSW which caused significant personal injuries and death attenuating the heinous actions of a lone knife-wielding assailant. This event highlights potential protections available in the product for incident response costs and third-party liability claims as well as potential coverage for property damage to the shopping centre and its associated business interruption.

  • Likewise, a grandmother was stabbed and killed in a shopping centre in Queensland by two teenage boys. This event similarly would likely attract the same first and third-party coverages afforded under the active assailant insurance product.

For further information on Active Assailant insurance, please reach out to an advisor via the form below.

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