Insurance Company Refuses to Insure Schools with Armed Employees

Monday, June 24, 2013
State Sen. Forrest Knox

Love them or hate them, insurance companies sometimes play the socially useful role of telling the emperor he has no clothes. Such is the case today in Kansas, where the insurance company that provides liability coverage to most of the state’s public school districts announced that it would drop coverage for any district that allows its teachers or other employees to carry guns on campus.


The insurer, EMC Insurance Companies (2012 revenues: $511.8 million) of Des Moines, Iowa, explained that its decision was economic, not political. EMC vice president Bernie Zalaznik of Wichita acknowledged “that school districts have every right to decide which way they want to go,” but that ECM had to act “based on what we perceive to be our best financial interest.”


The issue arose because, at the urging of the National Rifle Association, Kansas passed a law earlier this year allowing school district employees to carry concealed weapons on public school campuses. The sponsor of that legislation, Sen. Forrest Knox (R-Altoona), reacted to the EMC news with the claim that “There are alternative insurers,” and that “the markets are going to take care of this.”


But EMC is not only part of the market for school insurance in Kansas, it’s a leader, insuring about 90% of Kansas’s 286 school districts. That EMC fears unsustainable liability so much amounts to a non-ideological, dollars-and-cents way of saying that EMC believes concealed carry at schools will lead to tragic shootings and deaths—and that EMC does not want to pay out on them.


Given that insurance companies are in the business of evaluating and assessing risk, and that two other firms— Wright Specialty Insurance and Continental Western Group—are rumored to have followed suit, it seems that Sen. Knox may be correct and “the markets are going to take care of this”—just not the way he’d like.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

No School Insurance for Teachers with Guns (by Celia Llopis-Jepsen, Topeka Capitol-Journal)

Senator Reacts to Conceal-Carry Anxiety (by Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capitol-Journal)


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