The Guns in Schools Issue Goes Beyond Safety

Kansas enacted legislation allowing teachers to carry guns at work. Few schools have implemented that plan. Why? Because their insurance companies won't provide coverage.

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.”

Besides the fact that insurance companies don't feel guns in school create a feeling of safety but find the presence of guns to be a threat; And overlooking the fact that the Secret Service does not feel the President and Vice President are 'safer' when everyone in the room has a gun; And despite the fact that insurers don't want bouncers at nightclubs to be armed; Besides all that, we are still talking about putting guns into NC's schools. But is that practical? Insurance companies seem to feel there is little real evidence, one way or the other, to support decision making regarding guns in schools.

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....

The Washington Post reports (emphasis mine):

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.

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.

“I don’t think insurance companies are notorious anti-gun liberals,” said Mark Tallman, associate executive director for the Kansas Association of School Boards, “so we think they’ve got good reasons for not doing it.”

In North Carolina, coverage for this kind of 'risk' is a business decision to be made by the insurance company unless NCGA enacts legislation making it mandated coverage. An example of mandated coverage is the 'wind pool' set up in the 1960s, to cover coastal properties as insurance companies decided not to offer coverage for storm damages. The 'wind pool' was a market of last resort. Would NC schools need this kind of legislation again if teachers are to carry guns in class?

The Post's coverage concludes:

Tallman, with the school board association in Kansas, said ...most school boards are not interested in arming teachers. It’s an idea being pushed by politicians, not educators.

After the Parkland shooting, Republican Kansas state Rep. Blake Carpenter joined a small group of legislators convinced that the insurance industry was standing in the way of a popular idea. Carpenter said insurance concerns were being used “as an excuse, a scapegoat.” But their bill to force coverage failed. EMC Insurance, based in Des Moines, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Ken Trump, a school safety expert, said insurance companies can sometimes be too conservative in assessing risks, but he agreed with the industry’s reluctance to support the move toward armed teachers.

“It may be well intended,” Trump said, “but it is not well thought out.”

This is not just a political matter, but a practical, business issue. At the very least, NCGA should hear from insurance carriers BEFORE they enact any legislation regarding teachers carrying guns. Let's think this through, North Carolina. Before we act.

You can read the Post's entire articler here.