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Old 07-18-2013, 06:52 AM   #1
Gun safety: Insurance companies may succeed where lawmakers failed

Insurance companies may be the best allies for gun control advocates pushing to restrict the spread of firearms in schools.

One Iowa-based insurance company says that from a business standpoint, concealed weapons on campus are simply too risky to insure.

EMC Insurance Companies announced it will not renew insurance policies or continue to cover any Kansas schools that allow teachers and other school staffers to carry concealed guns, according to a report in the Des Moines Register.

The company, which covers approximately 85-90% of all schools in Kansas, said it’s not a new or politically-based decision, but rather an longstanding rule buried in the fine print.

“We’ve been writing school business for almost 40 years, and one of the underwriting guidelines we follow for schools is that any on-site armed security should be provided by uniformed, qualified law enforcement officers,” Mick Lovell, EMC’s vice president for business development, told the Register. “Our guidelines have not recently changed.”

In a May letter to its agents, the company said they “respect” the choices each school district makes to protect the safety of kids using methods “they see fit.”

But that doesn’t translate to coverage, they say. “EMC has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk,” read the letter. “We are making the underwriting decision simply to protect the financial security of our company.”

Continental Western Group, a smaller insurance group based in Des Moines, and Wright Specialty Insurance, based in New York, have said they plan to follow suit.

The Kansas Association of School Boards has been advising districts to not allow firearms in schools.

In the wake of December’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the Kansas state legislature cleared a bill permitting school staffers to be armed. The law kicked into effect on July 1, but so far no schools have implemented the policy.

In response to the massacre, which left 20 kids and 6 adults dead, the National Rifle Associate recommended every school in America gear up with an armed officer.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 states introduced similar bills allowing teachers to carry guns on school premises at both public and private institutions.

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