Iowa Insurers Torn Over Kansas Bill that Allows Teachers to Carry Guns

| by Dabney Bailey
article imagearticle image

Kansas citizens are not the only people affected by a new law that allows gun owners to carry weapons into public buildings, including schools. A major Iowa-based insurer has unexpectedly found itself in the middle of the gun debate thanks to the new law.

The EMC Insurance Cos. currently insure somewhere between 85 to 90 percent of all Kansas school districts. That sizable number might drop dramatically once the current contract expires. EMC has warned school districts they will not insure schools that allow teachers and custodians to carry weapons on school premises under the new law. EMC is not trying to be political – they are simply backing out of a risky bet.

"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," said Mike Lovell, the company’s vice president for business development. "Our guidelines have not recently changed."

Many gun-control advocates argue that armed safety should be left to the trained professionals, but EMC undoubtedly has an ulterior motive for supporting this position. EMC will not be liable if the police make a mistake and shoot the wrong person, but if an insured teacher makes a mistake with a firearm, then the massive insurance company could be responsible for covering hefty fees.

So far, no Kansas schools have adopted firearm carry policies following the new law. The threat of their insurance provider withdrawing might be enough to force some pro-gun school officials to think twice.

Some gun-rights advocates argue that allowing guns in schools creates a less risky environment because it will reduce the odds of a Newtown-like shooting event. EMC and other insurance companies disagree.

"It's one thing to have a trained peace officer with a gun in school; it's a completely different situation when you have a custodian or a teacher with a gun," said Bob Skow, chief executive officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. "That changes the risk of insuring a school and magnifies it considerably."

Do you think that these insurance companies are making the right move, or do you feel that withdrawing protection of a school protected by armed teachers is a bad idea? 

Source: USA Today