Monday, July 08, 2013


EMC Insurance is a firm that began a century ago as Employers Mutual Casualty Association of Iowa. Its products are sold in forty states and it claims to be one of the sixty largest insurance companies in America.

And now it thinks it can defy an interest group that does not like to be disrespected:
A new Kansas law allowing gun owners to carry weapons in public buildings, including schools, has thrust a major Des Moines-based insurer into the national gun control debate.

The EMC Insurance Cos. insures 85 percent to 90 percent of all Kansas school districts and has refused to renew coverage for schools that permit teachers and custodians to carry concealed firearms on their campuses under the new law, which took effect July 1. It's not a political decision, but a financial one based on the riskier climate it estimates would be created, the insurer said.

"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 Mick Lovell, EMC's vice president for business development. "Our guidelines have not recently changed." ...
For now, the Kansas schools seem stymied -- not by us "gun-grabbers," but by a well-established heartland corporation making a purely capitalist decision. However, that's probably not going to be the end of the story:
After the Kansas law passed in April, more than a dozen school administrators across the state were mulling a move to arm their staffs, according to David Shriver, who oversees insurance programs at the Kansas Association of School Boards. He stopped getting calls about it as soon as EMC made its policy clear, he said.

"If there’s no insurance available," he added, "it's difficult to do anything.” ...

For three Kansas community colleges, which were insured by EMC but decided to allow concealed carry on their campuses under the new law, the search for another insurance provider was easier than expected.

Dan Barwick, the president of Independence Community College, said his college and two others recently signed a joint insurance plan with another company at a rate that he expected would save the group about $2 million over the next decade. Advocates for arming teachers point to the colleges as evidence that some insurance providers are willing to stomach the risk, should K-12 schools in Kansas decide to shop around....
So a lot of institutions are going to switch from EMC -- and I suspect that that will happen even in parts of the country where the law hasn't changed. It's easy for me to imagine that the word is going out across Red America that EMC hates freedom and is working in cahoots with the Vast Anti-Gun Conspiracy. I think EMC is going to be looking at a lot of cancellations.

I've written about Reed Exhibitions, which decided not to display assault weapons at a gun show it ran in the immediate aftermath of Newtown; much of the gun community boycotted the show, and Reed eventually lost its contract to run the SHOT Show, the largest annual gun show in America. I've also written about Smith & Wesson, which was punished by the gun community for cooperating with the Clinton administration on gun control measures, and ultimately became a pariah within the community, until it was sold by its parent company for a fraction of what the company had paid for it. (After that, the reeducation process was deemed complete, and Smith & Wesson is in the gun community's good graces again.) The takeaway from all this is: Do not cross the gunners.

So I suspect EMC will be punished. Or maybe the states that want armed school administrators will just make it more or less impossible to sue if an employee with a gun harms your kid. As this gun blogger says:
One solution could be to remove the liability of schools for discharges of guns on their property if their armed employee has a concealed carry permit, as Wisconsin has done for private businesses.
Or there's the Texas approach, which is to generally make lawsuits difficult:
... in states like Texas, ... strong tort protections have made it easier for about 30 districts to arm their employees this year. Dubravka Romano, who oversees a cooperative that insures about half of the state’s 1,035 districts, said schools there were not charged extra for having guns on campus.
Victim-screwing or vindictiveness: must red-staters choose? I'm sure they'll go for both.


Victor said...

Amazing how many of us survived public and private schools in the decades before carrying guns was considered almost mandatory, eh Steve.

I think that if guns are allowed in schools, they should also be allowed in the state legislatures - and I don't mean the politicians or their staff members. I'm talkin' 'bout the public.

And the NRA should allow armed people to enter any of their offices and branches.

You know, lest anyone think you're hypocrite's, or something...

Dean Weingarten said...

Thank you for linking to the blog Gun Watch.

We disagree on policy, but your analysis is excellent. I seldom see such a good grasp of the facts about the gun culture from those who think citizen disarmament is good policy.

To Victor: More and more legislatures are allowing the public to be armed in their buildings.

Steve M. said...

Thank you. And thank you for acknowledging your subculture's complete unwillingness to tolerate disagreement.

Examinator said...
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Examinator said...

I now live in Aus and one thing I don't miss, is the utter idiocy of the Conservative fire arm debate(?).

Yes there are bad guys here but one thing the conservatives firearm nuts can't claim is that there has been a Maccas, movie theatre, school, University massacre. here i.e. some numb nut with a grudge or festering flesh in his belfry going 'postal. In fifty years there has been a total of 32 people killed in the 3 random events ! And 25 of those was in one incident 15+ years ago… and guess what? After which they slapped on strict controls on firearms.
Hunting (?) and range shooting is alive and well. I even read they have a few Olympic world champion shooters.

Notwithstanding insurance premiums for people here are less as a consequence.

What US 'whiplash' ( a consequence of rapid neck movements i.e. so paranoid as to always looking over their shoulders for ?? another sociopath with a firearm perhaps?) advocates don't realize is the way Actuarial rates and subsequent premiums are arrived at. To make the premiums marketing viable a large portion of the cost of the risk is amortised (spread) across ALL PREMIUMS. i.e. the increasing risk of a massacre or misadventure ( a weapon accidentally injuring anyone ) in a school INCREASES EVERYONE'S premiums regardless of what they're for.

For the simple minded, This it means their home/ vehicle/ boat insurance too! In effect those without weapons are subsidising those with them, increasing everyone's cost of living. . What's “user pays” or “freedom not to pay for someone else's obsession/pleasures” about that? . It's just “firearm welfare?” by another name!
Nothing in society happens in a vacuum.