Ranger security agency offers armed security guards in Houston, TX.

For companies that work with government organizations, power plants and other high-risk organizations, there are best practices for hiring and training security officers who use firearms. Insurers consider a number of factors, from the firm’s loss history to hiring procedures, pre-employment screenings, supervision, licensing and training. In a hard insurance market, differentiators such as training are even more critical.

Insurers prefer armed security guards who are former law enforcement officers. These individuals typically have extensive firearms training and experience. In lieu of retired police officers, it is best to only arm highly trained professionals with good records. An insurer will find out about pre-employment screening and expect a firm to have a system for criminal background checks, personal interviews and references.

Quality training is a key risk management tool, which will also help keep insurance rates low and quality insurance available. Basic training is important for any security officer. However, armed officers require far more than the basic training provided to those in observe and report roles; they need situational training for the industry they serve, training in proper use of force and, of course, firearms training. Insurers will expect armed security officers to be armed with the training above and beyond state standards. Our information shows security officers that undergo high-quality training have fewer accidents and handle incidents better.

The private security industry had been growing rapidly well before the Sandy Hook tragedy captured the attention of our country late last year. Since the beginning of the recession in 2007-08, local governments nationwide had been slashing budgets and shrinking police forces. As this trend continues, private security firms have been called on increasingly to fill the gap. Media attention after a mass shooting simply fuels this growth.

Both the central security officials and the private security firms with which they contract ought to think about cautiously the use of armed officials. Insurers and risk managers are continually gathering information and assessing risks, and they offer a viewpoint that should assume a significant part in these choices. There are benefits, but also risks and costs when arming security officers.

In the previous year, highly publicized mass shootings — particularly the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December — have made the call for armed security officer’s commonplace. To many, it appears to be sensible to battle fire with fire; that is, using armed officials to battle armed criminals and keep misfortunes from happening. 

Security heads and security official firms, thus, call their insurance agencies to find out how equipped officials will affect their insurance coverage. When insurers evaluate the use of armed officers, they regularly see hazards exceed the advantages for the normal organization or association – chances that fundamentally affect both the accessibility and cost of protection inclusion.

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