Protecting Your Business from Liability When Hiring Off-Duty Officers

There is always the possibility that a security incident will occur and, during the course of that incident, cause damage to persons or property at your business. This is, in fact, part of the reason you bring in off-duty officers: to help manage security threats.

However, in the event of such an incident, who is held liable for damages that may occur? 

Don’t make assumptions when it comes to insurance 

To start, many law enforcement agencies require a business to have insurance in order to allow their officers to work off-duty at any establishment. As a business owner, you likely already have an insurance policy in place, but with off-duty officers, the liability can get a little muddy. It’s easy to assume their agency or city policy would cover damages in an incident. While they are employees of their law enforcement agency, the officers are typically working for your business as a private contractor, meaning the city or agency won’t necessarily be responsible for any damages that occur. 

This means an incident could affect your insurance policy unless you’re hiring officers through a trusted provider of off-duty security.

Finding a security provider with insurance

When you outsource security through a provider, it’s important to make sure they have an insurance policy in place to cover injury and damages.

General liability insurance protects a business from any claims in the event of an on-premise incident. This includes business assets as well as medical costs of persons injured in an incident and legal fees in the case of a resulting lawsuit. 

Be wary of Security-based policies

One thing to keep in mind when hiring a security provider is the type of policy they hold. Most providers that staff police officers carry security-based policies, meaning the coverage is limited to when an officer is acting in a security-only capacity. Once an incident escalates to the point where the officer is using their authority as an officer, the insurance may no longer cover injury or damages from the incident and the agency or city’s policy would be used.

However, whether or not a city or agency’s insurance policy even covers off-duty work is a gray area, at best. If an officer is working off-duty as a private contractor, they may not be on city payroll, therefore that insurance policy may not cover the incident. In this case, the claim would then go to the insurance policy of the business owner.

That’s why Summit’s general liability policy provides three tiers of complete broad coverage, including coverage of up to $1 million per party with an additional $10 million umbrella policy. Summit’s blanket coverage extends to third parties, like businesses and LEAs, and stays intact even after the officer transitions from working in a security aspect to upholding the law with their authority as a police officer.

What about workers’ compensation?

Since the off-duty officer isn’t an employee of your business, you are not required to provide workers’ compensation to them. Workers’ compensation for the officers, however, does provide benefits to the business because it protects them from punitive damages. For more information on workers’ compensation through Summit, ask your representative about available options.

What’s better than making sure your business, assets and officers are covered in the event of an off-duty incident?

Not having to worry about it with Summit Off Duty Services. Contact us to learn more.