The National Rifle Association agreed Wednesday to pay a $2.5 million fine and halt its insurance business in New York to settle accusations that it violated the state’s insurance laws.
The deal resolves a three-year investigation by New York’s Department of Financial Services. State financial regulators claimed the gun-rights group offered insurance to its members without a license and withheld information on how it kept some premiums for its own financial gain.
According to the consent order, more than 28,000 NRA-endorsed policies were placed in New York, including the “Carry Guard” insurance program.
The Carry Guard program is coverage for losses and costs associated with the intentional use of a firearm, including defense costs in a criminal prosecution.
Under New York law, intentional acts with a firearm cannot be insured.
Between April 2017 and November 2017, about 680 Carry Guard policies were issued to New York residents.
Through its insurance offerings, the NRA reaped in more than $1.8 million in royalties and fees, ultimately keeping between 13.67% and 21.92% of premiums paid.
“The NRA operated as an unlicensed insurance producer and broke the New York Insurance Law by soliciting insurance products and receiving compensation,” DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell said in a statement.
“Even worse, the NRA violated the New York Insurance Law by soliciting dangerous and impermissible insurance products, including those within its Carry Guard program that purported to insure intentional acts and criminal defense costs,” the statement continued.
Gun-control groups praised the New York DFS for its probe into the NRA.
“Once considered untouchable, the NRA is finally being held accountable for its reckless actions,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Carry Guard was murder insurance, plain and simple, and we’re grateful to New York’s Department of Financial Services for acting on Everytown’s initial investigation, and holding the NRA accountable for this egregious attempt to fill its coffers at the expense of public safety.”
“Carry Guard encouraged its policyholders to shoot first and ask questions later, putting lives at risk and providing a false sense of legal and financial immunity,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “This outcome is an encouraging sign that regulators listened to the Moms Demand Action volunteers who filed complaints against Carry Guard in multiple states, and will hold the NRA accountable for their dangerous and unethical actions.”
The consent decree resolves a DFS investigation that began in February but is separate from a civil suit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James in August.
Ms. James is seeking to dissolve the NRA, claiming numerous violations of state law governing charities. Specifically, Ms. James alleged that the NRA diverted millions from its charitable mission to line executives’ own pockets.
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