The National Rifle Association entered into a consent order with the New York State Department of Financial Services today. The Department of Financial Services had charged the NRA with violating New York insurance law with its CarryGuard program as well as with its affiliate insurance programs.
Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has entered into a consent order with the National Rifle Association (NRA). On February 5, 2020, DFS served a statement of charges and notice of hearing to the NRA over violations of New York Insurance Law. That case is now resolved by a consent order that includes a civil monetary penalty of $2.5 million for violations of New York insurance laws.
In addition, the NRA is banned from marketing insurance in the State or receiving compensation in connection with any newly issued New York insurance policies for five years, irrespective of whether the NRA obtains a license. This brings to a close a three-year investigation.
In the consent order, DFS found that, despite lacking a license to conduct insurance business in New York, the NRA violated various New York insurance laws and regulations by, among other things, acting as an insurance producer without a license in participating in efforts to solicit and market the sale of insurance products, including the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program.
“The NRA operated as an unlicensed insurance producer and broke the New York Insurance Law by soliciting insurance products and receiving compensation,” said Superintendent Lacewell. “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 Department will continue to protect the integrity of the insurance market for the purposes of safety and soundness and the good of all consumers.”
The CarryGuard program was rushed into the market under the management of former Executive Director of General Operations and former Chief of Staff Josh Powell. As I understand it, his predecessor Kyle Weaver, then Director of General Operations, was building the program out step by step which wasn’t fast enough for the powers that be. The thought behind the program was that the NRA had helped get shall-issue concealed carry introduced in many states. However, they saw groups like USCCA offering legal defense programs which the NRA saw as making money off their hard work and they wanted in on it.
Then, Powell replaced Weaver and rushed the product to market with big fanfare at the NRA Annual Meeting in Atlanta. That rush has now cost the NRA $2.5 million it can ill afford to spend.
In a story from Reuters on this consent order, NRA outside counsel William Brewer III tries to put a positive spin on it.
The NRA has said it did not underwrite its insurance programs, and that like “countless” affinity groups it relied on industry experts to market products to members.. It did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
William Brewer, a lawyer for the NRA, said in a statement: “The DFS inquiry, which began with a roar, ends with a whimper.” He said the settlement has no effect on other litigation pending between New York state and the NRA.
That story also has this from Superintendent Lacewell regarding the other insurance offered through the NRA.
She also accused the NRA of misleading gun collectors, dealers, instructors, clubs and shows by promising coverage at the “lowest possible cost,” when the group typically kept between 13.7% and 21.9% of premiums paid.