New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- The National Rifle Association will pay the state of New York $2.5 million to settle a claim by that state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) that it violated the state’s insurance laws by “soliciting and marketing the sale of insurance products” under its Carry Guard program, according to ABC News.
Under terms of the settlement, NRA will not market insurance in the Empire State for the next five years.
The Times Herald-Record quoted a statement from DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell in which she said, “The NRA operated as an unlicensed insurance producer and broke the New York Insurance Law by soliciting insurance products and receiving compensation. 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.”
New York law does not allow insurance that covers intentional acts, which would include the act of self-defense.
The settlement does not get NRA out of trouble in New York, however.
The organization is still in the crosshairs of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who sued earlier this year to have the NRA dissolved. NRA was founded in New York State in 1871, making the association subject to New York state law.
According to The Guardian, the insurance lawsuit settlement “resolved charges over the NRA’s two-decade relationship with insurance broker Lockton Cos, including the sale of 28,015 policies to New Yorkers and the NRA’s receipt of more than $1.8m in associated royalties and fees.”
The NRA had endorsed “certain insurance products offered by Lockton Affinity” including the Carry Guard insurance. NRA received “substantial compensation” for endorsing these “insurance products,” the ABC story noted.
Carry Guard was launched in 2017 at a time when there was a growing interest in similar efforts. As recalled by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Associated Press, gun control advocates quickly labeled such programs as “murder insurance.”
There has always been considerable irony in this because among the demands of anti-gunners over the years was one specifically aimed at mandating insurance for gun owners. When programs such as Carry Guard were created, however, the gun prohibition lobby began howling.
While it did settle and will pay the fine, NRA did not admit wrongdoing, a fact noted by the Guardian’s coverage of the settlement. Also, NRA said it didn’t underwrite its insurance programs.
Lockton Affinity was reportedly fined $7 million as part of the same investigation.
The Star-Tribune referred to an email from William A. Brewer III, NRA’s attorney, which asserted, “The DFS inquiry, which began with a roar, ends with a whimper.” He said no NRA member money will be used to pay the settlement.
The consent order settling the case was signed a week ago, according to published reports, and only announced Wednesday.
The NRA has been under fire for the past couple of years, with allegations of spending improprieties and no small amount of intrigue beginning with the abrupt resignation of Lt. Col. Oliver North as association president as the annual members’ meeting and convention was about to open in Indianapolis in an apparent dispute with Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. At the time, there were allegations of an attempted “coup” effort to remove LaPierre, who has been at the NRA helm for more than two decades and remains there today.
The ongoing legal action by Attorney General James is detailed in the 164-page complaint, which may be read here. She began investigating NRA in February 2019, a move NRA members and supporters have called purely political.
In a prepared statement released in early August as she filed the lawsuit, James asserted, “The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets. The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”
Among the allegations spelled out in the complaint and James’ statement are that four current or past NRA officials named as defendants “failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the NRA and used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use, including trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel.”
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