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New York charges NRA with offering insurance without license, deceiving members

New York charges NRA with offering insurance without license, deceiving members
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New York’s Department of Financial Services on Wednesday filed civil charges against the National Rifle Association (NRA), claiming the gun rights organization offered insurance to members without a license to do so while pocketing some of their premiums.

The department will seek civil fines from the NRA at an April 6 hearing, citing its alleged connection for two decades to the Lockton Cos insurance broker, during which the group has received more than $1.8 million in associated royalties and fees in connection with the sale of 28,005 policies to New Yorkers, Reuters reported.

These policies include “Carry Guard,” intended to insure against unlawful liability for expenses such as criminal defense costs — and carrying NRA branding. The agency fined Lockton $7 million in May 2018 in connection with the Carry Guard policy.

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“It would be highly unusual for a state to allow an insurance company to reimburse for an illegal activity,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told CNN that August, saying the policy was also known as “murder insurance.’”

The agency also accused the NRA of misleadingly claiming to offer coverage at the "lowest possible cost" while keeping between 13.7 percent and 21.9 percent of premiums.

William Brewer, an attorney for the NRA, said the group has not sold, administered or underwritten insurance, but rather, that it, “like countless other affinity groups ... relied on insurance-industry experts to oversee and market products tailored for its members.”

“Today’s announcement is about politics, not protecting consumers,” Brewer said in a statement, according to the news service. “The NRA acted appropriately at all times.”

The charges come as the Empire State is also defending itself against a lawsuit from the NRA, which sued the regulator and Cuomo in May 2018 over accusations it “blacklisted” the organization and dissuaded banks and insurers from associating with it.

The Hill has reached out to the NRA for comment.