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NRA to pay fine, halt insurance sales in New York

NRA to pay fine, halt insurance sales in New York
© Bonnie Cash

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has agreed to halt insurance business in New York for five years and will pay a $2.5 million fine over charges related to that work.

New York’s Department of Financial Services announced the settlement Wednesday with the NRA, the nation’s top gun rights advocacy group after state Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued to break up the group over corruption claims this summer. 

The fine will settle charges that the group allegedly offered insurance to its members despite not having a license to do so and often withheld information on how it kept some premiums for its own benefit.

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The agreement resolved charges related to the NRA’s relationship with insurance broker Lockton Cos, which sold over 28,000 NRA-endorsed policies. Among the plans offered was the “Carry Guard” program, which state officials said illegally offered people coverage to assist with criminal defense expenses and the “intentional” use of firearms should they shoot their weapons.

Through its insurance offers, the NRA allegedly received over $1.8 million in associated royalties and fees and ultimately kept between 13.67 percent and 21.92 percent 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,” said Superintendent of Financial Services Linda 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," she added.

The initial civil suits filed by James in August said the NRA violated state law governing nonprofit organizations, specifically that the group and its top officials diverted millions of dollars away from its charitable mission and oversaw "a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight."