New York regulators have fined 10 insurance companies a total of $5 million for underwriting the National Rifle Association’s troubled self-defense insurance programs in violation of state law, The Trace has learned.
The fines were part of a consent agreement that New York’s Department of Financial Services imposed today on insurance companies that did business with the NRA through the Lloyd’s of London insurance market. It is the third such agreement that DFS has reached this year with insurers who underwrite or sell NRA-branded policies: In May, the brokerage Lockton Affinity and underwriter Chubb were hit with $7 million and $1.3 million fines, respectively.
DFS began investigating the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program, which provides reimbursement for legal expenses and other costs associated with shooting people in self-defense, shortly after the gun-group began marketing it in 2017. Critics branded it “murder insurance.” The investigation grew to encompass all NRA-branded insurance products.
In the agreement, the 10 companies acknowledge that they “unlawfully provided insurance coverage” for “defense coverage in a criminal proceeding that is not permitted by law” and for actions that go “beyond the use of reasonable force.” All told, the agreement says, the NRA sold more than 24,000 such policies in New York since 2000, and processed 401 total claims.
The agreement bans the insurers from issuing policies in New York that cover liability from self-defense shootings or from future underwriting of any NRA-branded policies. The companies will also have to cancel existing policies and refund premiums paid by New York residents. DFS declined to comment for this story.
The 10 underwriters are a collection of largely unknown insurers that connected with the NRA via Lloyd’s of London, one of the largest international insurance markets in the world. Last May, Lloyd’s told underwriters in its market to terminate any NRA-associated insurance. Lloyd’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The NRA is fighting related consent agreements involving Chubb and Lockton in federal court, claiming that the DFS investigation is part of a politically motivated enforcement campaign that violates its First Amendment rights. The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Insurance regulators in California, Washington State, and New Jersey have begun investigating whether Carry Guard broke the law in those states.
Correction: The original version of this story wrongly stated that the insurers who entered into the consent agreement underwrote the NRA’s Carry Guard self-defense insurance. It has been corrected to reflect the fact that the companies underwrote a variety of other related NRA-branded self-defense insurance programs, but not Carry Guard.