February 5, 2020 / 4:28 PM / 24 days ago

New York charges NRA over illegal insurance sales, deceiving members

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York regulator on Wednesday filed civil charges against the National Rifle Association, accusing the gun rights group of offering insurance without a license and concealing how it routinely kept some of its members’ premiums for itself.

The charges by New York’s Department of Financial Services followed the NRA’s May 2018 lawsuit accusing the regulator and Governor Andrew Cuomo of “blacklisting” the group by pressuring banks and insurers to stop doing business with it, and threatening its survival.

Spokespeople for the NRA had no immediate comment.

The regulator is seeking civil fines and other remedies, and scheduled an April 6 hearing at its office.

In its statement of charges, the regulator said the NRA violated New York insurance laws through its dealings since 2000 with insurance broker Lockton Cos, including the sale of more than 28,000 policies to members.

These policies included the NRA-branded “Carry Guard,” which the regulator said provided unlawful liability coverage to gun owners, including for “intentional” conduct and the cost of defending against criminal prosecutions.

Lockton was fined $7 million by the regulator over its involvement with Carry Guard in May 2018.

The NRA was also accused of misleading members by promising that coverage for gun collectors, dealers, instructors, clubs and shows was provided at the “lowest possible cost,” when in fact it typically kept between 13.7% and 21.9% of premiums paid.

According to the statement of charges, New Yorkers obtained 28,005 insurance policies through Lockton from 2000 to 2018, and the NRA received more than $1.8 million in royalties and fees from Lockton programs from 2000 to 2019.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio

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