Highlights from Reuters

New York Charges NRA for Allegedly Deceiving Members, Illegal Insurance Sales

On February 2, 2020, the NRA was charged by New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) with acting as an unlicensed insurance producer and deceiving its members with misleading marketing practices. 

These civil charges, first reported by Reuters, follow years of investigations into the NRA’s insurance program. In 2017, DFS began investigating the NRA after the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund conducted and shared an investigation into the NRA’s Carry Guard program, which promised to provide insurance coverage for legal and other costs for gun owners who shoot someone and claim self-defense. 

  • Everytown’s 2017 investigation found the following: “[i]t is… possible the NRA is improperly receiving commissions and/or excessive compensation in connection with this insurance product. For a one-year Bronze policy, the total annual charge is $154.95, with an ‘Administrative/Membership Fee’ that goes to the NRA of $69.45, or about 45 percent of the total annual charge. While that fee includes an annual NRA membership and some other minor perks, questions remain about whether the NRA is receiving an improper commission or excessive compensation.” 
  • Today’s DFS complaint mirrors that conclusion: “Despite representing to its members that the NRA insurance programs were negotiated in order to obtain coverage “at the lowest possible cost” to its members, it is clear that the NRA members could have negotiated less expensive coverage for its members but for the fact that a substantial portion of the premiums paid by NRA members — sometimes exceeding 20% — was being paid to the NRA in the form of royalties. Marketing materials relating to NRA-endorsed insurance programs wholly failed to disclose that the NRA was receiving royalties based on the amounts paid by its members.”