Friday, October 23, 2020

NY regulators probing NRA for illegal gun insurance kickbacks

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The New York Department of Financial Services is investigating the National Rifle Association for its role in offering now-banned insurance products for gun owners in the state — and earning at least $14 million in the process, The Post has learned.

The investigation, which hasn’t been previously reported, is an outgrowth of consent agreements last year with insurance companies, ending the sale of NRA-branded Carry Guard insurance, and other similar products, in New York, sources said.

Carry Guard insurance provided gun owners as much as $150,000 for their legal bills if they were arrested for a shooting and claimed it was done in self-defense. New York state prohibits insurance that protects potential criminal activity.

The program also gave as much as $1 million to cover the insured’s civil liability for injuries or damage “that was beyond the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property,” according to a consent agreement with an underwriter last year.

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The NRA, which isn’t licensed to sell or market insurance in New York, received at least $14 million in payments for helping to sell Carry Guard and other similar products from 2000 to 2008, according to the 2018 consent agreement, which it was not party to. That means the DFS could also go after them for receiving kickbacks for selling insurance, which is not allowed, sources said.

Related: Ex-New York senator and son convicted of extortion, bribery

Investigators are also probing the lobbying organization for its role in providing a free, one-year membership to the NRA for buyers, according to sources familiar with the probe. It’s illegal in New York to offer incentives over $25 for insurance products.

The probe is ongoing and the regulators and NRA are not in settlement talks, according to sources.

In May 2018, the DFS settled with the Chubb subsidiary Illinois Union Insurance Company, as well as underwriter Lockton Affinity, for more than $8 million in offering Carry Guard-like products.

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The investigation comes as the NRA, a nonprofit chartered in New York, is reeling from a self-dealing scandal that has led to the ouster of president Oliver North and has put pressure on CEO Wayne LaPierre to resign.

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