For years, the Kansas City–based insurance broker, Lockton Cos., served as a broker for the “Carry Guard” insurance program offered by the NRA.
The program provided liability insurance to NRA members for firearm-related accidents as well as for legal costs in self-defense cases. In February, following the Parkland, Florida, shooting, activists singled out Lockton and tried to shame the company out of carrying so-called “murder insurance.”
As the Sentinel reported at the time, perhaps unfairly, “Lockton Affinity caved as quickly as a California hillside in a rainstorm, proving no more courageous in the process than Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson.”
Lockton was likely less worried about the anti-gun activists than it was the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) under Superintendent Maria T. Vullo and anti-gun enthusiast Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The DFS was in the process of suing Lockton over its relationship with the NRA. Under duress, Lockton agreed to a $7 million fine for alleged violations of New York insurance law even though the company had already cut its ties with the NRA.
“The charges against Lockton varied from the technical to the flimsy to the picayune,” writes insurance expert R.J. Lehmann in the National Review, “but they all give the appearance of pretext for what the department was actually seeking, and got: a consent decree in which the broker agrees ‘not to participate in the Carry Guard Program, any similar programs, or any other NRA-endorsed programs with regard to New York State.'”
Lehann notes the irony that this crackdown on insurance companies is occurring in New York while neighboring states like Connecticut are trying to pass law making it mandatory for gun owners to carry insurance. “As a result of the New York regulator’s action,” Lehmann writes, “one expects a chilling effect that would cause insurers to withdraw from offering even the more limited coverage included in the NRA program, or in many homeowners insurance policies.”
On May 11, the NRA filed suit against DFS, Vullo, and Cuomo, claiming they engaged in a “’campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats’ designed to coerce banks and insurance companies to withhold services from the NRA.”
In filing suit on First Amendment grounds, the NRA showed once again how dependent the Second Amendment is on the First, the First on the Second, and America on the NRA.