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NRA Says New York Probe Goes Beyond So-Called ‘Murder Insurance’

Erik Larson

(Bloomberg) -- New York’s financial regulator is probing another company that the National Rifle Association says offers insurance products to its members, potentially bolstering a claim by the gun rights group that the state is unfairly going after its corporate affiliates.

AGIA Affinity, a broker and marketer of insurance products for groups with more than 30 million members, is being investigated by New York’s Department of Financial Services, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The probe focuses on AGIA’s health, accident and life insurance products, regardless of the group they’re tied to, the person said.

The NRA disclosed the AGIA matter in a Nov. 25 court filing seeking permission to amend a lawsuit the gun rights group filed last year against the regulator. The NRA called it another “selective-enforcement action” and further evidence that the state is violating its constitutional rights by pressuring insurers to scrap NRA-branded products. The NRA’s filing said AGIA offers health and life insurance to its members.

Read the NRA’s filing here

“AGIA is not the subject of any enforcement action by DFS,” AGIA attorney Rena Andoh said in an email. “Instead, DFS has issued an information request to AGIA, which we are in the process of responding to.”

The state has been probing NRA-branded insurance products since at least last year. The investigation has already led to insurer Chubb Ltd. and broker Lockton Cos. halting their programs for NRA members and paying millions of dollars in fines over a product that critics called “murder insurance.” Lloyd’s of London last year stopped underwriting NRA products.

The NRA claims those actions were a result of selective enforcement of New York law spearheaded by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The NRA believes the Department of Financial Services took selective-enforcement action against another insurer, AGIA, in the form of a subpoena, simply because of AGIA’s affiliation with the NRA,” William A. Brewer, a lawyer for the group, said in an emailed statement. “If true, these facts are disturbing and warrant an amendment of the NRA’s complaint.”

Read More: NRA Suffers Setback as Claim Over ‘Murder Insurance’ Is Tossed

A judge earlier this year tossed out the NRA’s selective-enforcement claim but said the organization could refile it if it found more evidence.

“DFS’s hostilities against AGIA are squarely relevant to the NRA’s re-pleading,” NRA attorney John Canoni said in the letter.

Andoh, AGIA’s lawyer, disputed the nature of the company’s relationship with the NRA, saying in an email that “AGIA has not served as either an insurer or an underwriter” for any NRA programs. She didn’t respond to later requests for comment about the precise nature of the services it provides to the NRA. One NRA website lists AGIA as an approved service provider.

In the Chubb matter, DFS said it found in an investigation that the NRA had illegally marketed an insurance product, called Carry Guard, in New York without having a license to do so. Carry Guard policies covered bodily injury or property damages that result from the legal use of a firearm.

The case is National Rifle Association of America v. Cuomo, 18-cv-566, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York (Albany).

(Updates with comment from AGIA’s lawyer. An earlier version of this story corrected the headline to clarify the role of ‘murder insurance’ in the case.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Peter Jeffrey

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