The National Rifle Association is suing Lockton Cos., alleging the insurance broker breached its contract with the firearms lobbying group. Lockton administered the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program, which was advertised as the nation’s “most complete self-defense membership program.”
Following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which sparked a backlash against the NRA and companies with which it conducts business, Lockton said it would discontinue its NRA-endorsed insurance programs. Carry Guard was criticized by gun control advocates as “murder insurance.”
Last week, Lockton was fined $7 million for unlawfully providing liability coverage to gun owners in the event they were charged with a crime involving their firearms, according to the New York Department of Financial Services.
The NRA suit, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges the New York investigation was “orchestrated” by the gun control organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Lockton and the NRA received subpoenas related to the investigation in October of last year. Everytown for Gun Safety did not respond to a request for comment.
“In the face of this politically motivated coercion, Lockton should have honored its fiduciary obligations and longstanding business relationship with the NRA and taken full responsibility for any compliance related concerns,” the complaint stated, referring to the New York investigation. “Simply put, Lockton ceased to protect the NRA and its interests.”
The suit also alleges that Lockton secretly communicated with insurance underwriters, which went on to end relationships with the NRA. Lockton’s actions, as alleged by the NRA, cost the Second Amendment group “tens of millions of dollars in damages.”
Lockton said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, and the New York Department of Financial Services declined to comment.
“The NRA will take appropriate steps to make sure law-abiding gun owners in New York and across the country have access to the insurance coverage they need,” William A. Brewer III, who is representing the NRA in this litigation, told Bloomberg News. “Such actions unduly burden the free market system and impact law-abiding members of the NRA.”
(Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is a donor to groups that support gun control, including Everytown for Gun Safety.)