NRA Accuses New York of Obstructing Its Suit Over Shutdown of Insurance Program

By | May 13, 2019

The National Rifle Association accused a New York regulator of obstructing efforts by the gun-rights group to obtain communications between the state and Lloyd’s of London, which last year stopped underwriting NRA-branded products that critics dubbed “murder insurance.”

The NRA said in a filing Thursday in federal court in Albany that the documents and testimony it is seeking would help show the New York State Department of Financial Services used “back-channel communications” to improperly pressure insurers to scrap their work with the organization.

In the filing, NRA lawyer William Brewer said Lloyd’s underwriting syndicates have already received notice of subpoenas from the gun-rights group “but refuse to comply until DFS formally transmits them.”

“The crux of this case involves allegations that the DFS (acting in concert with the other defendants) selectively wielded its powers to advance a political vendetta against the NRA,” the organization said. “Regrettably, that same conduct now infects discovery.”

DFS has said in court filings in the case that it isn’t authorized to accept third-party subpoenas. The regulator declined to comment on Friday.

Carry Guard

DFS said a probe found the NRA illegally marketed its 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 investigation resulted in insurer Chubb Ltd. and insurance broker Lockton Cos. halting their programs for NRA members and paying millions of dollars in fines.

The NRA sued the regulator and its former superintendent, Maria Vullo, in May 2018 for allegedly violating the group’s constitutional rights by pressuring the insurance companies. As part of the same case, New York is fighting to block the NRA’s court-approved deposition of Vullo. Neither Lloyd’s nor its syndicates are defendants in the NRA’s suit.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called the NRA’s lawsuit frivolous.

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