Lockton Affinity LLC has agreed to pay a $1 million fine as part of a consent order with The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance for administering a National Rifle Association-sponsored insurance program in violation of state insurance laws.
An investigation by the department found that Kansas-based Lockton Affinity violated various state laws and regulations in administering the Carry Guard insurance program in New Jersey on behalf of the NRA.
The department found that Lockton Affinity, a licensed insurance producer that contracted with the NRA, permitted the NRA to directly market and solicit for the Carry Guard insurance program in New Jersey. The Carry Guard program was advertised as providing personal firearms liability insurance, including self-defense insurance for those who lawfully carry firearms and their families, including protection against civil liability, the cost to defend against civil and criminal legal actions and immediate access to attorney referrals. It is a violation of state regulation for a licensed insurance producer to permit or allow any unlicensed person to transact the business of an insurance producer in the state.
“The marketing and solicitation of a product that encourages firearms use, as carried out by the NRA and permitted by Lockton Affinity, in contravention of state laws is a serious violation,” said Marlene Caride, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance commissioner, in a department press release. “As regulators, we have a responsibility to ensure that companies that profit from having guns on the streets are not conducting business in our state in violation of the law.”
While Lockton Affinity is licensed by the department as a nonresident insurance producer with various lines of authority including surplus lines, the NRA is not licensed as an insurance producer in New Jersey.
The department’s investigation found that the Carry Guard website maintained and hosted by the NRA and emails sent by the NRA were solicitations of insurance by an entity not licensed as an insurance producer in New Jersey.
The Carry Guard self-defense insurance program included benefits for health insurance. State law prohibits surplus lines insurers from writing health insurance. Further, Lockton Affinity did not execute a separate agreement with the New Jersey Carry Guard certificate holders for the administrative fee retained by Lockton Affinity, as is required by state law.
“Entities regulated by the department are expected to fully comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the state and will be held accountable if they fail to do so,” Caride added in the release. “Lockton Affinity accepted responsibility in this matter and will take the necessary steps to ensure that unlicensed entities are not able to solicit insurance products in the state.”
In addition to paying the fine, Lockton Affinity must take necessary steps to prevent any future solicitation of insurance by unlicensed persons or entities for insurance products for which Lockton Affinity is the producer.
The department is continuing to investigate other firearm-related insurance programs for potential violations of state insurance laws.
Source: New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
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