The National Rifle Association has agreed to stop soliciting insurance without a license in California, and has made significant changes to its website and member communication materials to address allegations made in a cease and desist (C&D) order issued in 2018 by the California Department of Insurance (DOI).
“The NRA’s agreement to not sell insurance coverage affirms they will no longer violate California law by soliciting and negotiating insurance without a license,” the DOI’s commissioner, Ricardo Lara, said in a statement. “Our laws are in place to protect consumers by ensuring that anyone offering insurance contracts has proper oversight by the Department of Insurance.”
The DOI issued the C&D order in September 2018, in response to a consumer inquiry and subsequent department investigation. The DOI said that its investigation revealed that the NRA was transacting or selling insurance without a license or certificate of authority issued by the insurance commissioner, which violated the California Insurance Code.
According to the evidence cited in the department’s C&D order, the NRA was soliciting sales of Carry Guard, a personal firearms liability insurance product providing coverage for bodily injury or property damage resulting from the legal use of a firearm in self-defense. The NRA sponsored Carry Guard, and received a fee for the use of the NRA’s name and trademarks from the licensed broker responsible for selling the policy.
The NRA used e-mail marketing, featuring spokesperson Dana Loesch and the NRA’s chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, to promote the product, explaining coverage details and articulating why the email target should buy the insurance coverage.
In one 2017 marketing e-mail, Mr. LaPierre asked the recipient to “sign up for NRA Carry Guard today!” and urged readers to “close this critical gap in your insurance coverage today, and I look forward to hearing that you’ve secured this important protection for you and your family.”
The DOI asserted that because the NRA never held a valid insurance license, the NRA’s marketing practices and messages were clear violations of California Insurance Code Section 1631, as cited in the DOI’s C&D order.
Under the stipulation and waiver, the NRA noted substantial changes made to the Carry Guard website as well as direct mail and e-mail materials to ensure compliance with the California Insurance Code and DOI requirements. The stipulation and waiver further noted that, other than a banner advertisement from a licensed broker indicating the availability of insurance coverage, which redirects consumers to the broker’s website, the NRA site would contain only information regarding the non-insurance benefits of the Carry Guard program.