Last month, TFB reported about the New Jersey Governor’s executive order which would restrict some companies that offer firearms insurance under certain provisions. The order also limits the state from doing business with companies that don’t have “public safety principles” and related policies. The executive order directed the state’s Commissioner of Banking and Insurance to prohibit or limit the sale of products that may “encourage the improper use of firearms.” Law Enforcement Today reported that companies such as U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) and the National Rifle Association’s Carry Guard programs are considered violations of the executive order.
Section 6 of Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 83 is part of the cause of the trouble for concealed carriers that wish to be covered by insurance should they have to use a firearm to defend themselves.
6. The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, within 30 days,
is instructed to take all appropriate action within her authority to
prohibit and/or limit the sale, procurement, marketing or
distribution of insurance products that may serve to encourage the
improper use of firearms.
The executive order seems to be only one piece of the puzzle. In regards to the NRA-sponsored Carry Guard program, there seems to be a few more laws involved than just the new executive order. Lockton Affinity LLC actually agreed to pay a $1 million fine for violations of statutes that already existed and the agreement was made about five days prior to Governor Murphy’s order. New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance issued a press release explaining some of the laws that were already in place to lead to the large fine.
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.
It seems the primary violation, in this case, stems from Lockton Affinity “permitting” the NRA to promote the Carry Guard program. Since the NRA isn’t a licensed insurance provider, they were not allowed to promote the program within the state of New Jersey as explained below from the same press release.
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.
Jumping ahead to early October 2019, a few days prior to the 30-day deadline set by Governor Murphy’s executive order, the USCCA was reported to have ceased its coverage to its members in New Jersey. The quotation below is from the USCCA as found on Newjersey.concealedcarry.com. The boldened sections are added emphasis on my part.
On Sept 10, the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, signed an executive order directing New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance to prohibit or limit the sale of insurance products that encourage the improper use of firearms.
Now, USCCA membership isn’t insurance, and you and I both know our membership does not encourage the improper use of firearms but it appears the State of New Jersey may not agree with us. As such, we have received a notice of inquiry from the state of New Jersey about our membership program.
To ensure our long term ability to provide membership to as many responsibly armed Americans as possible, we are suspending selling new memberships and renewing existing memberships in New Jersey as we work our way through this state inquiry.
In the case of the USCCA, part of their woes in New Jersey could stem from them naming their members as “beneficiaries” of the coverage they provide. You can read more about what the USCCA offers HERE. Below are some of the legal protection resources that New Jersey USCCA members will be missing out on during their battle with the state of New Jersey.
- Sleep better at night knowing you have access to up to $2,250,000 in protection for use of ALL legal weapons.
- Enjoy peace of mind knowing your Critical Response Team is just one call away 24/7/365 to walk you through the aftermath of a self-defense incident.
- Have the freedom to choose your own criminal defense attorney or simply choose one that specializes in firearms and self-defense case law from the USCCA Attorney Network.
For the time being, there doesn’t seem to be any information about any challenges to the state’s existing laws or the Governor’s executive order. It’s not immediately clear whether Lockton Affinity will continue to sell the NRA’s Carry Guard program, or how the NRA will continue or discontinue to promote the program themselves. The Department of Banking and Insurance declared that it was continuing to investigate firearms related insurance companies to look for any other violations of state law.
What do you think of the state of affairs for firearms insurance in New Jersey? For any TFB readers in New Jersey, will you be affected by the recent events involving firearm insurance?