While scores of companies have severed ties with the National Rifle Association since a high school massacre in Florida, Kansas City insurance company Lockton Cos. is staying quiet about whether it will stick with an NRA-branded insurance policy.
Lockton Affinity, a division of Kansas City-based Lockton Cos., is the administrator for NRA Carry Guard, a liability policy that promotes itself as “self-defense insurance.”
Insurance administrators issue policies — process applications, handle payments and claims — on behalf of insurance underwriters.
Promotional materials for NRA Carry Guard say the policy offers coverage for civil and criminal legal defense, bail, psychological support and clean up costs associated with “the use of a legally possessed firearm — including an act of self-defense.”
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Critics call NRA Carry Guard “murder insurance.” That includes Guns Down America, an anti-NRA advocacy organization that has been pressuring companies, including Lockton, to disassociate from the NRA.
The Star asked Lockton about its association with the NRA. Lockton, which has its headquarters on the Country Club Plaza, was not available for comment.
The NRA has become a magnet for criticism, as it often does following mass shooting events, since its response to the Feb. 14 killing of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The NRA has resisted most calls for gun control since the shooting, blaming instead inadequate mental health programs and “the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement,” which reportedly did not sufficiently follow up on leads for weeks about the behavior of gunman Nikolas Cruz.
Many of the corporate partnerships with the NRA involved discounts and special programs for the approximately 5 million NRA members.
United Airlines on Feb. 24 said it was notifying the NRA that it would stop offering discounted ticket rates for NRA members to travel to its annual meeting. Delta Airlines made a similar announcement.
MetLife Insurance said it would end discounts on premiums for NRA members purchasing home and auto policies.
“We value all our customers but decided to end our discount program with the NRA,” MetLife said on Friday.
The NRA criticized those companies, calling it a decision to “punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”
“In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve,” the NRA said in a statement on Saturday.
Chubb, an insurance company that had been an underwriter for the NRA Carry Guard policies, has said it will stop participating with the product.
Insurance Journal, a trade publication, said Chubb made the decision to halt its underwriting three months ago, long before the Florida shooting.
Calls to the NRA Carry Guard consumer line indicate that it’s still an active insurance policy. The NRA did not immediately respond to a comment about which insurers now underwrite the policy. A website for NRA Carry Guard still indicates that Illinois Union Insurance Company, a division of Chubb, is the coverage provider.
NRA Carry Guard premiums cost $13.95 to $49.95 a month, with coverage ranging from $250,000 to $1.5 million.
Ben Schmitt, a personal injury attorney in Kansas City, said standard umbrella homeowners’ insurance policies can provide coverage for a shooting incident in circumstances where the shooting was unintentional or accidental. An accidental mishandling of a firearm is an example, he said.
Schmitt said insurance companies typically won’t cover “intentional acts.”
“Ordinary insurance policies that respond to intentional conduct are void as to public policy,” Schmitt said. “Why? We don’t want people to feel free to run around punching people in the nose or shooting people. There has to be a consequence to that.”
NRA Carry Guard describes itself as insurance for those who use guns in self-defense. Its promotional materials acknowledge that homeowners’ policies may not cover instances of self-defense.
“Although you may legally use your firearm in self-defense, many homeowners’ policies have limitations or exclusions related to intentional acts, such as self-defense,” the NRA Carry Guard website says.