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Washington state investigates NRA gun insurance plan

Washington state is taking aim at an NRA-branded insurance program that critics claim insures criminal conduct.

The NRA advertises Carry Guard Insurance a video message to gun owners, “We prepare for so much that leads up to pulling the trigger. Are you prepared for what happens after?” a spokeswoman says.

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Offered online, insurance coverage levels range from $250,000 to $1.5 million. Prices range from $155 to $360 a year.

But insurance regulators in New York state concluded the insurance plan covers “intentional wrongdoing.”

“On the insurance that they are selling I don’t think there is any question that that is illegal and violative of public policy,” said New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Carry Guard Insurance is also sold here in Washington.

“It makes me nervous that you could wind up with a policy that effectively winds up covering somebody who has committed a criminal act. Now I don’t know that to be true,” said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

The Carry Guard policy document says it will cover civil lawsuits for acts of self-defense and will even cover criminal defense costs.

But Kreidler says providing insurance for criminal acts is illegal in our state. And the insurance would pay for lawyers before the courts have had their final say on a claim of self-defense.

“We want to make sure that it’s a noncriminal activity that’s going to wind up being covered. Not one where the individual winds up in court, then it’s determined that you’ve committed a criminal act as a part of self-defense.

The NRA profits from insurance sales, and accuses New York and other states of trying to starve it financially.

But that’s not happening in Washington state said Kreidler.

“No I’m looking at this as consumer protection. I don’t want anybody buying a policy that’s not going to deliver, not going to be able to deliver on their promises,” he said.

By Essex Porter, KIRO 7

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