October 21, 2019
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has fined United States Concealed Carry Association, Inc., (USCCA) for violating Washington state laws by selling unauthorized insurance that illegally covers defense costs for criminal shootings.
“We made two things very clear to USCCA,” Kreidler said. “Insurers must be authorized to sell in our state, and policies can’t cover illegal activity. These law violations are fixable, if the company wishes to do business in Washington state.”
USCCA agreed to pay a $100,000 fine and $5,457 in unpaid premium taxes, penalties and interest and to continue not selling the insurance in Washington state. Fines assessed by Kreidler are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for state services.
USCCA sold insurance to 1,675 Washington state consumers from Dec. 1, 2018 through Jan. 30, 2019, collecting $241,000. USCCA has paid no claims in Washington state.
USCCA bundled the insurance product, called a protection plan, with membership in its association. The protection plan provides payments for criminal defense costs if a member is charged with a crime related to the intentional use of a firearm or other weapon. Washington state law doesn’t allow a person to buy insurance for their own intentional criminal activity.
Additionally, USCCA was illegally acting as an insurer. Insurance companies must be authorized to sell policies in Washington state, and their policies must be reviewed and approved by Kreidler’s office.
USCCA voluntarily stopped selling membership and the protection plan in Washington on Jan. 30, 2019.
The protection plan says it excludes coverage for “criminal acts” and only covers “acts of self-defense.” However, the policies had no mechanism to make sure that payments made to policyholders who were later convicted of a crime were repaid to the insurer.
USCCA could sell insurance legally in Washington by changing its policies to not insure criminal activity, and either becoming a registered insurer or by placing insurance business through surplus lines brokers.
In January 2019, Kreidler fined one insurer and one insurance agency $177,000 for selling 811 similar illegal liability policies in Washington state under the National Rifle Association’s Carry Guard program.