Monday, June 18, 2012

NRA Stand-Your-Ground Insurance

 Think Progress reports

In a rare “scoop” for an editorial cartoonist today, Matt Bors skewered a little-known National Rifle Association (NRA) program that offers insurance to cover policy holders’ costs should they become embroiled in a legal battle after shooting someone in self-defense.

The insurance — technically endorsed by the NRA and administered by Lockton Affinity exclusively for NRA members — is available as a rider to the “excess personal liability” plan. Here’s how the website advertises the added coverage for self-defense (emphasis in the original):
What’s Covered:

• Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.
Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.
Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.


  1. Thanks for the heads up. I didn't know this was available. I'm going to look into it.

    1. Planning on shooting people, FWM?

      If I were an attorney suing someone, or prosecuting them, I wonder if you could take that insurance as intent.

    2. I just renewed my auto insurance today. I'm not planning on running into anybody but I still bought liability coverage. So if I do have an accident is that intent?

    3. Just thinking about my reply to dogone about insurance. Didn't both you and Mikey (I am pretty sure about Mike anyway) advocate for requiring by law all gun license holders to buy insurance?

    4. DG - is having car insurance a sign on your intent to ram your car into another car or someone else?

      Does having a umbrella liability policy show intent to harm someone else?

    5. JimF, there is a major difference between carrying car insurance for an accident, or gun insurance for an accident, versus specifically insurance to cover your legal costs if you shoot someone under Stand Your Ground laws.

      Stand Your Ground is a bad law, a racist law, and it has dramatically increased the instances of one person shooting another where that shooting was avoidable.

      Therefore, specifically Stand Your Ground insurance, as distinct from homeowner's insurance to cover injuries from say an accidental shooting, are very different things, in terms of the intent to shoot someone.

      So, JimF, are you simply dim in not being able to see the distinction in the intent of what the insurance covers, or are you being deliberately dishonest in trying to pretend they are the same or similar when they are not?

    6. DG - I don't think buying insurance in itself shows an intent to do anything. I think what it shows is a desire to protect yourself and your assets in case the insured event occurs. Unfortunately when someone has to defend themselves from hostile criminals, they can end up in court defending their lawful actions. Even if they are found not guilty, the defense of those actions can be quite costly and seems like a legitimate occurence to seek insurance for. Through no fault of their own, the government could bankrupt a lawful citizen simply by pressing charges in a stand your ground case regardless of the guilt or innocense of the person in question.

      Now if instead you suggest that the local governments should cover legal expenses for all those found not guilty of charges (and personally I would think this should apply to any charges) then I would agree with you that this insurance is not required for gun owners.

    7. Except it covers self-defense whether it is or isn’t a SYG case, and doesn’t matter whether or not your state has SYG laws, or even whether or not you use a gun. You are the one calling it “Stand Your Ground Insurance”. Are you deliberately being dishonest?

    8. TS - wow that is very dishonest. Also noted:

      • Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.

      So the insurance only pays out if you are found not guilty... Again, I suggest this could be dropped if the state were to pick up your defense tab in the cases where a defendant is found not guilty.

    9. Not at all -- I'm probably more familiar with the concept of legal insurance than you are; I had 14 years in at the corporate headquarters claim division of one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S., with branches and subsidiaries in other countries.

      Legal insurance typically is intended to help with the expenses of divorce, wills, adoptions, etc.

      I'm not aware of any other legal insurance that covers shooting another human being. Further, if the Stand Your Ground laws are overturned because of racist application, or because of other abuses --- which there is imho a good chance of happening, then the chances of this kind of insurance continuing is unlikely, because you cannot insure an illegal act.

      That would mean you would have to return to the Castle Doctrine where shooting has to be justified as determined by a court of law. In those cases, insurance at least in theory could not cover an insured if there was a conviction. Such coverage usually is not allowed under a morals clause.

      Would you want to pay for insurance which only covered you if you were innocent, and which could not presumably therefore be available to you until after a determination of guilt or innocence was made? I also wonder if the proceeds from such insurance could be pursued by a victim if they won a wrongful death suit?

      I'm not sure you understand or appreciate quite all the problems inherent in this so-called insurance. It leads me to wonder if it approved for sale, and where, by state insurance commissions, and what company if any is providing it - or if it some self-insured program the NRA has dreamed up.

      I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that the NRA has come up with a way to make money out of it, at the expense of members though, and have a lot of loopholes that allow them to avoid paying out on the policies.

  2. I thought you guys love the idea of gun owners carrying insurance?

  3. Yup:

    And here is DogOne's agreement:

    "If you choose to own a gun, then you must have liability insurance. Not everyone who owns a gun has a homeowners policy (and believe me, not all of those have that coverage). It is not a standard part of renters or other property insurance either.

    It should be like car insurance - you want to own a car, and drive it, you insure it. You want to own a gun, you must have liability insurance for each and every firearm."

    1. Insurance to cover an accident is very different from insurance to cover intent. No commercial insurance agency offers something remotely like the Stand Your Ground insurance.

      You are comparing things which are unlike again. You have to argue dishonestly, because your positions fall apart so completely if you do so fairly.

      Think about the many instances we have noted on this blog of a firearm discharging and hitting someone --- or the instances of children getting their hands on a firearm resulting in harming other children.

      That kind of gun incident is very different than stand your ground where your intent in wearng your gun and shooting someone where you could avoid it is a de facto intent to shoot someone under the right circumstances. You have to plan to take that action, it isn't an 'oops' gone horribly wrong.

    2. But in the link that Fat White Man just provided, you were saying the insurance not only should cover intent, but even criminal intent.

    3. With your car insurance, if you drive drunk - which is illegal - it pays for the resulting damages.

      What I suggested for covering criminal intent was liability - paying the victim, NOT the person who did the shooting.

      Or don't you understand the concept of liability in liability insurance?

    4. I know what liability means. What it boils down to for you is the idea that gun owner insurance should only be a detraction to ownership. The owner should receive no benefit from carrying insurance (contrary to heath and auto insurance). In your ideal, someone can blow an innocent person away with malice of fore thought and pay nothing out of pocket in terms of restitution, so long as they have been paying their premiums. But heaven forbid someone shoot in self-defense. In none of these cases is the gun owner receiving money. The insurance is either paying the defense attorney or the victim’s family/attorney if it was criminal.

      Your agenda is showing- you might want to cover it up.

    5. Not at all; liability insurance for guns is no different than liability insurance for vehicles.

      With vehicular liability insurance, you are safeguarded against massive financial loss from injuring or killing another person collecting from you; you get the same benefit from insurance for any mishap with your firearm.

      I would assume you could also get some form of property insurance in the same rider, which would compensate you for loss or damage related to your gun -- including theft of your firearm. But if for example, you drop your firearm and it discharges, breakng out an expensive plate glass window, or you shoot up your air conditioner -- you could collect for that (IF you are willing to pay those premiums.)

      We make people buy car insurance primarily to protect those that they might injure from enormously costly losses - so those people are compensated. The reason is because our society is disrupted and less stable if we do not compensate those people who are victims of another person.

      This is no different; firearms are as potentially dangerous as vehicles. To have insurance is simply part of responsible ownership. Why do you hate responsible ownership?

      If you can't afford to own a firearm resposibly, then you should no more own a firearm than you should own a vehicle. You do not have a right to injure or kill someone without compensating them or their survivors for that loss, including paying medical expenses.

      My agenda is not showing; it is common sense responsible gun ownership. YOUR stupidity and ignorance and selfish irresponsibility is showing.

      Instead of covering that up, you might want to FIX that; you need serios amelioration.

    6. Please keep it cordial, Dog gone.

      What you want is to mandate one aspect of insurance (payouts to shooting victims), but forbid another- at least in practice. Would you advocate against an auto insurance policy that covers legal fees for the driver?

      Can you tell us how much your gun owner liability premiums are? You do practice what you preach, right?

    7. TS writes What you want is to mandate one aspect of insurance (payouts to shooting victims), but forbid another- at least in practice.

      TS, you won't find any insurance anywhere that will pay the policyholder, or on behalf of the policyholder, one thin dime for a deliberate, intentional act that harms another person. Every policy ever written has an exclusion clause for that.

      This is not only what I want, it is standard insurance practice.

      So YES, I would of course advocate, encourage, approve whatever phrase you prefer ANY and all insurance that did not pay a shooter, or in the case of a vehicle, did not pay legal fees for deliberately and intentionally harming another person.

      If you deliberately try to run someone down with your car, instead of it being an accident, you can pretty certainly kiss any legal coverage you might have had goodbye. Incidental to that, you will probably find your policy not renewed, or possibly canceled.

      Did you ever actually READ an insurance policy? Might I refer you for a good intro the classes and certifications offered by the IIA - Insurance Institute of America. The above would be in the intro material, and of course in more detail in the chartered property casualty courses.

      Would you advocate against an auto insurance policy that covers legal fees for the driver?

      For intentional acts to harm another human being - emphatically yes I agree with the rest of the insurance industry, and the legal profession, and our judicial system - no coverage.

      You keep making the inaccurate assumption this is some odd idea unique of mine; it isn't. It is a fundamental premise of the entire insurance industry -- and goes well beyond it.

      It is so basic, so fundamental, I'm shocked you aren't familiar with it. It should be covered under the fundamentals in any good driver's ed class. It should have been part of you K-12 Civic's class as well.

      Why don't you know this stuff TS?

    8. A deliberate intentional act that harms another person is not always criminal. Sometimes it is justified.

      You have convinced me that I should at least get liability insurance to pay for the medical bills of anyone who gets harmed while trying to hurt me. Can you please give me the name of the agent you use? I want someone familiar with writing up these kinds of policies.

    9. A deliberate intentional act that harms another person may not be criminal; I didn't say it was.

      However in terms of insurance - which is what we are talking about here - it is NOT an insurable act. More to the point anything which encourages an action which MIGHT be criminal will also NEVER be insured either --- that pesky moral hazard.

      But most of all no real insurance compay will ever issue a policy for an INTENTIONAL ACT, the reason for the standard INTENTIONAL ACT EXCLUSION on REAL insurance policies, because it is expensive. It encourages an act that is more expensive for the insurance company by them making it LESS expensive for you.

      THAT is a moral hazard, it is contrary to good business and it is contrary to the very foundational premise OF insurance which is the least possible shared risk among the greates number of similar people.

      The NRA does nothing to reduce that risk exposure; real insurnce DOES.

      I don't know what state you live in; you need to contact your own insurance agent, or try contacting either your state commerce department or your state insurance commissioner to see who might be able to write that kind of policy where you live. Your local gun stores or gun training facilities might also be able to recommend a source.

      I cannot promise that such a policy is even available everywhere. But if there is enough INTEREST among people who are willing to try to be good gun owners who will follow requirements to reduce risk exposure -- like having a gun safe, trigger locks, etc. -- then more insurance companies could offer such coverage. You might also look at some of the so called specialty companies that offer sporting related insurance.

      Absent an insurance policy, you could try going the self-insurance route with a bond that would cover such an eventuality, or something similar.

      IF we had such a legal requirement FOR insurance for gun owners, one of the benefits would be that any insurance company that wanted to write property insurance in each state could be REQUIRED to offer such insurance.

      You see, not all gun law changes are bad, and they don't all act to make it harder for you to own guns. They can act to indemnify you and anyone who is accidentally shot, etc.

      It is a potentially win-win change for the better.

      Still think I'm trying to PREVENT you from owning guns TS?

      And NO, I'm not going to give you any more personal information; perhaps you are unaware that on Penigma, with Laci's assistance, we - I - am already dealing with harassment/stalking from a commenter. As a result, I am being more, not less, careful about putting any identifying information on blogs. Not at all directed at you TS, but you aren't the only person reading here.

    10. Dog gone: “It encourages an act that is more expensive for the insurance company by them making it LESS expensive for you.”

      How is that different than liability coverage where the insurance company (instead of the individual) will pay the damages to the victim of a deliberate and criminal act? If you are saying this NRA policy encourages self-defense shootings, then what you propose encourages criminal shootings.

      You don’t have to give me personal information, but please do confirm that you carry liability insurance for your gun, and/or a bond that would cover such an eventuality. Please explain what measures you take, and what those costs amount to per year.

    11. It encourages someone who would be less likely to risk their own money --- think the decision of George Zimmer, and what his expenses would be without the donations.

      If you are aware that there could be devestating expenses if you shoot the wrong person, you have an incentive to be less willing to shoot someone, or even to pursue someone where law enforcement direct you not to do so, or you would be less likely to take a gun with you and threaten someone with it, as occurred with the recent conviction in Houston, Texas.

      You would be far more likely to err on the side of caution in those isntances, without insurance.

      But if you know that your criminal defense is going to be at least in part paid for by insurance, if you believe you might be able to pay for a better qualified defense attorney with the additional funds from an insurance policy covering an action, you will take a greater risk than you would without that.

      And absolutely, the NRA encourages self defense shootings, and in many cases these have turned out to be criminal acts - look at the occasions where Stand Your Ground as a defense did NOT result in acquittal.

      Further, if you look at the statistical indicators for racism, the probability that the NRA is advocating actions which are racist, and therefore a criminal violation of civil rights as well.

      What I propose does NTO encourage criminal shootings. Policies from actual insurance companies have risk management requirements as a condition of effectiveness.

      They involve things like inspections, listing the weapons you own on a policy attachment -sort of like keepign a current record of vehicles, when you sell or buy one) as well as certain levels of security, etc. It might require you maintain a certain standard of continuing instruction, or an eye exam, or require some classwork on when it is and is not legal to shoot someone.

      What supporting this kind of legislation would do, requiring insurance or a bond, would separate out the responsible gun owner from those that responsible gun owners already want to distance themselves from. It would be a huge step towards good gun ownership and demonstrate a desire to do something solid and constructive towards the costs of gun violence in this country.

      Intentional act exclusions EXCLUDE criminal shootings from coverate, so you must be failing to understand my little mini-lesson in insurance.

      But mostly the benefit would be to indemnify the owner for genuine accidents, theft, etc., while ensuring that victims were not doubly victimized by being injured or killed, without any effort to compensate or pay for damages, medical costs etc. Compensation doesn't fix everything, but it makes it better than a lack of compensation.

      No, I won't give you greater details of what I do personally. It will vary too much from state to state, person to person, and the nature of what kind of insurance policy is available, etc. to be of use. That being the case, any benefit is small and the intrusion large. So NO.

    12. How about just a simple "yes" or “no” answer that you follow your own advice and have your own gun policy/bond? There is no possible intrusion there.

      Dog Gone: “Intentional act exclusions EXCLUDE criminal shootings from coverate, so you must be failing to understand my little mini-lesson in insurance.”

      But you were just saying that gun liability insurance should pay out to all victims of gun violence- the biggest recipients being the victims of plain old criminal gun use.

      And you are still not at all being consistent with you “encouraging bad behavior” argument. If you require gun owners to carry insurance in case the accidentally hurt someone with their gun, doesn’t that encourage reckless behavior? That is what you just told us for self-defense insurance.

    13. Simple answer - Yes.

      The way a policy works is that they can pay the person who is injured - the victim - to the extent of the policy limits. If there is some form of excluded intentional behavior, there is often / usually a clause which allows the insurer to then go after the insured to recover those expenditures. OR, they can decline to pay the victim. That is usually spelled out in the policy, whether it is one, or the other, or both, and is often dictated by state law which varies from state to state.

      So, NO, the insured does NOT benefit. The only issue becomes who goes after him for the damages, the victim or his own insurance company.

      So it is consistent that an insurance company would NOT pay the drunk driver who killed himself, damaged his own vehicle, but it MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT, depending on how they handle a moral hazard within the policy and according to respective state law, pay someone else who was injured by that act.

      Another facet that determines how the insurer handles the problem is what kind of policy it is. Some policies are designed to pay out on all riskes, except the ones that are specifically excluded; other kinds of policies pay out only for specified risks/hazards.

      Reckless behavior that results in an accident would be specified in the policy, as would the risk management requirements.

      An example of that would be that coverage might be in effect at home or at a range, or in transit between the two, but not when a gun is open or concealed carry in public, for example. Another example of firearm coverage could be for those occupations where a firearm might be a necessary part of the job description.

      Is that explaining it to you better?

      The prolem is not my consistency or understanding of how intentional acts exclusions work, but your failure to adequately grasp its application. I know I understand it, because I have passed IIA testing on the subject.

      I notice that the provider of the NRA endorsed policy is a risk insurer. Risk insurers are the ones who provide insurance to bad risk drivers, for example, with many accidents, or a few high $ accidents, negligence charges or suits, DWIs, lots of speeding or reckless driving tickets, etc.

      The coverage, because of the problem nature of who they insure, tends to be high buck, low coverage, and lots of loopholes / exclusions. I'd be surprised if the coverage was at all worth the premium, if you know how to read and understand what is in the small print.

      I should go look at where they are based; it is probably in one of those really low regulation states where the rip off insurance companies tend to lurk.

      The existence of those rip off insurers is the reason that there aer objections to selling insurance across state lines; some of them really badly prey on their customers.

    14. One more follow-up to the simple answer- how much does it cost per year? If you are going to want this mandated, so should be able to give an example of the cost (I know that it can vary).

      Dog gone: “So, NO, the insured does NOT benefit. The only issue becomes who goes after him for the damages, the victim or his own insurance company.”

      Naturally accidents are covered under liability insurance. A shooting is ruled an accident. Someone is injured. The gun owner has liability insurance just like you want him to. The insurance pays the medical bills up to the policy limit. That is the whole point. So using the logic you just employed as a reason against self-defense insurance, doesn’t liability insurance encourage reckless behavior?

      Dog gone: “I notice that the provider of the NRA endorsed policy is a risk insurer.”

      I am glad you finally noticed it is an insurance company, not the NRA who provides the coverage. And I agree with you that this policy would not be a wise financial decision.

    15. From TS:
      One more follow-up to the simple answer- how much does it cost per year? If you are going to want this mandated, so should be able to give an example of the cost (I know that it can vary).


  4. Sorry, something was dropped in that first sentence. It should have read:

    Insurance to cover an accident is very different from insurance to cover intentional acts that harm another person.

  5. You cannot have a legally enforcable contract for a criminal act (despite getting a "contract" to have someone killed--which is more a movie fiction than a reality).

    Even if someone did get a contract made for an illegal purpose, it would be hard to have to legally enforced in a court of law.

  6. I should point out that NRA does not sell insurance directly. Someone is underwriting these policies. I have ArmsCare through NRA. I do not make my check out to NRA, it's made out to the underwriter.

    I don't have the insurance you speak of here, because I think it's a waste of money. But the reason someone is willing to underwrite is because it only triggers once you're cleared. If you're convicted, you don't get a dime.

    So yes, it might be a deliberate act, in the sense that shooting the person was deliberate. But self-defense isn't the kind of deliberate act you couldn't insure against. You can do actuarial tables on the likelihood someone in NRA's demographic is going to be involved in a self-defense shooting, going to trial, being acquitted, and thus eligible for insurance. And again, it only pays out if you're acquitted, so you will still need money up front to cover your legal fees.

    BTW, NRA has been offering this at least 5 years. I can remember running across it, maybe 2005 time frame.

  7. The problem I have with all this is that it is related to the possibility that someone would be encouraged to shoot in situations where they would have given thought, or just not shot in the first place.

    These laws allow for someone to shoot, even if there was a possible peaceful outcome.

    Additionally, as feared, people are using these laws to kill unarmed people.

    That is not self-defence, it's murder.

    Deadly force is the last option, not the first.

  8. I live in an appartment. I have a garage and a cellar, and recently got a 2nd cellar on the ground floor. My insurance rep told me I had to get a seperate insurance for it. He says it's not considered as a cellar since it's on the ground floor. Is that true? I have to pay $150/year for it.same address, same rent agency, good neighbourhood. So I'm not the only one finding this wierd ?

  9. I simply reconditioned my own car insurance nowadays. That's not me thinking about operating in to anyone yet We nevertheless acquired liability. Therefore I really do come with an automobile accident is always that purpose?

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