OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington state insurance commissioner has fined the U.S. Concealed Carry Association $100,000.
Commissioner Mike Kreidler said the fine was for violating state laws by "selling unauthorized insurance that illegally covers defense costs for criminal shootings."
Officials the said USCCA bundled the insurance, 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 intentional use of a firearm or other weapon, Kreidler's office said.
However, Washington state law prohibits a person from buying insurance for their own intentional criminal activity.
In addition, officials said the USCCA was also illegally acting as an insurer because insurance companies must be authorized to sell policies in the state and the policies must be reviewed and approved by the commissioner's office.
"We made two things very clear to USCCA," Kreidler said in a news release. "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."
The USCCA agreed to pay the fine and $5,457 in unpaid premium taxes, penalties and interest and also has agreed to continue not selling the insurance in the state, officials said.
Kreidler said the USCCA sold insurance to 1,675 Washington state consumers from Dec. 1, 2018 through Jan. 30, collecting $241,000.
The USCCA has paid no claims in Washington and it voluntarily stopped selling the membership and protection plan in Washington on Jan. 30, officials said.
"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," Kreidler said.
Kreidler's office said the USCCA could sell insurance legally in Washington by: 1. Changing its policies to not insure criminal activity and 2. Either becoming a registered insurer or by placing insurance business through surplus lines of brokers.
In January, Kreidler's office fined an insurer and an insurance agency $177,000 for selling 811 similar liability policies under the National Rifle Association's Carry Guard program.
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