New York Pressuring Banks, Insurance Companies to Consider Severing Ties With NRA

| APR 20, 2018 | 7:19 PM
National Rifle Association (NRA)

On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed his administration to “urge” banks and insurance companies to consider whether their ties to the National Rifle Association “jeopardize public safety.”

The state's Department of Financial Services (DFS), under Cuomo's direction, issued that guidance to New York State-chartered banks and other financial services companies licensed in the state. In a press release, the governor's office said the state regulated more than 1,400 insurance companies, all of which DFS sent a letter to on Thursday.

“This is not just a matter of reputation, it is a matter of public safety,” Cuomo said after arguing that NRA ties sent the “wrong message” to insurance and bank customers.

The governor's office suggested that the companies' NRA ties risked hurting their reputation.

“DFS is encouraging regulated entities to consider reputational risk and promote corporate responsibility in an effort to encourage strong markets and protect consumers,” the press release read.

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In the letter sent to companies, the DFS predicted “increasing public backlash against the NRA” and told insurers they had a role in “improving public health and safety in the communities they serve.”

“The Department encourages regulated institutions to review any relationships they have with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, and to take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety,” Maria T. Vullo, the superintendent of financial services, said in the letter.

Cuomo's directive came in light of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February, which Cuomo suggested prompted other businesses to sever ties with the nation's leading gun rights organization:

A number of businesses have ended relationships with the NRA following the Parkland, Florida school shooting in order to realign their company's values. MetLife, a major insurer regulated by DFS, recently announced it was ending a discount program it offered with the NRA and Chubb, another DFS-regulated insurer, recently stopped underwriting the NRA-branded “Carry Guard” insurance program.

Just on Tuesday, Parkland survivor David Hogg called for another boycott of his own. He told his Twitter followers to boycott BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group because of their ties to gun manufacturers.

Hogg, like others, has been sharply critical of the NRA and said it was “disgusting” how they acted like they didn't “own” politicians.