NRA sued over non-payment of life insurance claim

A California man is suing the National Rifle Association and its partners for failing to pay on a life insurance claim in the accidental death of his relative, who named him the sole beneficiary of her policy.

Ronald LaRose alleges the NRA, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Group Insurance owe him $175,000 in the death of Donna Sue LaRose, 67, who sustained injury during an accidental fall on June 2, 2014 in Chico, according to court documents obtained by Guns.com. She passed away later that month.

LaRose was first denied on his initial claim in September 2014, to which he filed an appeal before being denied again in December the same year. LaRose appealed a second and third time, receiving denial notifications in April 2015 and February 2016.

Court documents say LaRose’s denial was based on a policy exclusion defining an “accident” as one “which is not contributed to by sickness, disease or bodily infirmity.”

“However, there is no reasonable basis to conclude the decedent’s fall was not an ‘accident’ as defined in the policy,” the complaint read. “Plaintiff alleges that in investigating plaintiff’s claim, defendants ignored direct evidence which supports the claim, and focused solely on inferences and deductions to justify denial, in violations of their duties to diligently search for and consider evidence that supported coverage, and to conduct a full, fair and thorough investigation of all of the bases of the claim.”

Guns.com reached out to lawyers on both side of the case, as well as the NRA for comment and did not receive a response by article publication.   

According to NRA Endorsed Member Benefits website, the program was founded in 2000 to provide insurance for life, health and accidents to its members. The program also provides an additional revenue stream for the NRA, who receives annual payments from insurance companies for the members it provides them.

The NRA received more than $10 million through its benefits program in 2011, having received about 2.7 million from Cigna the same year, according to research conducted by financial analyst Daniel P. O’Neill for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.