2017 New Jersey Revised Statutes
TITLE 17B - INSURANCE
Section 17B:30B-7 - Examinations of licensees by commissioner.
17B:30B-7 Examinations of licensees by commissioner.
7. a. (1) The commissioner may conduct an examination of a licensee under this act as often as the commissioner, in his sole discretion, deems appropriate.
(2) For purposes of completing an examination of a licensee under this act, the commissioner may examine or investigate any person, or the business of any person, insofar as the examination or investigation is, in the sole discretion of the commissioner, necessary or material to the examination of the licensee.
(3) In lieu of an examination under this act of any foreign or alien licensee licensed in this State, the commissioner may, at the commissioner's discretion, accept an examination report on the licensee as prepared by the commissioner or other regulator for the licensee's state of domicile or port-of-entry state.
b. (1) A person required to be licensed by this act shall for five years retain copies of all:
(a) Proposed, offered or executed viatical settlement contracts, underwriting documents, policy forms and applications from the date of the proposal, offer, or execution of the viatical settlement contract, whichever is later;
(b) All checks, drafts or other evidence and documentation related to the payment, transfer, deposit or release of funds from the date of the transaction; and
(c) All other records and documents related to the requirements of this act.
(2) This subsection shall not relieve a person of the obligation to produce these documents to the commissioner after the retention period has expired if that person has retained the documents.
(3) Records required to be retained pursuant to this subsection shall be legible and complete and may be retained in paper, photograph, microprocess, magnetic, mechanical or electronic media, or by any process that accurately reproduces or forms a durable medium for the reproduction of a record.
c. (1) Upon determining that an examination should be conducted, the commissioner shall issue an examination warrant appointing one or more examiners to perform the examination and instructing them as to the scope of the examination. In conducting the examination, the examiner shall observe those guidelines and procedures set forth in the Examiners' Handbook adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The commissioner may also employ other guidelines or procedures as the commissioner deems appropriate.
(2) Every licensee or person from whom information is sought, its officers, directors and agents shall provide to the examiners timely, convenient and free access at all reasonable hours at its offices to all books, records, accounts, papers, documents, assets and computer or other recordings relating to the property, assets, business and affairs of the licensee being examined. The officers, directors, employees and agents of the licensee or person shall facilitate the examination and aid in the examination so far as it is in their power to do so. The refusal of a licensee, by its officers, directors, employees or agents, to submit to examination or to comply with any reasonable written request of the commissioner shall be grounds for suspension or refusal of, or nonrenewal of any license or authority held by the licensee to engage in the business of viatical settlements or other business subject to the commissioner's jurisdiction. Any proceedings for suspension, revocation or refusal of any license or authority shall be conducted pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).
(3) The commissioner shall have the power to issue subpoenas, to administer oaths and to examine under oath any person as to any matter pertinent to the examination. Upon the failure or refusal of a person to obey a subpoena, the commissioner may petition a court of competent jurisdiction, and upon proper showing, the court may enter an order compelling the witness to appear and testify or produce documentary evidence. Failure to obey the court order shall be punishable as contempt of court.
(4) When making an examination under this act, the commissioner may retain attorneys, appraisers, independent actuaries, independent certified public accountants or other professionals and specialists as examiners, the reasonable cost of which shall be borne by the licensee that is the subject of the examination.
(5) Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to limit the commissioner's authority to terminate or suspend an examination in order to pursue other legal or regulatory action pursuant to the insurance laws of this State. Findings of fact and conclusions made pursuant to any examination shall be prima facie evidence in any legal or regulatory action.
(6) Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to limit the commissioner's authority to use and, if appropriate, to make public any final or preliminary examination report, any examiner or licensee work papers or other documents, or any other information discovered or developed during the course of any examination in the furtherance of any legal or regulatory action which the commissioner may, in his or her sole discretion, deem appropriate.
d. (1) Examination reports shall be comprised of only facts appearing upon the books, records or other documents of the licensee, its agents or other persons examined, or as ascertained from the testimony of its officers or agents or other persons examined concerning its affairs, and such conclusions and recommendations as the examiners find reasonably warranted from the facts.
(2) No later than 60 days following completion of the examination, the examiner in charge shall file with the commissioner a verified written report of examination under oath. Upon receipt of the verified report, the commissioner shall transmit the report to the licensee examined, together with a notice that shall afford the licensee examined a reasonable opportunity of not more than 30 days to make a written submission or rebuttal with respect to any matters contained in the examination report.
(3) Within 30 days of the end of the period allowed for the receipt of written submissions or rebuttals, the commissioner shall fully consider and review the report, together with any written submissions or rebuttals, and any relevant portions of the examiner's workpapers and either:
(a) Adopt the examination as filed or with modification or corrections. If the examination report reveals that the company is operating in violation of any law, regulation or prior order of the commissioner, the commissioner may order the company to take any action the commissioner considers necessary and appropriate to cure the violation; or
(b) Reject the examination report with directions to the examiners to reopen the examination for purposes of obtaining additional data, documentation or information, and refiling pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection; or
(c) Call for an investigatory hearing with no less than 20 days' notice to the company for purposes of obtaining additional documentation, data, information and testimony.
(4) (a) All determinations made pursuant to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of this subsection shall be accompanied by findings and conclusions resulting from the commissioner's consideration and review of the examination report, relevant examiner workpapers and any written submissions or rebuttals. Any such determination shall be served upon the company, together with a copy of the adopted examination report. Within 30 days of the issuance of the adopted report, the company shall file affidavits executed by each of its directors stating under oath that they have received a copy of the adopted report and related orders.
(b) Any hearing under subparagraph (c) of paragraph (3) of this subsection shall be conducted by the commissioner or an authorized representative of the commissioner as a nonadversarial, confidential investigatory proceeding, as necessary for the resolution of any inconsistencies, discrepancies or disputed issues apparent upon the face of the filed examination report or raised by or as a result of the commissioner's review of relevant workpapers or by the written submission or rebuttal of the company. Within 20 days of the conclusion of any such hearing, the commissioner shall make a determination pursuant to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(i) The hearing shall proceed expeditiously with discovery by the company limited to the examiner's workpapers which tend to substantiate any assertions set forth in any written submission or rebuttal. The commissioner or his representative may issue subpoenas for the attendance of any witnesses or the production of any documents relevant to the investigation whether under the control of the department, the company or other persons. Nothing contained in this section shall require the department to disclose any information or records which would indicate or show the existence or content of any investigation or activity of a criminal justice agency.
(ii) The hearing shall proceed with the commissioner or his representative posing questions to the persons subpoenaed. Thereafter the company and the department may present testimony relevant to the investigation. Cross-examination shall be conducted only by the commissioner or his representative. The company and the department shall be permitted to make closing statements and may be represented by counsel of their choice.
(5) Upon the adoption of the examination report under subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of this subsection, the commissioner may continue to hold the content of the examination report as private and confidential information for a period of 90 days except to the extent provided in paragraph (6) of subsection c. of this section.
(6) If the commissioner determines that regulatory action is appropriate as a result of an examination, the commissioner may initiate any proceedings or actions provided by law.
e. (1) Names and individual identification data for all viators shall be considered private and confidential information and shall not be disclosed by the commissioner, unless required by law.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this act, all examination reports, working papers, recorded information, documents and copies thereof produced by, obtained by or disclosed to the commissioner or any other person in the course of an examination made under this act, or in the course of analysis or investigation by the commissioner of the financial condition or market conduct of a licensee shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to any State or federal freedom of information law, shall not be subject to subpoena, and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action. The commissioner is authorized to use the documents, materials or other information in the furtherance of any regulatory or legal action brought as part of the commissioner's official duties.
(3) Documents, materials or other information, including, but not limited to, all working papers, and copies thereof, in the possession or control of the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to subpoena, and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action if they are:
(a) Created, produced or obtained by or disclosed to the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries in the course of assisting an examination made under this act, or assisting the commissioner in the analysis or investigation of the financial condition or market conduct of a licensee; or
(b) Disclosed to the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries under paragraph (4) of this subsection by the commissioner.
(c) For the purposes of paragraph (2) of this subsection, "act" includes the law of another state or jurisdiction that is substantially similar to this act.
(4) Neither the commissioner nor any person that received the documents, material or other information while acting under the authority of the commissioner, including the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries, shall be permitted to testify in any private civil action concerning any confidential documents, materials or information subject to paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(5) In order to assist in the performance of the commissioner's duties, the commissioner:
(a) May share documents, materials or other information, including the confidential and privileged documents, materials or information subject to paragraph (1) of this subsection, with other state, federal and international regulatory agencies, with the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries, and with state, federal and international law enforcement authorities, provided that the recipient agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the document, material, communication or other information; and
(b) May receive documents, materials, communications or information, including otherwise confidential and privileged documents, materials or information, from the NAIC and its affiliates and subsidiaries, and from regulatory and law enforcement officials of other foreign or domestic jurisdictions, and shall maintain as confidential or privileged any document, material or information received with notice or the understanding that it is confidential or privileged under the laws of the jurisdiction that is the source of the document, material or information.
(6) No waiver of any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality in the documents, materials or information shall occur as a result of disclosure to the commissioner under this section or as a result of sharing as authorized in paragraph (5) of this subsection.
(7) A privilege established under the law of any state or jurisdiction that is substantially similar to the privilege established under this subsection shall be available and enforced in any proceeding in, and in any court of, this State.
(8) Nothing contained in this act shall prevent or be construed as prohibiting the commissioner from disclosing the content of an examination report, preliminary examination report or results, or any matter relating thereto, to the commissioner of any other state or country, or to law enforcement officials of this or any other state or agency of the federal government at any time or to the NAIC, so long as that agency or office receiving the report or matters relating thereto agrees in writing to hold it confidential and in a manner consistent with this act.
f. (1) An examiner may not be appointed by the commissioner if the examiner, either directly or indirectly, has a conflict of interest or is affiliated with the management of or owns a pecuniary interest in any person subject to examination under this act. This subsection shall not be construed to automatically preclude an examiner from being:
(a) A viator;
(b) An insured in a viaticated insurance policy; or
(c) A beneficiary in an insurance policy that is proposed to be viaticated.
(2) Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, the commissioner may retain from time to time, on an individual basis, qualified actuaries, certified public accountants, or other similar individuals who are independently practicing their professions, even though these persons may from time to time be similarly employed or retained by persons subject to examination under this act.
g. (1) No cause of action shall arise nor shall any liability be imposed against the commissioner, the commissioner's authorized representatives or any examiner appointed by the commissioner for any statements made or conduct performed in good faith while carrying out the provisions of this act.
(2) No cause of action shall arise nor shall any liability be imposed against any person for the act of communicating or delivering information or data to the commissioner or the commissioner's authorized representative or examiner pursuant to an examination made under this act, if the act of communication or delivery was performed in good faith and without fraudulent intent or the intent to deceive. This paragraph shall not abrogate or modify in any way any common law or statutory privilege or immunity heretofore enjoyed by any person identified in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) A person identified in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection shall be entitled to an award of attorney's fees and costs if that person is the prevailing party in a civil cause of action for libel, slander or any other relevant tort arising out of activities in carrying out the provisions of this act and the party bringing the action was not substantially justified in doing so. For purposes of this section, a proceeding is "substantially justified" if it had a reasonable basis in law or fact at the time that it was initiated.
h. The commissioner may investigate suspected fraudulent viatical settlement acts and persons engaged in the business of viatical settlements.