(a) There shall be a Department of Insurance of the State of Alabama with such subordinate bureaus and divisions as the commissioner determines to be necessary.
(b) The expenses of operating the department shall be paid out of funds appropriated to it by the Legislature or otherwise made available for the purpose.
(a) Subject to the Merit System Act and rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto, the commissioner shall prescribe the qualifications and duties of and appoint, employ, bond and remove a State Fire Marshal and such other assistants, deputies, actuaries, examiners and other employees as he deems necessary for the efficient performance of his duties under this Code.
(b) The commissioner shall fix the compensation of all such personnel in accordance with the Merit System Act and the pay plan of the state personnel department.
(c) The commissioner may contract for and procure on a basis of fee, and without giving such persons any status in the classified service of the state, such independently contracting actuarial, technical and other similar professional services as he may from time to time require for the discharge of his duties.
(d) Before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, the chief deputy fire marshal, the deputy fire marshal and the chief clerk shall execute to the State of Alabama a bond, to be approved by the Governor, in amounts to be fixed by the insurance commissioner, for the faithful performance of their duties.
The Attorney General shall assign to the department an assistant attorney general who shall render to the commissioner such legal services as may be required.
In addition to compensation for their services, the commissioner and deputy commissioners shall receive actual expenses for travel on official business in accordance with Article 2, Chapter 7 of Title 36 of this Code. Assistants and employees of the department shall be paid expenses for travel on official business as may be authorized by the commissioner and incurred by them in the performance of their duties in the same manner and in the same amounts as such expenses are paid to all other state employees.
(a) The commissioner or any deputy, examiner, assistant or employee of the commissioner shall not be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any insurer, insurance agency or insurance transaction except as a policy holder or claimant under a policy; except, that as to such matters wherein a conflict of interests does not exist on the part of any such individual, the commissioner may employ or retain, from time to time, insurance actuaries, accountants or other professional personnel who are independently practicing their professions even though similarly employed or retained by insurers or others.
(b) The commissioner or any deputy, examiner, assistant or employee of the commissioner shall not be given, nor receive, any fee, compensation, loan, gift or other thing of value in addition to the compensation and expense allowance provided by law for any service rendered, or to be rendered, as such commissioner, deputy, assistant, examiner or employee or in connection therewith. This section shall not apply to any person who is holding office or position on date of enactment of this title.
(a) The commissioner shall keep and preserve in permanent form accurate and complete records of his proceedings, including also a concise statement of the result of such examination of insurers by the commissioner, record and file all bonds and contracts and shall file such records in the department. The commissioner is responsible for the custody and preservation of all records, documents and files of the department.
(b) The records of the commissioner and insurance filings in his office shall be open to public inspection, except as otherwise provided by this title.
(c) The commissioner may photograph, microphotograph or reproduce on film, whereby each page will be reproduced in exact conformity with the original, all financial records, financial statements of domestic insurers, reports of business transacted in this state by foreign insurers, reports of examination of domestic insurers and such other records and documents on file in his office as he may in his discretion select.
(d) To facilitate efficient use of floor space and filing equipment in his offices the commissioner may destroy records and documents as follows:
(1) General correspondence files over three years old;
(2) Agent, broker, solicitor, adjuster and similar license files over two years old;
(3) Insurer certificate of authority files over two years old;
(4) All documents and records which have been photographed or otherwise reproduced as provided in subsection (c) of this section, and such reproduction has been filed and after audit of the commissioner's office has been completed for the period embracing the dates of such documents and records; and
(5) All other records, documents and files not expressly provided for in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection.
(a) Photographs or microphotographs in the form of film or prints of documents and records made under subsection (c) of Section 27-2-14 shall have the same force and effect as the originals thereof and shall be treated as originals for the purpose of their admissibility in evidence. Duly certified or authenticated reproductions of such photographs or microphotographs shall be as admissible in evidence as the originals.
(b) Upon request of any person and payment of the applicable fee, the commissioner shall give a certified copy of any record in his office which is then subject to public inspection.
(c) Copies of original records or documents in his office certified by the commissioner shall be received in evidence in all courts as if they were originals.
(d) If at any time the commissioner or any deputy, assistant, examiner or other employee of the department is required by subpoena duces tecum to produce in any court or proceeding in this state any record of the department or copy thereof for the purpose of offering the same in evidence in such court or proceeding, the commissioner may designate any deputy, assistant or other full-time employee of the department, who is competent for the purpose, to respond to such subpoena with the record or copy thereof so required and in lieu of the individual to whom the subpoena is directed.
(a) The commissioner shall have printed or otherwise published for public distribution all of the following:
(1) The insurance laws of this state.
(2) The rules and regulations of the commissioner.
(3) A directory, annually, of all insurers and of all resident insurance producers authorized or licensed by this state.
(4) Any other material the commissioner deems relevant and suitable for the more effective administration of the laws relating to insurance.
(b) The commissioner shall fix at a price at not less than cost of printing and distribution, to be paid by persons requesting copies of the insurance laws, regulations, and other publications the commissioner deems proper to sell on behalf of the state rather than distribute free of charge; except that the commissioner may furnish, without charge, copies of any such publication to the Legislature or to officials and departments of government or political subdivisions of this state or of other states of the federal government or of foreign countries. The commissioner shall promptly deposit all monies so received in the State Treasury with 50 percent credited to the State General Fund and 50 percent credited to the Insurance Department Fund.
(c) In complying with this section, the commissioner may, in lieu of printing the above information, provide access to the information by way of the Internet.
(a) The commissioner may make reasonable rules and regulations necessary for the effectuation of any provision of this title. No such rule or regulation shall extend, modify or conflict with any law of this state or the reasonable implications thereof.
(b) Any such rule or regulation affecting persons or matters other than the personnel or the internal affairs of the commissioner's office shall be made or amended only after a hearing thereon of which notice was given as required by Section 27-2-29. If reasonably possible the commissioner shall set forth the proposed rule, regulation, amendment or summary in or with the notice of hearing.
(c) No such rule or regulation as to which a hearing is required under subsection (b) of this section above shall be effective until after it has been on file as a public record in the commissioner's office and in the office of the Secretary of State for at least 10 days.
(d) Upon request and payment of the reasonable cost thereof, if required and fixed by the commissioner, the commissioner shall furnish a copy of any such rule or regulation to any person so requesting.
(e) The willful failure to comply with or willful violation of any material provision of a rule or regulation may be treated by the commissioner in the same manner as the willful failure to comply with or willful violation of any material provision of this title, but such action taken by the commissioner shall not be in the nature of a criminal penalty and shall be limited to suspension or revocation of licenses of agents or insurers doing business in Alabama.
(a) Orders and notices of the commissioner shall be effective only when in writing signed by him or by his authority.
(b) Every such order shall state its effective date, and shall concisely state:
(1) Its intent or purpose;
(2) The grounds on which based; and
(3) The provisions of this title pursuant to which action is taken or proposed to be taken; but failure to so designate a particular provision shall not deprive the commissioner of the right to rely thereon.
(c) Except as may be provided in this title respecting particular procedures, an order or notice may be given by delivery to the person to be ordered or notified or by mailing it, postage prepaid, addressed to him at his principal place of business as last of record in the department. Notice so mailed shall be deemed to have been given when deposited in a letter depository of a United States post office.
The commissioner may institute such actions or other proceedings as may be required for enforcement of any provisions of this title. If the commissioner has reason to believe that any person has violated any provision of this title for which criminal prosecution would be in order, he shall give the information relative thereto to the Attorney General or the district attorney having jurisdiction of any such violation. The Attorney General shall promptly institute such action or proceeding against such person as the information may require or justify.
(a) A Commissioner of Insurance shall be chief executive officer of the department. The commissioner shall be appointed by the Governor. He shall serve for a term concurrent with that of the Governor by whom he is appointed, or for the unexpired portion thereof.
(b) The commissioner shall be selected with special reference to his training, experience and capacity. He shall not be a candidate for, nor hold, any other public office of trust nor be a member of any political committee. If he becomes a candidate for public office or becomes a member of a political committee, his office as commissioner shall be immediately vacated.
(a) If he has reason to believe that any such person has violated or is violating any provision of this title or upon complaint by any resident of this state indicating that any such violation may exist, the commissioner may examine the accounts, records, documents and transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of any:
(1) General agent, agent, broker, surplus line broker, solicitor or adjuster;
(2) Person having a contract or power of attorney under which he enjoys in fact the exclusive or dominant right to manage or control an insurer; or
(3) Person engaged in or proposing to be engaged in or assisting in the promotion or formation of a domestic insurer, insurance holding corporation or corporation to finance a domestic insurer or the production of its business.
(b) The commissioner may examine the insurance affairs and transactions of the attorney-in-fact of a reciprocal insurer in the same manner and on the same basis as examination of such an insurer.
(c) When he deems it necessary for determination of the value of such securities or compliance with any provision of this title, the commissioner may, in his discretion, examine the transactions and affairs of any corporation of which a domestic insurer owns shares of stock or other securities under which it has, or effectively participates in, the control of such corporation.
(a) For the purpose of determining its financial condition, ability to fulfill its obligations and compliance with the law, the commissioner shall examine the affairs, transactions, accounts, records, and assets of each authorized insurer, and the records of surplus line brokers restricted to those matters under Section 27-10-29, including the attorney-in-fact of a reciprocal insurer insofar as insurer transactions are involved as often as the commissioner deems appropriate but shall, at a minimum, conduct an examination of every insurer licensed in this state not less frequently than once every five years. In scheduling and determining the nature, scope, and frequency of the examinations, the commissioner shall consider such matters as the results of financial statement analyses and ratios, changes in management or ownership, actuarial opinions, reports of independent certified public accountants, and other criteria as set forth in the Examiners' Handbook adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and in effect when the commissioner exercises discretion under this section.
(b) The commissioner shall in like manner examine each insurer applying for an initial certificate of authority to transact insurance in this state.
(c) In lieu of an examination under this article of any foreign or alien insurer licensed in this state or applying for an initial certificate of authority, the commissioner may accept an examination report on the company as prepared by the Department of Insurance for the company's state of domicile or port-of-entry state until January 1, 1994. Thereafter, the reports may only be accepted if: (1) the Department of Insurance was at the time of the examination accredited under the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Program, or (2) the examination is performed under the supervision of an accredited Department of Insurance or with the participation of one or more examiners who are employed by an accredited State Department of Insurance and who, after a review of the examination work papers and report, state under oath that the examination was performed in a manner consistent with the standards and procedures required by the accredited State Department of Insurance.
(d) As far as practical, the examination of a foreign or alien insurer shall be made in cooperation with the insurance supervisory officials of other states in which the insurer transacts business.
(a) The commissioner may conduct any such examination in person or by examiners regularly employed and commissioned by him in writing for the purpose. No person shall be eligible for designation as an examiner to examine an insurer unless by reason of experience as an accountant, auditor or examiner of financial institutions or other special experience, education or training he is capable of adequately discharging the responsibilities of such an examiner.
(b) At any time, when examiners who are regular officers or employees of the department are not available for the purpose, the commissioner may specially appoint and employ a competent examiner, or examiners, for the purpose of making a particular examination. The special examiner shall be compensated and reimbursed for expenses in the same manner as provided for regular examiners under Section 27-2-25, but shall not have any status in the classified service of the state.
(a) The examination may be conducted by the commissioner or his accredited examiners at the offices wherever located of the person being examined and at such other places as may be required for determination of matters under examination.
(b) Every person being examined, its officers, attorneys, employees, agents and representatives, shall make freely available to the commissioner or his examiners the accounts, records, documents, files, information, assets and matters in his possession or control relating to the subject of the examination.
(c) If the commissioner or examiner finds any account or record of an insurer being examined to be inadequate or inadequately kept or posted for proper examination of the condition and affairs of the examinee, he shall give written notice to such examinee specifying:
(1) The deficiencies to be corrected; and
(2) A reasonable period within which to correct the stated deficiencies.
If the examinee fails to maintain, complete or correct such accounts or records within the period specified, the commissioner may employ experts to reconstruct, rewrite, post or balance such accounts or records in accordance with recognized accounting principles and procedures.
(d) If the commissioner deems it necessary to value any asset involved in such an examination, he may make written request of the person being examined to appoint one or more competent appraisers approved by the commissioner for the purpose of appraising such property. If no such appointment is made within 10 days after such request was delivered to such person, the commissioner may appoint the appraiser or appraisers. Any such appraisal shall be promptly made, and a copy of the report thereof shall be furnished to the commissioner. The reasonable expense of the appraisal shall be borne by the person being examined.
(e) Neither the commissioner nor any examiner shall remove any record, account, document, file or other property of the person being examined from the offices of such person except with the written consent of such person given in advance of such removal or pursuant to an order of court duly obtained.
(f) Any individual who obstructs the commissioner or his examiner in the examination of an insurer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished as provided in Section 27-1-12.
(a) The commissioner or his examiner shall make a full and true written report of each examination. The report shall contain only information obtained from examination of the records, accounts, files and documents of, or relative to, the person examined or from testimony of individuals under oath, together with recommendations of the examiner based thereon. The commissioner shall furnish a copy of the proposed report to the person examined not less than 20 days prior to filing the report in his office. If such person so requests in writing within such 20-day period, the commissioner shall grant a hearing with respect to the report and shall not so file the report until after the hearing and after such modifications have been made therein as the commissioner deems proper.
(b) The report, when so filed, shall be admissible in evidence in any action or proceeding brought by the commissioner against the person examined, or against its officers, employees or agents. The commissioner or his examiners may, at any time, testify and offer other proper evidence as to information secured or matters discovered during the course of an examination, whether or not a written report of the examination has been either made, furnished or filed in the department.
(c) The commissioner may withhold from public inspection any examination or investigation report for so long as he deems necessary to protect the person examined from unwarranted injury or to be in the public interest.
(d) After the examination report has been filed, as provided in this section, the commissioner may publish the results of any such examination in one or more newspapers published in this state whenever he deems it to be in the public interest.
(a) Each person being examined shall pay to the commissioner the travel expense to and from such examination, a living expense allowance at such reasonable rates customary for such examination in which state the examination takes place and established or adopted by the commissioner and the compensation of the examiners making the examination, upon presentation by the commissioner of a detailed account of such allowances and expenses. Such an account may be so presented periodically during the course of the examination or at the termination of the examination, as the commissioner deems proper.
(b) The commissioner shall deposit all funds received under subsection (a) of this section in the State Treasury to the credit of a fund to be known as the Special Examination Revolving Fund. The expenses incurred by the commissioner and his examiners in the making of examinations under this title, together with the compensation of such examiners, shall be paid from such revolving fund and the amount necessary to make such payments is hereby appropriated from such fund.
(a) As to the subject of any examination, investigation or hearing being conducted by him, the commissioner may subpoena witnesses and administer oaths or affirmations and examine any individual under oath or take depositions and, by subpoena duces tecum, may require and compel the production of records, books, files, documents and other evidence.
(b) Witness fees and mileage, if claimed, shall be allowed the same as for testimony in a circuit court. Witness fees, mileage and the actual expense necessarily incurred in securing attendance of witnesses and their testimony shall be itemized and shall be paid by the person being examined if in the proceedings in which such witness is called such person is found to have been in violation of the law or by the person, if other than the commissioner, at whose request the hearing is held.
(c) Subpoenas of witnesses shall be served in the same manner and at the same cost as if issued by a circuit court. If any individual fails to obey a subpoena issued and served under this section with respect to any matter concerning which he may be lawfully interrogated or required to produce for examination, on application of the commissioner, the circuit court of the county in which is pending the proceeding at which such individual was so required to appear or the circuit court of the county in which such individual resides may issue an order requiring such individual to comply with the subpoena and to testify or produce the evidence subpoenaed. Any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
(d) Any person willfully testifying falsely under oath as to any matter material to any such examination, investigation or hearing shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of perjury and punished accordingly.
(a) If any individual asks to be excused from attending or testifying or from producing any books, papers, records, contracts, correspondence or other documents in connection with any examination, hearing or investigation being conducted by the commissioner or his examiner on the ground that the testimony or evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture and shall, by the Attorney General, be directed to give such testimony or produce such evidence, he must nonetheless comply with such direction; but he shall not thereafter be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for, or on account of, any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he may have so testified or produced evidence, and no testimony so given or evidence produced shall be received against him upon any criminal action, investigation or proceeding; except, that no such individual so testifying shall be exempt from prosecution or punishment for any perjury committed by him in such testimony, and the testimony or evidence so given or produced shall be admissible against him upon any criminal action, investigation or proceeding concerning such perjury; nor shall such individual be exempt from the refusal, suspension or revocation of any license, permission or authority conferred, or to be conferred, pursuant to this title.
(b) Any such individual may execute, acknowledge and file in the department a statement expressly waiving such immunity or privilege in respect to any transaction, matter or thing specified in such statement, and thereupon, the testimony of such individual or such evidence in relation to such transaction, matter or thing may be received or produced before any judge, court, tribunal, grand jury or otherwise; and, if so received or produced, such individual shall not be entitled to any immunity or privileges on account of any testimony he may so give or evidence so produced.
(a) The commissioner may hold hearings for any purpose within the scope of this title deemed by him to be necessary.
(b) The commissioner shall hold a hearing if required by any provision, or upon written demand therefor by a person aggrieved by any act, threatened act or failure of the commissioner to act or by any report, rule, regulation or order of the commissioner, other than an order for the holding of a hearing or an order on hearing or pursuant thereto. Any such demand shall specify the grounds to be relied upon as a basis for the relief to be demanded at the hearing, and unless postponed by mutual consent, the hearing shall be held within 30 days after receipt by the commissioner of demand therefor.
(c) Pending such hearing and decision thereon, the commissioner may suspend or postpone the effective date of his previous action.
(d) This section does not apply as to hearings provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.
(a) Except where a longer period of notice is provided by other provisions of this title relative to particular matters, not less than 10 days in advance the commissioner shall give notice of the time and place of the hearing, stating the matters to be considered thereat. If the persons to be given notice are not specified in the provision pursuant to which the hearing is held, the commissioner shall give such notice to all persons whose pecuniary interests are to be directly and immediately affected by such hearing.
(b) If any such hearing is to be held for consideration of rules and regulations of the commissioner or for the consideration of other matters which under subsection (a) of this section would otherwise require separate notices to more than 50 persons, in lieu of the notice required under such subsection the commissioner may give notice of the hearing by publication thereof in two or more newspapers of general circulation in this state at least once each week during the four weeks immediately preceding the week in which the hearing is to be held. The published notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and shall specify the matters to be considered thereat.
(c) All such notices, other than published notices, shall be given as provided in Section 27-2-18.
(d) This section does not apply as to hearings provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.
Before entering upon the duties of his office the commissioner shall take and subscribe to the oath prescribed by Article 16, Section 279 of the State Constitution and give bond in favor of the State of Alabama in the penal sum of $50,000.00. The surety on the bond shall be a corporate surety authorized to transact such business in this state. The form of the bond and surety shall be subject to the Governor's approval. The bond and oath shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
(a) A hearing may be held in the department at Montgomery, Alabama, or at any other place in this state more convenient to parties and witnesses, as the commissioner determines. The commissioner or his deputy or examiner shall preside at the hearing and shall expedite the hearing and all procedures involved therein.
(b) Hearings may be closed to the public at the commissioner's discretion; except that a hearing shall be open to the public if so requested in writing by any party to the hearing.
(c) The commissioner shall allow any party to the hearing to appear in person and by counsel to be present during the giving of all evidence, to have a reasonable opportunity to inspect all documentary and other evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, to present evidence in support of his interest and to have subpoenas issued by the commissioner to compel attendance of witnesses and production of evidence in his behalf. The testimony may be taken orally or by deposition, and any party shall have such right of introducing evidence by deposition as may obtain in the circuit courts.
(d) Upon good cause shown, the commissioner shall permit to become a party to the hearing by intervention, if timely, only such persons who were not original parties thereto and whose pecuniary interests are to be directly and immediately affected by the commissioner's order made upon the hearing.
(e) Formal rules of pleading or evidence need not be observed at any hearing.
(f) Upon written request seasonably made by a party to the hearing and at such person's expense, the commissioner shall cause a full stenographic record of the proceedings to be made by a competent reporter. If transcribed, a copy of such stenographic record shall be furnished to the commissioner without cost to the commissioner or the state and shall be a part of the commissioner's record of the hearing. If so transcribed, a copy of such stenographic record shall be furnished to any other party to such hearing at the request and expense of such other party. If no stenographic record is made or transcribed, the commissioner shall prepare an adequate record of the evidence and of the proceedings.
(g) Upon written request setting forth the reasons therefor of a party to a hearing filed with the commissioner within 30 days after any order made pursuant to a hearing has been mailed or delivered to the persons entitled to receive the same, the commissioner may, in his discretion, grant a rehearing or reargument of any matter involved in such hearing. Notice of such rehearing or reargument shall be given as provided in Section 27-2-29.
(h) This section does not apply as to hearings provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.
(a) In the conduct of hearings under this title and making his order thereon, the commissioner shall act in a quasi-judicial capacity.
(b) Within 30 days after termination of the hearing, or of any rehearing thereof or reargument thereon, or within such other period as may be specified in this title as to particular proceedings, the commissioner shall make his order on hearing, covering matters involved in such hearing and in any such rehearing or reargument, and shall give a copy of such order to the same persons given notice of the hearing and to all parties to the hearing.
(c) The order shall contain a concise statement of the facts as found by the commissioner, his conclusions therefrom and the matters required by Section 27-2-18.
(d) The order may affirm, modify or rescind action theretofore taken or may constitute the taking of new action within the scope of the notice of hearing.
(e) This section does not apply as to hearings provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.
(a) An appeal from the commissioner shall be taken only from an order on hearing, or as to a matter on which the commissioner has refused or failed to hold a hearing after demand therefor under Section 27-2-28 or as to a matter as to which the commissioner has refused or failed to make his order on hearing as required by Section 27-2-31. Any person who was a party to such hearing or whose pecuniary interests are directly and immediately affected by any such refusal or failure to grant or hold a hearing and who is aggrieved by such order, refusal or failure may appeal from such order or as to any such matter within 30 days after:
(1) The order on hearing has been mailed or delivered to the persons entitled to receive the same;
(2) The commissioner's order denying rehearing or reargument has been so mailed or delivered;
(3) The commissioner has refused or failed to make his order on hearing as required under Section 27-2-31; or
(4) The commissioner has refused or failed to grant or hold a hearing as required under Section 27-2-28.
(b) The appeal shall be granted as a matter of right, and shall be taken to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, or in the case of denial, suspension or revocation of a license as agent, broker, solicitor, adjuster and other licensed insurance representatives, the appeal may at the appellant's option be taken to the circuit court of the county in Alabama of the appellant's residence or principal place of business. The appeal shall be taken by filing notice of appeal or on writ of certiorari by filing petition therefor with the register or clerk of the court, together with a bond, with good and sufficient sureties to be approved by such register or clerk, conditioned to pay all costs which may be assessed against the appellant or petitioner in such proceedings and by service upon or delivery to the commissioner of a copy of such notice or petition.
(c) Upon receiving the notice of appeal or petition for review, the commissioner shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, an official record certified by him which shall contain a copy of all proceedings, findings and orders of the commissioner and any transcript of testimony and exhibits or record thereof made as provided in subsection (f) of Section 27-2-30. Within 30 days after the notice of appeal or petition was filed, the commissioner shall file such official record with the court in which the appeal is pending.
(d) Upon filing of the notice of appeal or petition for review, the court shall have full jurisdiction of the proceeding and shall determine, and may so determine ex parte, whether such filing shall stay the enforcement of the commissioner's decision or order appealed from.
(e) In hearing the appeal by the circuit court and by the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama on appeal to it as provided in subsection (g) of this section, the commissioner's decision or order shall be taken as prima facie just and reasonable. No new or additional evidence may be introduced in the circuit court except as to fraud or misconduct of some person engaged in the administration of this title and affecting the decision or order appealed from, but the court shall otherwise hear the case upon the certified record. The court shall reverse, vacate or modify the commissioner's decision or order in whole or in part if it finds that:
(1) The commissioner erred to the prejudice of appellant's substantial rights in his application of the law;
(2) The decision or order was procured by fraud or was based upon a finding of facts contrary to the weight of the evidence; or
(3) The commissioner's action was arbitrary or capricious.
(f) Instead of reversing, vacating or setting aside the commissioner's decision or order or part thereof, the court may remand the case to the commissioner for further proceedings in accordance with the court's directions, or, in advance of judgment and upon a sufficient showing, the court may remand the case to the commissioner for the purpose of taking additional testimony or other proceedings.
(g) From the judgment of the circuit court, either the commissioner or the interested party taking the appeal may appeal directly to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama by taking such appeal within 42 days after the date of the making and entering of its judgment by the circuit court. The interested party so appealing to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama shall give security for the costs of such appeal to be approved by the register or clerk of the circuit court. No such security shall be required of the commissioner.
The Commissioner of Insurance is empowered to place an insurance company under supervision, after a hearing thereon, by appropriate order, for the following reasons:
(1) When an insurance company has been notified under the provisions of Section 27-27-41 of impairment or deficiency of assets and given 60 days to make good the impairment;
(2) A determination by the commissioner that an insurer is impaired or insolvent;
(3) A determination by the commissioner that an insurer's condition is such as to render the continuation of its business hazardous to its policyholders following an examination of the operations and financial condition of an insurer by the commissioner;
(4) Any of the grounds for rehabilitation or liquidation of domestic insurers set forth in Sections 27-32-6 and 27-32-7.
During the period of supervision the commissioner may appoint a supervisor and may provide that the insurer may not do the following things during the period of supervision without the prior approval of the commissioner or his duly appointed supervisors:
(1) Dispose of, convey or encumber any of its assets or its business in force;
(2) Withdraw any of its bank accounts;
(3) Lend any of its funds;
(4) Invest any of its funds;
(5) Transfer any of its property;
(6) Incur any debt, obligation or liability;
(7) Enter into any new reinsurance contract or treaty;
(8) Issue to the public policies of insurance.
The commissioner shall withdraw the supervision order immediately upon determination that the reasons for the supervision set forth in Section 27-2-33 have been corrected or no longer exist, but in no event shall the supervision order last longer than 180 days without another notice and hearing being conducted in the same manner as set out in Section 27-2-38.
The provisions of Chapter 32 of this title concerning rehabilitation and liquidation shall not be stayed during the period of supervision and the commencement of delinquency proceedings under Section 27-32-4, may commence either before, during or after a supervision order or period of supervision.
The order of supervision issuing after the hearing shall follow the provisions of Section 27-2-18, and may be appealed in the same manner as orders falling under the provisions of Section 27-2-32.
No order of supervision shall be issued by the commissioner until the insurance company has been given notice of the commissioner's intentions to place the company under supervision, the appropriate reasons for supervision set out in Section 27-2-33 and a hearing held thereon. The notice and hearing shall conform to the requirements set forth in Sections 27-2-26 through 27-2-31.
(a) There is created a fund in the State Treasury designated the 'Insurance Department Fund' to be used for the operation of the Department of Insurance. Receipts deposited into this fund shall be disbursed only by warrants of the State Comptroller drawn upon the State Treasury on itemized vouchers approved by the Commissioner of Insurance. No funds shall be withdrawn or expended except as budgeted and allotted according to Sections 41-4-80 to 41-4-96, inclusive, and 41-19-1 to 41-19-12, inclusive, and only in amounts as stipulated in the general appropriations act, other appropriation acts, or this section. At the end of each fiscal year, any unencumbered and unexpended balance of up to 25 percent of the amount appropriated for that fiscal year shall not revert to the State General Fund under Section 41-4-93, but shall carry over to the next fiscal year.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commissioner of Insurance shall promptly pay all sums, fees, taxes, licenses, renewals, and other miscellaneous charges collected pursuant to Sections 10-4-111, 27-2-16, 27-3-29, 27-4-2, 27-7-7, 27-8-1, 27-8-5, 27-13-5, 27-13-24, 27-13-62, 27-21A-21, 27-34-6, 27-34-36, 27-34-47, 27-39-6, and 27-39-7, other than those fines, penalties, and deposit requirements collected pursuant to Section 27-3-29, and other than those fees collected pursuant to Chapter 8A of Title 27 for deposit into the Insurance Agents and Brokers Continuing Education Fund, into the State Treasury with 50 percent credited to the State General Fund and 50 percent credited to the Insurance Department Fund.
(a) The commissioner shall receive such annual salary as fixed by the Governor in the same manner as the salaries of other appointive department heads. Such salary shall be payable in the same manner as other state employees are paid.
(b) The commissioner shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office.
(a) The commissioner shall have an official seal as heretofore provided him by the State of Alabama.
(b) All certificates executed by the commissioner, other than licenses of agents, brokers, solicitors, adjusters and similar licenses, shall bear his seal.
(c) Every such certificate so executed and sealed under the authority conferred upon the commissioner by law may be recorded in the proper recording office in this state in the same manner and with the same effect as a deed regularly acknowledged or proven.
(d) Every certificate and other document or paper executed by the commissioner pursuant to any authority conferred upon him by law and sealed with the seal of his office and all copies or photographic copies of papers certified by him and authenticated by such seal shall, in all cases, be evidenced equally and in like manner as the original thereof and shall have the same force and effect as the original would in any action or proceeding in any court of this state.
(e) The commissioner shall collect such fees and charges for the use of his official seal as are provided for under Section 27-4-2.
There is hereby established within the Department of Insurance a receivership division to be managed and headed by a chief of said division. The chief of said receivership division shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Insurance and shall serve at his pleasure. The compensation of said chief shall be fixed by the commissioner; except, that said compensation shall not exceed that of the highest paid division chief in the insurance department under the merit system.
The chief of the receivership division shall make bond payable to the State of Alabama in the amount of $75,000.00, conditioned upon faithful performance of his duties, the premiums of which shall be borne by the state. In addition each receivership court may require adequate bond of said receiver if the court deems it necessary, the premiums of which shall be paid from funds of the receivership.
The Commissioner of Insurance shall furnish offices, equipment, operating expenses and necessary personnel to maintain and operate the receivership division. The operating expenses of said division shall as far as practical be paid from the receiverships as administrative expenses on a pro rata basis, such expenses to be verified by the receiver to the receivership court having jurisdiction and paid on order of said court into the special examination revolving fund provided for in Section 27-2-25. To the extent of and limited to the funds paid into said revolving fund from receiverships, the Commissioner of Insurance is hereby authorized to draw upon said revolving fund on proper voucher, to pay for salaries, expenses, rent or equipment, or portion thereof, for the proper operation of the receivership division. Expenses and salaries not recoverable from receivership funds may be paid from funds appropriated to the insurance department. The Commissioner of Insurance is hereby authorized to assign one or more insurance examiners to the receivership division from time to time and to pay their salaries and expenses and to provide necessary equipment from the special examination revolving fund hereinabove mentioned.
Upon the Commissioner of Insurance bringing delinquency proceedings against any insurer pursuant to this title, or other insurance laws of the state, the proper circuit court having jurisdiction thereof shall appoint the chief of the receivership division as receiver of such impaired or insolvent insurer, or ancillary receiver if a foreign insurer is found to be impaired or insolvent.
The Commissioner of Insurance, as receiver in any existing receivership, may petition the proper receivership court to name as receiver thereof the chief of the receivership division as provided for in this article, and upon making an accounting of the assets of such receivership by the commissioner, the court shall so change receivers or ancillary receivers by releasing and discharging the commissioner from such duty and responsibility and shall name the chief of the receivership division as receiver or ancillary receiver.
All duties, rights, power, authority and responsibility placed upon the Commissioner of Insurance by Sections 27-32-15 through 27-32-36, or by future law, as receiver of an insurer shall be vested in and assumed by the receiver appointed pursuant to this article, however, nothing herein shall divest the commissioner of the authority to examine insurers for solvency and to institute delinquency proceedings pursuant to law.
(a) The commissioner's offices shall be located at the state capitol. The commissioner may have a service office at Birmingham and in such other cities of this state as he may deem necessary.
(b) The commissioner shall keep his offices open at all reasonable times for the transaction of public business.
Subject to the discretion of the Commissioner of Insurance, any increase in automobile insurance rates sought in the future should come before a public rate hearing.
The commissioner shall:
(1) Organize, supervise and administer the Department of Insurance so that it will perform its lawful functions efficiently and effectively;
(2) Enforce the provisions of this title;
(3) Execute the duties imposed upon him by this title;
(4) Have the powers and authority expressly conferred upon him by, or reasonably implied from, the provisions of this title;
(5) Sign and execute in the name of the state, by 'the state Department of Insurance,' all contracts or agreements with the federal government or its agencies, other states or political subdivisions thereof, political subdivisions of this state or with private persons;
(6) Conduct such examinations and investigations of insurance matters, in addition to examinations and investigations expressly authorized, as he may deem proper to determine whether any person has violated any provision of this title or to secure information useful in the lawful administration of any such provision. The cost of such additional examinations or investigations shall be borne by the state except as otherwise expressly provided;
(7) Invoke any legal, equitable or special remedy for the enforcement of orders or the provisions of this title;
(8) Have such powers and perform such duties as may be granted to or required of the 'superintendent of insurance' of this state under laws remaining in force after the effective date of this title; and
(9) Have such additional powers and duties as may be provided by other laws of this state.
(a) The commissioner may delegate to any deputy, assistant, examiner or employee of the department the exercise or discharge in the commissioner's name of any power, duty or function, whether ministerial, discretionary or of whatever character, vested by this title in the commissioner.
(b) The commissioner is responsible for the official acts of his deputy, assistant, examiner or employee acting in the commissioner's name and by his authority.
As early as consistent with full and accurate preparation, the commissioner shall annually make a report to the Governor of his official transactions during the preceding calendar year. He shall include in the report:
(1) A statement of the receipts and expenditures of the department for the preceding year;
(2) An exhibit of the financial condition and business transactions during the preceding year of insurers authorized to transact business in this state, as disclosed by the financial statements of the insurers filed with the commissioner;
(3) Names of insurers whose business was closed during the year, the cause thereof and amount of assets and liabilities as ascertainable;
(4) Names of insurers against whom delinquency or similar proceedings were instituted and a concise statement of the circumstances and results of each such proceeding;
(5) His recommendations as to amendments or supplementation of laws affecting insurance;
(6) His recommendations concerning the condition, operation and functioning of the department; and
(7) Such other pertinent information and matters as he deems to be in the public interest.