Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 4. Examinations by Department

Examination Reports -- Hearings -- Confidentiality -- Publication

33-1-409. Examination reports -- hearings -- confidentiality -- publication. (1) All examination reports must be composed only of facts appearing upon the books, records, or other documents of the company, its agents, or other persons examined or as ascertained from the testimony of its officers or agents or other persons examined concerning its affairs. The report must contain the conclusions and recommendations that the examiners find reasonably warranted from the facts.

(2) Not later than 60 days following completion of the examination, the examiner in charge shall file with the department a verified written report of examination under oath. Upon receipt of the verified report, the department shall transmit the report to the company examined, together with a notice that gives the company examined a reasonable opportunity, but 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 enter an order:

(a) adopting the examination report 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.

(b) rejecting the examination report with directions to the examiners to reopen the examination for purposes of obtaining additional data, documentation, information, or testimony and of refiling pursuant to subsection (2); or

(c) calling for an investigatory hearing with no less than 20 days' notice to the company for purposes of obtaining additional data, documentation, information, and testimony.

(4) (a) All orders entered pursuant to subsection (3)(a) must 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. An order must be considered a final administrative decision and may be appealed pursuant to Title 33, chapter 1, part 7, and must be served upon the company by certified mail, 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) (i) A hearing conducted under subsection (3)(c) by the commissioner or an authorized representative must be conducted 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 the hearing, the commissioner shall enter an order pursuant to subsection (3)(a).

(ii) The commissioner may not appoint an examiner as an authorized representative to conduct the hearing. The hearing must proceed expeditiously with discovery by the company limited to the examiner's workpapers that tend to substantiate any assertions set forth in any written submission or rebuttal. The commissioner or the commissioner's representative may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents considered relevant to the investigation, whether under the control of the department, the company, or other persons. The documents produced must be included in the record, and testimony taken by the commissioner or the commissioner's representative must be under oath and preserved for the record. This section does not require the department to disclose any information or records that would indicate or show the existence or content of an investigation or activity of a criminal justice agency.

(iii) The hearing must proceed with the commissioner or the commissioner's representative posing questions to the persons subpoenaed. The company and the department may present testimony relevant to the investigation. Cross-examination may be conducted only by the commissioner or the commissioner's representative. The company and the department must be permitted to make closing statements and may be represented by counsel of their choice.

(5) (a) Upon the adoption of the examination report under subsection (3)(a), the commissioner shall continue to hold the content of the examination report as private and confidential information for a period of 30 days, except to the extent provided in subsection (2). After 30 days, the commissioner shall open the report for public inspection as long as a court of competent jurisdiction has not stayed its publication.

(b) This title does not prevent and may not be construed as prohibiting the commissioner from disclosing the content of an examination report or preliminary examination report, the results of an examination, or any matter relating to a report or results to the insurance department of this state or of any other state or country, to law enforcement officials of this state or of any other state, or to an agency of the federal government at any time as long as the agency or office receiving the report or matters relating to the report agrees in writing to hold it in a manner consistent with this part.

(c) If the commissioner determines that regulatory action is appropriate as a result of an examination, the commissioner may initiate any proceedings or actions as provided by law.

(6) (a) Working papers must be given confidential treatment, are not subject to subpoena, are not discoverable or admissible as evidence in any private action, and may not be made public by the commissioner or any other person except to the extent provided in 33-1-311(5) and subsection (5) of this section. Persons given access to working papers shall agree, prior to receiving the information, to treat the information in the manner required by this section unless prior written consent has been obtained from the company to which the working papers pertain.

(b) For purposes of subsection (6)(a), "working papers" means:

(i) all papers and copies created, produced, obtained by, or disclosed to the commissioner or any other person in the course of an examination or analysis by the commissioner;

(ii) confidential criminal justice information, as defined in 44-5-103;

(iii) personal information protected by an individual privacy interest; and

(iv) specifically identified trade secrets, as defined in 30-14-402, that have been obtained by or disclosed to the commissioner or any other person in the course of an examination made under this part for which there are reasonable grounds of privilege that are asserted by the party claiming the privilege.

History: En. Sec. 32, Ch. 596, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 416, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 169, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 63, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 9, L. 2017.