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(a) In General-
(1) EXAMINATION- The Commissioner shall provide for examinations of national insurers and national agencies.
(2) REGULAR AND SPECIAL EXAMINATIONS OF NATIONAL INSURERS- Not less than once during each 36-month period, the Commissioner shall conduct an on-site examination of each national insurer, and may conduct a special examination of a national insurer whenever the Commissioner determines that a special examination is necessary.
(3) EXAMINATION OF NATIONAL AGENCIES- The Commissioner may examine a national agency in response to a complaint or any other evidence that the national agency has violated or is about to violate--
(A) a law, rule, or regulation;
(B) any condition imposed in writing by the Commissioner in connection with issuing a license for a federally licensed insurance producer; or
(C) any written agreement entered into with the Commissioner.
(A) IN GENERAL- In making examinations of national insurers or national agencies, the Commissioner may, to the extent necessary to discover information concerning activities of an affiliate that may have a materially adverse effect on the operations, management, or financial condition of the national insurer or national agency--
(i) require an affiliate to make such reports and provide such material as the Commissioner may direct; and
(ii) conduct an examination of the affairs of an affiliate, if--
(I) the Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that the activities of the affiliate may have such an effect;
(II) the examination is limited to the extent necessary to disclose information related to such effect; and
(III) the Commissioner is unable to obtain the necessary information from the national insurer or national agency.
(B) ACCEPTANCE OF AVAILABLE INFORMATION- To the extent that the Commissioner requires an affiliate to make reports or provide material under subparagraph (A), the Commissioner shall, to the fullest extent possible, accept--
(i) reports that the affiliate has provided or been required to provide to other Federal or State regulatory authorities or appropriate self-regulatory organizations;
(ii) information that is otherwise required to be reported publicly; and
(iii) audited financial statements.
(C) USE OF REGULATORY REPORTS- If the Commissioner determines to conduct an examination of an affiliate under subparagraph (B) and such affiliate is a functionally regulated affiliate, the Commissioner shall, to the fullest extent possible, rely on the examination reports made by the functional regulator of such af
(a) Establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman- There is established within the Office, an Office of the Ombudsman. The Commissioner shall appoint an Ombudsman to administer the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman shall report directly to the Commissioner.
(b) Duties of the Ombudsman-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Ombudsman shall act as a liaison between the Office and any regulated person adversely affected by the supervisory or regulatory activities of the Office, including the failure of the Office to take a requested action. The Ombudsman shall assure that safeguards exist to encourage complainants to come forward and preserve confidentiality.
(2) DEFINITION- For purposes of this section the term, a `regulated person' means a national insurer, a national agency, a federally licensed insurance producer, or an insurer-affiliated party.
(c) Powers of the Ombudsman- The Ombudsman--
(1) with the prior consent of the Commissioner, may stay any appealable decision or action during the resolution of an appealable matter; and
(2) shall review and report any weakness in policy or procedures to the Commissioner, and make recommendations to the Commissioner regarding changes in such policies or procedures.
(d) Appealable Matters- Any regulated person adversely affected by an Office decision or action may seek Ombudsman review of such decision or action, other than--
(1) the appointment of a receiver or conservator;
(2) any preliminary examination conclusions communicated to the regulated person before a final examination report is issued;
(3) any formal enforcement-related action or decision, including the issuance of a cease-and-desist order, assessment of a civil money penalty, or commencement of a formal investigation;
(4) any formal or informal rulemaking pursuant to subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code;
(5) any decision or recommended decision following a formal adjudication conducted pursuant to subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code; or
(6) any request for agency records pursuant to section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act).
(e) Procedures for Filing an Appeal to the Ombudsman- A regulated person may seek review of an appealable matter by filing a written appeal with the Office of the Ombudsman. In the case of a regulated person that is an entity, the appeal shall be signed by the President or Chief Executive Officer of the regulated person. The appeal shall set forth all of the reasons for the appeal and supporting documentation. The Ombudsman may arrange for a meeting of Office personnel and the complainants to discuss the appeal.
(f) Decisions of the Ombudsman- After a thorough investigation of the matter, and after considering all relevant information provided by the complainant and the Office, the Ombudsman shall issue a written determination of the appeal. Such determination shall become the final decision of the Office, unless reversed, modified, or stayed by the Commissioner.
(g) Retaliation Prohibited- The Office and its staff may not take any adverse action against a complainant for appealing any decision or action to the Ombudsman. Upon learning of any possible retaliatory actions, the Ombudsman shall investigate the matter, and if the Ombudsman determines that reasonable grounds exist to conclude that retaliation has taken place, shall refer the matter to the Commissioner.
(a) Authority of the Commissioner- Subject to the terms of this section, and the regulations issued pursuant to this section, the Commissioner shall have the authority to--
(1) provide for the registration of an insurance self-regulatory organization; and
(2) supervise and regulate any registered insurance self-regulatory organization, which shall include the authority to--
(A) review, approve, abrogate, modify, or add to the operating rules of an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(B) review, approve, abrogate, or modify any disciplinary action taken by an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(C) remove, suspend, or bar an individual from serving as an officer or director of an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(D) remove or suspend a member of an insurance self-regulatory organization; and
(E) suspend or revoke the registration of an insurance self-regulatory organization.
(b) Authority of Registered Insurance Self-Regulatory Organizations- An insurance self-regulatory organization that is registered by the Commissioner shall have the authority to--
(1) carry out the purpose of this Act; and
(2) enforce compliance by its members with the provisions of this Act, applicable regulations issued by the Commissioner, and the rules of the organization.
(c) Membership- An insurance self-regulatory organization may be formed by, and consist exclusively of--
(1) national insurers;
(2) national agencies;
(3) federally licensed insurance producers; or
(4) any combination of national insurers, national agencies, and federally licensed insurance producers.
(d) Regulations- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner shall issue regulations governing the registration and operations of insurance self-regulatory organizations. Such regulations shall establish--
(1) the procedures insurance self-regulatory organizations must follow to be registered by the Commissioner, which shall provide for public notice and an opportunity for public comment on the proposed registration;
(2) the standards that the Commissioner shall apply in reviewing a proposed registration, which shall require an insurance self-regulatory organization to demonstrate that--
(A) it has the capacity to--
(i) carry out the purpose of this Act; and
(ii) enforce compliance by its members with the provisions of this Act, applicable regulations, and the rules of the organization; and
(B) its operating rules--
(i) assure a fair representation of its members in the selection of its directors and the administration of its affairs;
(ii) provide for the equitable allocation of fees, dues, and other charges among its members;
(iii) provide for the organization to take appropriate disciplinary actions against members, including the revocation of membership status, for violations of this Act, the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, or the operating rules of the organization; and
(iv) include procedures for members that are subject to disciplinary actions to obtain review of such actions by the Commissioner;
(3) the procedures and standards the Commissioner shall follow in reviewing, approving, abrogating, or modifying any new operating rule or any amendment to an existing operating rule that is proposed by an insurance self-regulatory organization, which shall include procedures for public notice and comment on such rule or amendment;
(4) the procedures and standards the Commissioner shall follow in abrogating, modifying, or adding to the operating rules of an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(5) the procedures and standards the Commissioner shall follow in reviewing, approving, abrogating, or modifying any disciplinary action by an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(6) the procedures and standards the Commissioner shall follow in removing, suspending, or baring any individual from serving as an officer or director of an insurance self-regulatory organization;
(7) the procedures and standards the Commissioner shall follow in suspending or revoking the registration of an insurance self-regulatory organization; and
(8) such other matters as the Commissioner determines appropriate to ensure and protect the public interest and the interests of policyholders.
(a) In General- The Commissioner may employ such examiners, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, and other employees as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
(b) Compensation- The Commissioner shall fix the compensation and number of employees of the Office without regard to chapter 51 or subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code.
(c) Additional Compensation- The Commissioner may provide additional compensation and benefits to employees of the Office if the same type of compensation or benefits are then being provided by any Federal banking agency or, if not then being provided, could be provided by any such agency under applicable provisions of law or regulation. In setting and adjusting the total amount of compensation and benefits for employees of the Office, the Commissioner shall consult, and seek to maintain comparability with, the Federal banking agencies.
(d) Acting Commissioner- The Commissioner shall designate an employee of the Office to serve as the Acting Commissioner during the absence or disability of the Commissioner.
(e) Delegation of Powers-
(1) EMPLOYEES AND OTHERS- Unless otherwise prohibited by this Act, the Commissioner may delegate to any employee, representative, or agent any power of the Commissioner.
(2) SELF-REGULATORY ORGANIZATIONS- Unless otherwise prohibited by this Act, the Commissioner may, by regulation, delegate to any insurance self-regulatory organization any power of the Commissioner in accordance with the terms of section 1106.
(B) FOREIGN INSURANCE REGULATORS- The Commissioner may provide appropriate technical assistance to, and cooperation with, individual foreign insurance regulators and regional and global regulatory organizations in insurance matters affecting international commerce, including--
(i) the development and implementation of international regulatory standards; and
(ii) the development and implementation of bilateral and multilateral mutual recognition agreements on the licensing of insurance companies and insurance producers.
(C) CONSULTATION AND COOPERATION- In exercising the authority granted under subparagraphs (A) and (B), the Commissioner--
(i) shall consult and cooperate with the Executive Office of the President and the United States Trade Representative; and
(ii) may include a representative of any interested State insurance regulators as the Commissioner determines to be appropriate.
(6) INDEPENDENCE IN CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY AND RECOMMENDATIONS- Section 111 of Public Law 93-495 (12 U.S.C. 250) is amended by inserting `the Commissioner of National Insurance,' after `the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision,'.
(c) GAO Audit- The Commissioner shall make available to the Comptroller General of the United States all books and records necessary to audit all of the activities of the Office.
(A) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner shall receive compensation at the rate prescribed by law under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code, for positions at level III of the Executive Schedule.
(B) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT- Section 5314 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting `Commissioner of National Insurance, Department of the Treasury.' as a new item after `Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.'.
(b) Powers of the Commissioner-
(1) IN GENERAL-
(A) POWERS- The Commissioner shall--
(i) oversee the organization, incorporation, operation, regulation, and supervision of national insurers and national agencies;
(ii) issue charters and licenses for national insurers and national agencies;
(iii) license, regulate, and supervise federally licensed insurance producers other than national agencies; and
(iv) have exclusive authority to determine whether a person subject to this Act has complied with the Act or the application of any State law to matters regulated under this Act, including the determination of any complaint raised by any person.
(B) FINAL AGENCY ACTION- A determination of the Commissioner under subparagraph (A)(iv) shall be the final agency action for purposes of judicial review of that action.
(A) ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS AND OTHER ACTIONS- The Commissioner may issue such rules, regulations, orders, and interpretations as the Commissioner determines to be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.
(B) AUTONOMY- The Secretary of the Treasury may not delay or prevent the issuance of any rule, regulation, order, or interpretation by the Commissioner, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law.
(C) NO DELEGATION PERMITTED- The Commissioner may not delegate any authority conferred under subparagraph (A) to any insurance self-regulatory organization.
(3) LITIGATION AUTHORITY-
(A) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner may sue and be sued, complain and defend, and otherwise litigate, in the Commissioner's name and through the Commissioner's own attorney, in any Federal or State court, other than the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Commissioner shall be represented by the Solicitor General of the United States.
(B) ENFORCEMENT- The Commissioner may apply to the United States district court for the jurisdiction in which the main office of a national insurer or national agency is located, or in which any other federally licensed insurance producer or other person is located, for the enforcement of any effective and outstanding rule, regulation, order, or interpretation issued pursuant to this Act.
(4) CONSULTATION WITH STATE INSURANCE REGULATORS- The Commissioner may, as appropriate, consult with State insurance regulators responsible for the supervision of States insurers, State insurance agencies, and State licensed insurance producers regarding regulatory and supervisory matters of common interest.
(5) INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION AND COOPERATION-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner of National Insurance shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among individuals who are citizens of the United States.
(2) TERM- The Commissioner shall be appointed for a term of 5 years.
(3) VACANCY- A vacancy in the position of the Commissioner, which occurs before the expiration of the term for which the Commissioner was appointed shall be filled in the manner established under paragraph (1). The Commissioner appointed to fill the vacancy shall be appointed only for the remainder of the term of the preceding Commissioner.
(4) SERVICE AFTER TERM- An individual may serve as the Commissioner after the expiration of the term for which appointed until the earlier of--
(A) such time as a successor has been appointed; or
(B) 1 year after the expiration of the individual's term.
(5) PROHIBITION ON FINANCIAL INTERESTS- The Commissioner may not have a direct or indirect financial interest in any national insurer, national agency, or other federally licensed insurance producer, except that the Commissioner may own, directly or indirectly, or may have a direct or indirect beneficial interest in any insurance policy written or sold by a national insurer or national agency.
(6) OVERSIGHT- The Commissioner shall be subject to the general oversight of the Secretary of the Treasury, who may not intervene in any matter or proceeding before the Commissioner unless otherwise specifically provided by law.
(A) become effective not earlier than 10 days from the date of service upon the national insurer; and
(B) unless set aside, limited, or suspended by a court in proceedings authorized under paragraph (4), remain effective and enforceable until the earlier of--
(i) the effective date of an order under subsection (c)(2); or
(ii) the date on which the Commissioner determines that there is insufficient evidence to revoke or restrict a Federal license under this subsection.
(4) JUDICIAL REVIEW-
(A) IN GENERAL- During the 10-day period beginning on the date on which a temporary order has been issued under paragraph (1), the national insurer may apply to a court described in subparagraph (B) for an injunction setting aside, limiting, or suspending the enforcement, operation, or effectiveness of such order.
(B) JURISDICTION- The United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States district court for the judicial district in which the main office of the national insurer is located shall have jurisdiction to issue an injunction under this paragraph.
(f) Decision To Suspend, Restrict, or Revoke-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided under paragraph (2), any decision by the Commissioner to suspend, restrict, or revoke a Federal license under this section shall be made by the Commissioner and may not be delegated.
(2) EXCEPTION- The Commissioner may, by order, designate an employee of the Office who may make a decision described in paragraph (1), if the Commissioner is not able to act by reason of recusal or is otherwise disqualified from acting.
(g) Judicial Review- Any national insurer whose Federal license has been revoked or restricted by order of the Commissioner under this section shall have the right of judicial review of such order only to the same extent as provided for the review of orders under section 1148.
(a) In General- The Commissioner may cause any and all records, papers, or documents kept by the Office or in the possession or custody of the Office to be--
(1) photographed or microphotographed or otherwise reproduced upon film; or
(2) preserved in any electronic medium or format which is capable of--
(A) being read or scanned by computer; and
(B) being reproduced from such electronic medium or format by printing any other form or reproduction of electronically stored data.
(b) Treatment as Original Records- Any photographs, microphotographs, or photographic film or copies thereof described in subsection (a)(1) or reproduction or electronically stored data described in subsection (a)(2) shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes, including introduction in evidence in all State and Federal courts or administrative agencies, and shall be admissible to prove any act, transaction, occurrence, or event therein recorded.
(c) Authority of the Commissioner- Any photographs, microphotographs, or photographic film or copies thereof described in subsection (a)(1) or reproduction of electronically stored data described in subsection (a)(2) shall be preserved in such manner as the Commissioner shall prescribe, and the original records, papers, or documents may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of, as the Commissioner may direct.