Chapter 02 - Insurance Commissioner

Chapter 02 - Insurance Commissioner

29.0201 Appointment-Duties.

(a) The Governor shall appoint the Commissioner of Insurance.

(b) He shall perform all duties imposed upon him by this title and other laws regulating the business of insurance in American Samoa, and shall enforce all provisions and laws.

29.0202 Appointment of deputies and other employees.

The Commissioner may appoint a deputy, who may be delegated all the duties and powers of the Commissioner, and such additional employees as may be necessary for the performance of the functions of his office. Such appointments must be made in accordance with the merit system law.

29.0203 Conflict of interest regulation.

Neither the Commissioner, deputy commissioner, or any employee of the Office of Insurance Commissioner may be a broker, agent, or solicitor, or an officer or employee of an insurer, or in any way, directly or indirectly, participate in or have any financial interest in, or be affiliated with, any insurance business, except as a policyholder or claimant under an insurance policy.

29.0204 Bonds.

The Commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be bonded with a good and sufficient surety, to be approved by the Governor, in an amount determined by the Governor, but not less than $10,000, conditioned that he shall faithfully account for and dispose of any funds and securities received into his custody or control, in accordance with applicable law.

29.0205 Authority and powers.

(a) The Commissioner has all the authority and powers specifically set out in this title, or as may be reasonably implied from the powers conveyed in this section, for the proper administration and enforcement of this title and other laws relating to the business of insurance.

(b) The Commissioner may examine, or cause to be examined, the books, papers and property, and the affairs of any insurer, broker, agent, solicitor, or rating bureau, or any person believed by him to be violating this title or other laws relating to the business of insurance, and generally, he may make such examinations, conduct such inquiries and hold such hearings as are specifically provided for in this title or as are reasonably necessary for the proper discharge of his duties.

(c) In connection with any examination, inquiry, or hearing, the Commissioner may administer oaths, summon and compel the attendance of witnesses, examine under oath all persons having information or believed by him to have information concerning the affairs of any insurer, broker, agent, solicitor, or rating bureau, or any person engaged in organizing, promoting, or forming an insurer, or any person whom the Commissioner believes is violating this title or other laws relating to the business of insurance, and compel that person to produce any books or papers under this custody or control relevant thereto.

(d) Should a person fail to comply with a subpoena issued under this title, or should a party or witness refuse to testify on any matter relevant to the investigation, examination, inquiry or hearing, the Commissioner may apply to the High Court of American Samoa, which shall compel obedience by proceeding for contempt as in the case of the crime of disobedience of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein.

(e) The Commissioner has such additional powers and duties as may be provided by the laws of American Samoa.

(f) The Commissioner is authorized to adopt rules under the Administrative Procedure Act 4.1001 et seq., by which insurers transacting motor vehicle liability insurance shall be required to participate in an equitable, assigned risk arrangement for liability insurance coverage of vehicles used in transportation of passengers for hire, including buses and taxis.

29.0206 Interpretation of order of Commissioner.

(a) Any finding, decision, or order of the Commissioner shall be deemed an order within this title when it is in writing and adversely and directly affects any person.

(b) No order of the Commissioner shall become effective until it has become a final order as provided in subsection (c).

(c) An order of the Commissioner becomes a final order:

(1) when confirmed or amended after a hearing as provided in 29.0207;

(2) if no hearing is requested, then automatically on the tenth day after serving of notice.

29.0207 Cease and desist orders.

(a) Whenever the Commissioner has reason to believe that any person has been engaged or is engaging or is about to engage in any violation of the insurance law, he may issue an order, directed to that person, to discontinue or desist from the violation or violations. The copy of the order forwarded to the person involved must set forth the statement of the specific charges and the fact that the person may request a hearing within 20 days of the date of mailing.

(b) Where a hearing is requested, the Commissioner shall set a date for the hearing to be held 30 days after receipt of the request, and shall give the person involved written notice of the hearing date at least 7 days prior thereto. The person requesting the hearing must establish to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the order should not be complied with. The order becomes final 20 days after the date of mailing unless within the 20-day period the person to whom it is directed files with the Commissioner a written request for a hearing. To the extent applicable and not inconsistent with the foregoing, the provisions of 4.1001 et seq., govern the hearing procedure in any judicial review thereof. Where a hearing has been requested, the Commissioner’s order becomes final at such time as the right to further hearing or review has expired or been exhausted.

(c) No order of the Commissioner under this section, or order of a court to enforce the same, may in any way relieve or absolve any person affected by the order from any liability under any other laws of the territory.

(d) The powers vested in the Commissioner pursuant to this section are supplementary and not in lieu of any other power to suspend or revoke certificates of authority or licenses to enforce any penalty, fines, or forfeitures, authorized by law with respect to any violations for which an order of discontinuance has been issued.

29.0208 Enforcement of orders.

(a) If any person fails to comply with any provision of the insurance law or any order that has become final, or any action taken by the Commissioner, the Commissioner may apply for the enforcement of the order to the High Court of American Samoa. If the court determines that the order was made and served in accordance with this title and is not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, and that the person has failed to comply therewith, the court shall enforce obedience to the order by writ of injunction or otherwise enjoin upon the person compliance with the order.

b) If the Commissioner has reason to believe that any person has violated the insurance law or other law applicable to insurance operations for which criminal prosecution is provided and in his opinion would be in order, he shall give the information relative thereto to the Attorney General, who shall promptly institute such action or proceedings against such person as the information requires or justifies.

29.0209 Inquiries by Commissioner to others.

The Commissioner may address any proper inquiries to any insurer, licensee, or its officers in relation to its activities or conditions or any other matter connected with its transactions. Any person so addressed shall promptly and truthfully reply in writing to the inquiries. The reply shall be verified by an officer of that person if the Commissioner so requires. A reply is subject to the penalties for false or misleading filings.

29.0210 Investigation of persons transacting insurance.

The Commissioner, whenever he deems it advisable in the interest of policyholders or for the public good, shall investigate into the affairs of any person engaged in, proposing to engage in, or claiming or advertising to engage in:

(1) transacting insurance in this territory;

(2) organizing or receiving subscriptions for, or disposing of the stock of, or in any manner taking part in the formation or business of, an insurer; or

(3) holding capital stock of one or more insurers for the purpose of controlling the management thereof as for the trustee or otherwise.

29.0211 Examination of insurers-Audit.

For the purposes of determining its financial condition, ability to fulfill and manner of ful-fillment of its obligation, the nature of its operations, and compliance with the insurance law, the Commissioner shall annually examine every domestic insurer, including an audit of the financial affairs of each insurer. The Commissioner may at any time make an examination of any insurer, or a person holding capital stock of any insurer for the purpose of controlling the management thereof as a voting trustee or otherwise, or both. Examination of an alien insurer shall be limited to its insurance transactions, assets, trust deposits and affairs within American Samoa, except as otherwise required by the Commissioner.

29.0212 Records to be kept.

The Commissioner shall keep and preserve in summary form a full record of all proceedings, including all of his orders, findings and decisions and a full statement of his reasons for arriving at and issuing them.

29.0213 Complaints-Determination of public record.

No complaint made to the Commissioner, or the record thereof, against any person regulated by the insurance law may be deemed a public record or a public writing. Neither the preliminary compliant pursuant to an investigation authorized by the Commissioner nor the record thereof may be a public record or public writing.

Each written and signed complaint received by the Commissioner shall be recorded by the Commissioner, including the subsequent disposition thereof, and maintained for a period of not less than 7 years. The record of the complaint shall be filed whenever applicable both by the name of the insurer and by the name of the agent involved. The Commissioner shall consider the complaint before issuing or continuing any certificate of authority or license of an insurer or agent named in the complaint.

29.0214 False or misleading filings with the Commissioner prohibited.

No person may file or cause to be filed with the Commissioner any article, certificate, report, statement, application or any other information required or permitted to be so filed under the insurance law, which is misleading in any material respect.

29.0215 Request for hearing.

Within 10 days after the serving of notice of any order by the Commissioner, any person adversely and directly affected thereby may request a hearing thereon before the Commissioner. A final order must be made within 10 days after the final closing of the hearing. All hearings must be conducted pursuant to rules set out in 4.1001 et seq.

29.0216 Promulgation of regulations.

Regulations may be promulgated not inconsistent with the law, as may be reasonably necessary or appropriate for the administration of this title and other laws of American Samoa relating to insurance. Each regulation shall be promulgated, amended, or repealed in accordance with 4.1001 et seq.

29.0217 Annual reports.

The Commissioner shall transmit to the Governor and to the Legislature, on or before 1 July, of each year, a report containing a tabulated statement and synopsis of the reports which have been filed in his office regarding the condition of every admitted insurer; the general condition of insurance business in American Samoa; a list of insurers whose business to current date has been terminated and reason for the termination; a detailed statement of the moneys, fees and taxes received by the Commissioner and from what source; and other matters covering insurance for the last preceding calendar year.