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§33-2-4. Authority to take depositions, subpoena witnesses, etc.

(a) For the purpose of any investigation or proceeding under this chapter, the commissioner or any officer designated by him or her may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence and require the production of any books, papers, correspondences, memoranda, agreements or other documents or records which the commissioner considers relevant or material to the inquiry. The commissioner's authority to subpoena witnesses and documents outside the state shall exist to the maximum extent permissible under federal Constitutional law.

(b) Subpoenas may be issued to any person and may require that person, among other things, to:

(1) Testify under oath;

(2) Answer written interrogatories under oath;

(3) Produce documents and tangible things; and

(4) Permit inspection and copying of documents.

(c) Content of subpoena. A subpoena shall:

(1) Describe generally the nature of the investigation;

(2) If the subpoena requires testimony under oath, specify the date, time and place for the taking of testimony;

(3) If the subpoena requires answers to written interrogatories, contain a copy of the written interrogatories;

(4) If the subpoena requires the production of tangible things or documents:

(A) Describe the things and documents to be produced with reasonable specificity; and

(B) Specify a date, time, and place at which the things and documents are to be produced;

(5) Notify the person to whom the subpoena is directed of the obligation to supplement responses;

(6) Advise the person to whom the subpoena is directed that the person may be represented by counsel; and

(7) Identify a member of the office of the Insurance Commissioner who may be contacted in reference to the subpoena.

(d) For subpoenas to corporations and other entities, the following apply:

(1) A subpoena directed to a corporation, partnership or other business entity that requires testimony under oath shall describe with reasonable particularity the subject matter of the testimony;

(2) An entity that receives a subpoena to answer written interrogatories or to testify under oath shall designate one or more of its officers, agents, employees or other authorized persons familiar with the subject matter specified in the subpoena to respond to the subpoena on its behalf;

(3) The persons designated by an entity to respond to a subpoena on its behalf shall answer the interrogatories or testify as to all matters known or reasonably available to the entity; and

(4) A subpoena directed to an entity that requires testimony under oath or answers to written interrogatories shall advise the entity of its obligations under this section.

(e) Effect of other proceedings. The institution or pendency of administrative or judicial proceedings against a person by the commissioner does not relieve the person of his or her obligation to respond to a subpoena issued under this section.

(f) Subpoenas for interrogatories and answers and requests for production of documents or tangible things and answers propounded and obtained under this section pursuant to an investigation are exempted from disclosure under the provisions of article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code, and are not open to public inspection. The commissioner may not disclose facts or information obtained from the investigation except as the official duty of the commissioner requires.

(g) Nothing in this section prohibits the commissioner from providing information or receiving information from any local, state, federal or international law-enforcement authorities, including any prosecuting authority; from complying with subpoenas or other lawful process in criminal proceedings or other action by the state; or from taking action as may otherwise be provided in this article.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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