(a) Workpapers are the records kept by the independent certified public accountant of the procedures followed, the tests performed, the information obtained, and the conclusions reached pertinent to the accountant's audit of the financial statements of an insurer. Workpapers may include audit planning documentation, work programs, analyses, memoranda, letters of confirmation and representation, abstracts of company documents and schedules or commentaries prepared or obtained by the independent certified public accountant in the course of his or her audit of the financial statements of an insurer and which support the accountant's opinion.
(b) Every insurer required to file an audited financial report pursuant to this article shall require the accountant to make available for review by the commissioner all workpapers prepared in the conduct of the accountant's audit and any communications related to the audit between the accountant and the insurer, at the offices of the insurer, at the insurance department or at any other reasonable place designated by the commissioner. The insurer shall require that the accountant retain the audit workpapers and communications until the commissioner has filed a report of examination, as required by section nine, article two of this chapter, covering the period of the audit but no longer than seven years from the date of the audit report.
(c) In the conduct of the aforementioned periodic review by the commissioner, it shall be agreed that copies of pertinent audit workpapers may be made and retained by the commissioner. Reviews by the commissioner shall be considered investigations and all workpapers and communications obtained during the course of such investigations shall be afforded the same confidentiality as other examination workpapers generated by the commissioner.