(A) As used in this section:
(1) "Laws of this state relating to insurance" include but are not limited to Chapter 1751. notwithstanding section 1751.08 , Chapter 1753., Title XXXIX, sections 5725.18 to 5725.25 , and Chapter 5729. of the Revised Code. Sections 4717.31 , 4717.33 , 4717.34 , 4717.35 , and 4717.37 of the Revised Code are "laws of this state relating to insurance" to the extent those sections apply to insurance companies or insurance agents.
(B) Whenever it appears to the superintendent of insurance, from the superintendent's files, upon complaint or otherwise, that any person has engaged in, is engaged in, or is about to engage in any act or practice declared to be illegal or prohibited by the laws of this state relating to insurance, or defined as unfair or deceptive by such laws, or when the superintendent believes it to be in the best interest of the public and necessary for the protection of the people in this state, the superintendent or anyone designated by the superintendent under the superintendent's official seal may do any one or more of the following:
(1) Require any person to file with the superintendent, on a form that is appropriate for review by the superintendent, an original or additional statement or report in writing, under oath or otherwise, as to any facts or circumstances concerning the person's conduct of the business of insurance within this state and as to any other information that the superintendent considers to be material or relevant to such business;
(2) Administer oaths, summon and compel by order or subpoena the attendance of witnesses to testify in relation to any matter which, by the laws of this state relating to insurance, is the subject of inquiry and investigation, and require the production of any book, paper, or document pertaining to such matter. A subpoena, notice, or order under this section may be served by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the subpoena, notice, or order is returned because of inability to deliver, or if no return is received within thirty days of the date of mailing, the subpoena, notice, or order may be served by ordinary mail. If no return of ordinary mail is received within thirty days after the date of mailing, service shall be deemed to have been made. If the subpoena, notice, or order is returned because of inability to deliver, the superintendent may designate a person or persons to effect either personal or residence service upon the witness. Service of any subpoena, notice, or order and return may also be made in any manner authorized under the Rules of Civil Procedure. Such service shall be made by an employee of the department designated by the superintendent, a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, an attorney, or any person authorized by the Rules of Civil Procedure to serve process.
In the case of disobedience of any notice, order, or subpoena served on a person or the refusal of a witness to testify to a matter regarding which the person may lawfully be interrogated, the court of common pleas of the county where venue is appropriate, on application by the superintendent, may compel obedience by attachment proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court, or a refusal to testify therein. Witnesses shall receive the fees and mileage allowed by section 119.094 of the Revised Code. All such fees, upon the presentation of proper vouchers approved by the superintendent, shall be paid out of the appropriation for the contingent fund of the department of insurance. The fees and mileage of witnesses not summoned by the superintendent or the superintendent's designee shall not be paid by the state.
(3) In a case in which there is no administrative procedure available to the superintendent to resolve a matter at issue, request the attorney general to commence an action for a declaratory judgment under Chapter 2721. of the Revised Code with respect to the matter.
(4) Initiate criminal proceedings by presenting evidence of the commission of any criminal offense established under the laws of this state relating to insurance to the prosecuting attorney of any county in which the offense may be prosecuted. At the request of the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general may assist in the prosecution of the violation with all the rights, privileges, and powers conferred by law on prosecuting attorneys including, but not limited to, the power to appear before grand juries and to interrogate witnesses before grand juries.
Effective Date: 10-01-1998; 2008 HB525 07-01-2009; 2008 SB196 07-06-2009