TITLE 27
Insurance

CHAPTER 27-29
Unfair Competition and Practices

SECTION 27-29-5


§ 27-29-5 Hearings – Witnesses – Appearances – Production of books – Service of process.

(a) Whenever the insurance commissioner shall have reason to believe that any person engaged in the business of insurance in this state has been engaged or is engaging in this state in any unfair method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice, whether or not defined in this chapter, and that a proceeding by the commissioner in respect to the act or practice would be to the interest of the public, the commissioner shall issue and serve upon the person a statement of the charges in that respect and a notice of a hearing on the charges requiring the person to appear in person at a time and place fixed in the notice which shall not be less than ten (10) days after the date of the service of the notice, and notifying the person of his or her right to be represented by counsel at the hearing.

(b) At the time and place fixed for the hearing, the person shall have an opportunity to be heard in person and by counsel, and to show cause why an order should not be made by the insurance commissioner requiring the person to cease and desist from the acts, methods, or practices so complained of. Upon good cause shown the insurance commissioner shall permit any person to intervene, appear, and be heard at the hearing by counsel or in person.

(c) The insurance commissioner upon the hearing shall cause to be made a stenographic record of all of the evidence and all of the proceedings had at the hearing, and shall, upon request, furnish a copy of it to the person charged upon being reimbursed for the reasonable costs of the record. The insurance commissioner, upon the hearing, may administer oaths, examine and cross examine witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence, and shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, and require the production of books, papers, records, correspondence, or other documents which are relevant to the inquiry. In case of the refusal of any person to comply with any subpoena issued under this section or of any witness to testify with respect to any matter concerning which he or she may be lawfully interrogated, the superior court of Providence County, on application of the insurance commissioner, may issue an order requiring the person or witness to comply with the subpoena and/or to testify, and any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as contempt of court; provided, that the person charged shall not be required to testify or produce books, papers, records, correspondence, or other documents, tending to incriminate him or her, and the person's refusal to testify or produce books, papers, records, correspondence, or other documents in the case shall not constitute contempt nor be the basis for an application by the insurance commissioner for an order requiring the person charged to testify or produce books, papers, records, correspondence, or other documents; and provided that a refusal of the person charged to testify or produce books, papers, records, correspondence, or other documents shall be sufficient ground for the suspension or revocation of any license the person has under the insurance laws of this state in the discretion of the insurance commissioner.

(d) Statements of charges, notices, orders, and other processes of the insurance commissioner under this chapter may be served by anyone duly authorized by the insurance commissioner, either in the manner provided by law for service of process in civil actions, or by registering and mailing a copy of it to the person affected by the statement, notice, order, or other process at his or her or its residence or principal office or place of business. The verified return by the person serving the statement, notice, order, or other process setting forth the manner of the service shall be proof of the service, and the return postcard receipt for the statement, notice, order, or other process registered and mailed as stated in this subsection shall be proof of the service of the process.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1958, ch. 53, § 5; P.L. 1993, ch. 180, § 24.)