(1) As often as it deems necessary, the office shall examine each licensed rating organization, each advisory organization, each group, association, carrier, as defined in s. 440.02, or other organization of insurers which engages in joint underwriting or joint reinsurance, and each authorized insurer transacting in this state any class of insurance to which the provisions of chapter 627 are applicable. The examination shall be for the purpose of ascertaining compliance by the person examined with the applicable provisions of chapters 440, 624, 626, 627, and 635.
(2) In lieu of any such examination, the office may accept the report of a similar examination made by the insurance supervisory official of another state.
(3) The examination may be conducted by an independent professional examiner under contract to the office, in which case payment shall be made directly to the contracted examiner by the insurer examined in accordance with the rates and terms agreed to by the office and the examiner.
(4) The reasonable cost of the examination shall be paid by the person examined, and such person shall be subject, as though an insurer, to the provisions of s. 624.320. (6) Based on the findings of a market conduct examination that an insurer has exhibited a pattern or practice of willful violations of an unfair insurance trade practice related to claims handling which caused harm to policyholders, as prohibited by s. 626.9541(1)(i), the office may order an insurer pursuant to chapter 120 to file its claims-handling practices and procedures related to that line of insurance with the office for review and inspection, to be held by the office for the following 36-month period. Such claims-handling practices and procedures are public records and are not trade secrets or otherwise exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). As used in this section, “claims-handling practices and procedures” are any policies, guidelines, rules, protocols, standard operating procedures, instructions, or directives that govern or guide how and the manner in which an insured’s claims for benefits under any policy will be processed. (7) Notwithstanding subsection (1), any authorized insurer transacting property insurance business in this state may be subject to an additional market conduct examination after a hurricane if the insurer:
(a) Is among the top 20 percent of insurers based upon a calculation of the ratio of hurricane-related property insurance claims filed to the number of property insurance policies in force;
(b) Is among the top 20 percent of insurers based upon a calculation of the ratio of consumer complaints made to the department to hurricane-related claims;
(c) Has made significant payments to its managing general agent since the hurricane; or
(d) Is identified by the office as necessitating a market conduct exam for any other reason.
All relevant criteria under this section and s. 624.316 shall be applied to the market conduct examination under this subsection. Such an examination must be initiated within 18 months after the landfall of a hurricane that results in an executive order or a state of emergency issued by the Governor. An examination of an insurer under this subsection must also include an examination of its managing general agent as if it were the insurer.