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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XXII CORPORATIONS
  • CHAPTER 176 FRATERNAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES
  • Section 44 Domestic societies; visitation and examination; confidentiality and privilege; report and recommendations

Section 44. The commissioner, or any person he may appoint, shall have the power of visitation and examination into the affairs of any domestic society, and he shall make such examination at least once in every three years. He may employ assistants for the purpose of such examination, and he, or any person he may appoint, shall have free access to all books, papers and documents that relate to the business of the society. The minutes of the proceedings of the supreme legislative or governing body and of the board of directors or corresponding body of a society shall be in the English language. In making any such examination the commissioner may summon and qualify as witnesses under oath and examine its officers, agents and employees or other persons in relation to the affairs, transactions and condition of the society. A summary of the report of the commissioner and such recommendations or statements of the commissioner as may accompany such report, shall be read at the first meeting of the board of directors or corresponding body of the society following the receipt thereof, and if directed so to do by the commissioner, shall also be read at the first meeting of the supreme legislative or governing body of the society following the receipt thereof. A copy of the report, recommendations and statements of the commissioner shall be furnished by the society to each member of such board of directors or other governing body.

Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Laws, including clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 and chapter 66, documents, materials or other information, including but not limited to, all working papers and copies thereof created, produced or obtained by or disclosed to the commissioner or any other person in the course of an examination made pursuant to this section or in the course of analysis by the commissioner of the financial condition or market conduct of a domestic society shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be a public record under said clause Twenty-sixth, shall not be subject to subpoena and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action. The commissioner may use the documents, materials or other information in the furtherance of any regulatory or legal action brought as part of the commissioner's official duties.

Documents, materials or other information, including but not limited to, all working papers and copies thereof in the possession or control of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to subpoena and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action if they are:

(i) created, produced, obtained by or disclosed to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries in the course of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries assisting an examination made pursuant to this section or assisting the commissioner in the analysis of the financial condition or market conduct of a domestic society; or

(ii) disclosed to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries pursuant to this section by any member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Neither the commissioner nor any person who received the documents, material or other information while acting under the authority of the commissioner, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries, shall be permitted to testify in any private civil action concerning any confidential documents, materials or information subject to this section.

In order to assist in the performance of the commissioner's duties, the commissioner:

(i) may share documents, materials or other information, including the confidential and privileged documents, materials or information subject to this section, with other state, federal and international regulatory agencies, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries and state, federal and international law enforcement authorities provided that the recipient agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the document, material, communication or other information;

(ii) may receive documents, materials, communications or information, including otherwise confidential and privileged documents, materials or information, from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its affiliates and subsidiaries and regulatory and law enforcement officials of other foreign or domestic jurisdictions and shall maintain as confidential or privileged any document, material or information received with notice or the understanding that it is confidential or privileged under the laws of the jurisdiction that is the source of the document, material or information; and

(iii) may enter into agreements governing sharing and use of information consistent with this section.

No waiver of any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality in the documents, materials or information shall occur as a result of disclosure to the commissioner under this section or as a result of sharing as authorized in this section.

A privilege established under the law of any state or jurisdiction that is substantially similar to the privilege established under this section shall be available and enforced in any proceeding in and in any court of the commonwealth.