The Chief Financial Officer must appoint a consumer advocate who must represent the general public of the state before the department and the office. The consumer advocate must report directly to the Chief Financial Officer, but is not otherwise under the authority of the department or of any employee of the department. The consumer advocate has such powers as are necessary to carry out the duties of the office of consumer advocate, including, but not limited to, the powers to:
(1) Recommend to the department or office, by petition, the commencement of any proceeding or action; appear in any proceeding or action before the department or office; or appear in any proceeding before the Division of Administrative Hearings relating to subject matter under the jurisdiction of the department or office.
(2) Have access to and use of all files, records, and data of the department or office.
(3) Examine rate and form filings submitted to the office, hire consultants as necessary to aid in the review process, and recommend to the department or office any position deemed by the consumer advocate to be in the public interest.
(4) Prepare an annual report card for each authorized personal residential property insurer, on a form and using a letter-grade scale developed by the commission by rule, which grades each insurer based on the following factors:
(a) The number and nature of consumer complaints, as a market share ratio, received by the department against the insurer.
(b) The disposition of all complaints received by the department.
(c) The average length of time for payment of claims by the insurer.
(d) Any other factors the commission identifies as assisting policyholders in making informed choices about homeowner’s insurance.
(5) Prepare an annual budget for presentation to the Legislature by the department, which budget must be adequate to carry out the duties of the office of consumer advocate.