(a) Any person required to be licensed under this chapter shall maintain in its offices or such other location as the department shall permit the books, accounts, and records as the department may reasonably require in order to determine whether the person is complying with this chapter and rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter. These books, accounts, and records shall be maintained apart and separate from any other business in which the person is involved.
(b) The department may, by its designated officers and employees, as often as it deems necessary, but at least once every 24 months, investigate and examine the affairs, business, premises, and records of any person required to be licensed under this chapter insofar as they pertain to any business for which a license is required by this chapter.
(c) The department, at its discretion, may:
(1) Cause an examination to be made at the licensee's place of business of the records and transactions of such licensee.
(2) Require the licensee to make his or her records and transactions available to the supervisor at the office of the supervisor.
(d) As the cost of examination, the licensee shall pay the supervisor an examination fee as provided by Section 5-2A-24, which shall be collected and paid into the special fund provided by Section 5-2A-20, and used in the supervision and examination of licensees. Each licensee shall preserve all relevant records for a period of at least three years after making the last entry on any transaction, and the supervisor shall have free access thereto at the licensee's place of business at all reasonable times. If the supervisor has probable cause to believe that a person has engaged in an activity which violates this chapter, the supervisor may compel the production of such books and records of the licensee as he or she has probable cause to believe are relevant to the alleged violation.
(e) If the licensee's records are located outside this state, the licensee may either make them available to the supervisor at a convenient location within this state, or pay the reasonable and necessary expenses for the supervisor or a representative of the supervisor to examine them at the place where they are maintained. The supervisor may designate representatives, including comparable officials of the state in which the records are located, to inspect them on his or her behalf.
(f) Reports of examinations and investigations, all working papers related thereto and the books and records of licensees, are to be held strictly confidential, and may not be produced, reproduced, or otherwise made available by the department to any persons other than those within the department, the licensee, other governmental agencies, and their respective counsel. This subsection does not apply to disclosures in proceedings brought by the supervisor pursuant to this chapter.
(g) A licensee's books and records may be maintained, produced, and reproduced for examination by photostatic, photographic, microphotographic, optical imaging, or by any other generally recognized process for data storage and reproduction.
(h) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit discovery of these materials by and through a lawfully issued subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction.