(a) The Commissioner shall have the authority to require and conduct periodic examinations to verify the solvency of funds in the same manner and under the same conditions as insurers are examined under Chapter 2 of Title 33, except that each fund shall be examined at least once each five years. The Commissioner shall have the authority to require information to substantiate that the sponsoring association is engaged in substantial activity for the benefit of its members in accordance with the definitions of Code Section 34-9-151, but that authority is not to be construed as the right to regulate or inspect that association or its members.
(b) The Commissioner is authorized to contract with private examiners to conduct examinations pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section. If employees of the department conduct the examinations, the fund being examined shall pay to the department the reasonable expense of conducting the examination. If contract examiners conduct the examination, the fund being examined shall, at the discretion of the Commissioner, pay the costs so incurred either to the department or to the contracting party. The Commissioner may use appropriated funds to conduct the examinations and shall provide by regulation for matters relative to the conduct of such examinations, including, without limitation, the expenditure of available funds for that purpose.