(1) There is established an insurance fraud program within the office of the insurance commissioner. The commissioner may employ supervisory, legal, and investigative personnel for the program, who must be qualified by training and experience in the areas of detection, investigation, or prosecution of fraud in which the insurance industry is a victim. The chief of the fraud program is a full-time position that is appointed by the commissioner. The chief serves at the pleasure of the commissioner. The commissioner shall provide office space, equipment, supplies, investigators, clerical staff, and other staff that are necessary for the program to carry out its duties and responsibilities under this chapter.
(2) The commissioner may fund one or more state patrol officers to work with the insurance fraud program and the funding for the officers must be paid out of the budget of the insurance fraud program.
(3) The commissioner may fund one or more assistant attorneys general and support staff to work with the insurance fraud program and the funding for the assistant attorneys general and support staff must be paid out of the budget of the insurance fraud program.
(4) The commissioner may make grants to or reimburse local prosecuting attorneys to assist in the prosecution of insurance fraud. The grants must be paid out of the budget of the insurance fraud program. The commissioner may investigate and seek prosecution of crimes involving insurance fraud upon the request of or with the concurrence of the county prosecuting attorney of the jurisdiction in which the offense has occurred. Before such a prosecution, the commissioner and the county in which the offense occurred shall reach an agreement regarding the payment of all costs, including expert witness fees, and defense attorneys' fees associated with any such prosecution.
(5) Staff levels for this program, until June 30, 2010, shall not exceed 8.0 full-time equivalents.