The adjutant general is hereby authorized and empowered to negotiate for, secure and adopt for all employees of the adjutant general's department, whether civilian or military and whether paid with state or federal funds, a policy or policies of group insurance written by a carrier or carriers chartered under the laws of this state or the laws of any other state and duly licensed to do business in this state and covering life; health; hospital care; surgical or medical diagnosis, care and treatment; drugs and medicines; remedial care; other medical supplies and services; or any other combination of these; and any other policy or policies under group insurance which in the discretion of the adjutant general bear a reasonable relationship to the foregoing coverages. All premiums and other costs of participation for any such group insurance shall be paid solely by such employees. Whenever such employees shall indicate in writing that they have subscribed to any of the aforesaid insurance plans on a group basis, the adjutant general is hereby authorized and empowered to approve periodic premium deductions from the salary payments due such employees as specified in a written assignment furnished the adjutant general by each such employee subscribing to a group insurance plan, which deductions shall be made by the auditor of the state of West Virginia.
Upon proper requisition of the adjutant general, the auditor shall periodically issue a warrant, payable as specified in the requisition, for the total deductions from the salaries of employees participating in any such group insurance plan. To promote efficiency and economy in making deductions and issuing warrants as provided herein, the auditor is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations specifying the form and the time and manner of presentation of requisitions issued pursuant to this section. When a participating employee shall retire from his employment, he may, if he so elects, and the insurance carrier or carriers agree, remain a member of the group plan by continuing to pay the premium for the coverage involved.
The state treasurer shall be custodian of the funds under the aforesaid group insurance plans, and disbursements from the funds to pay all premiums shall be made only upon warrants signed by the state auditor and the state treasurer.
The adjutant general shall be appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years. He or she shall have the rank of major general, or such other rank as is recognized by federal authority. No person may be appointed adjutant general unless he or she has had at least six years' commissioned service and attained field grade or higher rank in the organized militia of this or some other state or in the armed forces of the United States, or in all combined. The governor shall require the adjutant general to furnish bond as required by law, which bond shall be filed with the auditor of the state.
(b) The adjutant general shall be responsible for the organization, administration, training and supply of the organized militia and shall cause to be procured, prepared and issued to the organizations of the organized militia all necessary books and blanks for reports, records, returns and general administration, and shall, at the expense of the state, cause the military laws, military code and rules and regulations in force to be printed, bound in proper form and distributed, one copy to each commissioned officer, and one each to all the circuit, intermediate and criminal court judges, sheriffs and justices of the peace in the state requiring them and shall procure and supply all necessary textbooks of drill and instruction. He shall keep in his office an accurate account of all state and United States property issued to the state. He shall keep on file in his office all official bonds required by this chapter, the reports and returns of troops and military forces of the state and all other writings and papers which are required to be transmitted to and preserved at the general headquarters of the organized militia.
(c) The adjutant general shall keep records of all service personnel from the state of West Virginia, commissioned or enlisted, in any of the wars of the United States and of individual claims of citizens of West Virginia for service rendered in such wars. He shall assist all persons residing in this state having claims against the United States for pension, bounty or back pay or such claims as have arisen out of, or by reason of, service in any of said wars. To this end he shall cooperate with the agents or attorneys of such claimants, furnish to claimants only all necessary certificates or certified abstracts from, or copies of, records or documents in his office and shall seek in all practicable ways to secure speedy and just action in all claims now pending or which may hereafter be filed: Provided, That any and all of the above services shall be rendered without charge to the claimant. He shall establish and maintain as a part of his office a bureau of records of the services of the West Virginia troops during such wars and shall keep arranged in proper and convenient form all records and papers pertaining thereto.
The adjutant general shall purchase, out of any funds appropriated by the Legislature for such purpose, an adequate public liability insurance covering all members of the organized militia while operating any land motor vehicle possessed or maintained by the organized militia: Provided, That no policy or contract of public liability insurance providing coverage for public liability shall be purchased as provided herein, unless it shall contain a provision or endorsement whereby the company issuing such policy waives, or agrees not to assert as a defense to any claim covered by the terms of such policy, the defense of governmental immunity. In any action against the adjutant general, his officers, agents or employees, in which there is in effect liability insurance coverage in an amount equal to or greater than the amount sued for, the attorney for such adjutant general, the attorney for such insurance carrier, or any other attorney who may appear on behalf of the adjutant general, his agents, officers or employees shall not set up the defense of governmental immunity in any such action. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, under no circumstances whatever shall the jury in any such action be advised directly or indirectly of the existence of any such insurance or of the amount thereof.