Heard October 4, 2018.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January
case was heard by Janet L. Sanders, J., on motions
for summary judgment.
L. Ashinoff, of New York (Carter White, of New York, _&
Dean Richlin also present) for the plaintiff.
Timothy J. Casey, Assistant Attorney General, for the
Present: Green, C.J., Hanlon, & Maldonado, JJ.
plaintiff, Genworth Life Insurance Company (Genworth),
appeals from a decision of a Superior Court judge granting
summary judgment for the Commissioner of Insurance
(commissioner)- The judge concluded that Genworth had not
followed the proper procedure to secure approval for proposed
rate increases for long-term care insurance. We affirm.
December 2012, Genworth filed a request to increase very
substantially the rates of its long-term care insurance
policies. Each policy at issue provided that the premiums may
not be increased unless "approved by the Massachusetts
Commissioner of Insurance." In a bulletin released in
2008 (2008-08 bulletin), the commissioner announced that,
beginning January 1, 2009, all filings by insurance carriers
doing business in Massachusetts must be made using the
Division of Insurance's (division) system for electronic
rate and form filing (SERFF). As the division explained in the
2008-08 bulletin, "The use of SERFF improves the
Division's ability to review filings, communicate with
insurance carriers, and prepare public records because it
utilizes a paperless environment in which all submitted
materials are stored instantly in a central location and in a
permits the insurance carrier to request a specific
implementation date for a rate increase that is no sooner
than thirty days after the filing. If no date is requested,
the effective, or implementation, "[d]ate will be the
date the filing is placed on file or approved." At any
time, an insurer may change a rate increase from no date for
implementation to a specified implementation date by giving
proper notice of such action to the division through SERFF.
judge determined that "[t]here is no dispute that
Genworth was very familiar with SERFF and the rules that
surrounded it." In fact, Genworth filed its 2012 request
for rate increases through SERFF. In that filing, Genworth
requested that the proposed increases become effective
"on approval." Genworth, at least twice, amended
its filings through SERFF to change the requested rate
increase, but never made any filing through SERFF that sought
a specific deadline for the implementation of its requested
the rate increase request was filed, representatives of the
division and Genworth engaged in negotiations and other
exchanges until July 26, 2016, when the parties met again and
Genworth expressed frustration about the delays in the
process. On October 21, 2016, Genworth sent letters to the
commissioner through e-mail and Federal Express, but not
through SERFF.  Each letter stated that it constituted
formal notice that Genworth's proposed rates would take
effect on November 21, 2016, ...