October 4, 2018
N.E.3d 1020] CIVIL ACTION commenced in the Superior Court
Department on January 9, 2017. The case was heard by Janet L.
Sanders, J., on motions for summary judgment.
Ashinoff, of New York (Carter White, of New York, & Dean
Richlin, Boston, also present) for the plaintiff.
J. Casey, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.
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
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 [126
N.E.3d 1021] carriers doing business in Massachusetts must be
made using the Division of Insurances (division) system for
electronic rate and form filing (SERFF). As the division
explained in the 2008-08 bulletin, "The use of SERFF
improves the Divisions 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 pre-arranged format."
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 ...