Monday, March 29, 2010

Massachusetts Appeals Court holds that four year statute of limitations applies to allegation that insurance agency employed unlicensed agent

In Anawan Ins. Agency, Inc. v. Division of Insurance, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 447 (2010), the Division of Insurance alleged that Anawan Insurance Agency paid compensation to Kuntthy Prum at a time that Prum was not licensed as an insurance agent.

The first issue addressed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court was which statute of limitations applied. Mass. Gen. Laws 260 § 5 states that the statute of limitations on actions for penalties or forfeitures is either one or two years. By its terms, that statute does not apply if § 5A applies.

Mass. Gen. Laws 260 § 5A states that the statute of limitations for actions arising on account of violations of "any law intended for the protection of consumers" is four years.

The court held that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 175 § 177, which prohibits payments to unlicensed brokers, is a statute intended to protect consumers, and that therefore the four year statute of limitations applies.

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