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General Laws

Section 113D. Any person aggrieved by the issue by any company, or an agent thereof on its behalf, of a written notice purporting to cancel a motor vehicle liability policy or bond, both as defined in section thirty-four A of chapter ninety, except a notice of cancellation for non-payment of premium on such policy or bond insuring a motor vehicle registered as a taxicab or for public livery use, or by the refusal of any company, or an agent thereof on its behalf, to issue such a policy or to execute such a bond as surety, may, at any time prior to the intended effective date of cancellation expressed in such notice, or within ten days after such a refusal, file a written complaint with the commissioner, unless he has secured a certificate, as defined in said section thirty-four A, from another company. The complaint shall be in such form and contain such information, including the address of the complainant, as the commissioner may prescribe. The complaint, if it relates to the issue of a notice of cancellation, shall specify the registration number of the motor vehicle or trailer covered by the policy or bond and the said intended effective date of cancellation or, if it relates to a refusal as aforesaid, the date thereof. The board of appeal on motor vehicle liability policies and bonds, hereinafter called the board, may allow such complaint to be amended.

The commissioner shall cause the other members of the board to be notified of the complaint and written notice to be given to the parties of the time and place of the hearing thereon, which time shall be not less than five days from the filing of the complaint, unless the parties agree in writing that the hearing may be held sooner.

If the complaint relates to the cancellation of such a policy or bond, the filing of the complaint shall operate to continue the policy or bond in full force and effect, but not beyond its date of expiration in any case, pending the finding and order of the board, and pending the decree of the superior court or a justice thereof if an appeal from such finding and order is taken as hereinafter provided; and the commissioner shall cause a copy of such complaint, attested in such manner as he may prescribe, forthwith to be sent to the company.

A complaint may allege that a cancellation is invalid, or improper and unreasonable, or both, or that a refusal to issue or execute such a policy or bond is improper and unreasonable. The board shall after due hearing forthwith make a finding in respect to the issue or issues raised by the complaint, and it may also, in any case, make a finding as to whether or not the complainant is a proper and suitable person to whom to issue such a policy or on behalf of whom to execute such a bond as surety. The board shall in all cases enter, in such form as it may prescribe, an appropriate order. If the board finds in favor of the company in the case of such a cancellation, the order shall, unless the policy or bond has expired, affirm the cancellation and specify the date, which shall be ten days from the date of the filing of a memorandum of the finding and order in the office of the commissioner as hereinafter provided, on which the cancellation shall be effective; or if the complaint is withdrawn on or subsequent to the cancellation date shown in the insurance company cancellation notice, the order shall dismiss the said complaint and specify the effective date of cancellation, which shall be ten days from the date of the filing of the memorandum of the finding and order in the office of the commissioner of insurance; but, if the policy or bond will expire on or before the termination of a period of ten days from said date of filing, the order shall specify a date prior to such expiration, or the board may dispense with such a specification.

The commissioner, as soon as may be after the rendition thereof, shall cause a written memorandum of all findings and the orders entered thereon signed by the assenting members of the board to be filed in his office as a public record, and he shall on the date of said filing cause a copy of the finding and order, duly attested by the board or a member of the secretary thereof, with the date of said filing endorsed thereon, to be sent to each of the parties.

Any person or company aggrieved by any finding or order of the board, other than a finding that the complainant is or is not a suitable and proper person to whom to issue such a policy or on behalf of whom to execute such a bond as surety, may, within ten days after the filing of the memorandum thereof in the office of the commissioner, unless the policy or bond has expired or will expire prior to the expiration of said period, and any person or company aggrieved by any finding of the board that a complainant is or is not a suitable and proper person as aforesaid may, in any case, within said period, appeal therefrom to the superior court or any justice thereof, in any county in case of an appeal by any complainant, and in the county in which the complainant resides in case of an appeal by the company. The appellant shall file with his appeal a duly certified copy of the complaint and of the finding and order thereon, and, if the appeal is taken from a finding and order of the board in respect to a cancellation, the clerk of the court shall forthwith upon the filing of such an appeal, give written notice of the filing thereof to the appellee. The court or justice shall, after such notice to the parties as it or he deems reasonable, give a summary hearing on such appeal and shall have jurisdiction in equity to review all questions of fact and law, and to affirm or reverse such finding or order and may make any appropriate decree. The court or justice may allow such complaint, finding or order to be amended. The decision of the court or justice shall be final. If the court or justice finds in favor of the company in the case of such a cancellation, the decree shall, unless the policy or bond has expired, affirm the cancellation and specify a date not earlier than five days from the entry thereof, on which the cancellation shall become effective; but, if the policy or bond will expire on or before the termination of a period of five days from such entry, the decree shall specify a date prior to such expiration, or the court or justice may dispense with such a specification. The clerk shall, within two days after the entry thereof, send an attested copy of the decree to each of the parties and the commissioner. The court or justice may make such order as to costs as it or he deems equitable. The superior court may make reasonable rules to secure prompt hearings on such appeals and a speedy disposition thereof.

The attested copy of a complaint, a finding and order of the board or a decree of the superior court, or a justice thereof, may be sent to the complainant, to the company and to said registrar by registered mail, postage prepaid, and any notice required by this section may be sent by mail, postage prepaid, addressed, in the case of the complainant, to his address specified in the complaint and, in the case of the company, to its last home office address appearing on the records of the commissioner, or, in the case of a company of a foreign country, to its resident manager in the United States, at the last address appearing on said records, or to such other person as may previously have been designated by the company by a written notice filed in the office of the commissioner.

If a company, within ten days after receipt of an attested copy of a finding and order of the board in favor of the complainant in case of a refusal to issue such a policy or to execute such a bond as surety, if no appeal therefrom has been taken as hereinbefore provided, or, if such an appeal has been taken, within five days after the entry of a decree of the superior court, or a justice thereof, affirming such a finding and order, fails to comply with said order or decree, or, if a company after receipt of an attested copy of a finding and order of the board in favor of the complainant in case of a cancellation of such a policy or bond, if no appeal therefrom has been taken as hereinbefore provided, or, if such an appeal has been taken, after the entry of a decree of the superior court, or a justice thereof, affirming such a finding and order, refuses to abide by such order or decree, the commissioner, after such inquiry as he may deem expedient, shall, in the case of a foreign company, revoke or suspend the license issued to it under section one hundred and fifty-one and the licenses issued to all of its agents under section one hundred and sixty-three, as provided in and subject to all the provisions of section five, until it shall comply with such order or decree and, in case of a domestic company, he shall apply to the supreme judicial court for an injunction, and such court shall have jurisdiction to restrain such company from the further transaction of its business until it shall comply with such order or decree.

Any person aggrieved by the cancellation of such a policy or bond may file a written complaint with the commissioner within ten days thereafter, unless he has secured a certificate, as defined in section thirty-four A of chapter ninety, from another company. Such complaint, and all proceedings, findings and orders thereon, appeals therefrom and decrees on such appeals shall, except as hereinafter provided, be subject to all the foregoing provisions of this section which are applicable in case a person is aggrieved by the issue of a notice of cancellation. The filing of such a complaint shall not affect the operation of the cancellation. The commissioner shall not transmit an attested copy of such a complaint to the registrar of motor vehicles. If the board finds in favor of the complainant on such a complaint, the order shall, unless the policy or bond will sooner expire, effect the reinstatement of the policy or bond on a date to be specified in such order which shall not be earlier than the date on which the written memorandum of the finding and order is filed in the office of the commissioner, and the policy or bond shall again be in full force and effect from the date so specified, but not beyond its date of expiration in any case, pending the decree of the superior court or a justice thereof if the company takes an appeal from such a finding and order. Such a decree reversing a finding and order of the board in favor of the company on such a complaint shall order that the policy or bond be reinstated, and such a decree reversing a finding and order in favor of the complainant shall order that the policy or bond be cancelled; and such a decree of reinstatement or cancellation shall, unless the policy or bond has expired or will sooner expire, specify a date not earlier than five days from the entry thereof, upon which the reinstatement or cancellation shall be effective.

The municipal court of the city of Boston, and the justices thereof, shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the superior court, and the justices thereof, of all proceedings under this section relating to appeals from decisions of the board of appeal on motor vehicle liability policies and bonds, and for such purpose the municipal court of the city of Boston shall have the same power and authority as the superior court; provided, however, that in case of any appeal by the insurance company from the finding or order of the board to the municipal court of the city of Boston, said appeal may, if the complainant does not reside in Suffolk county, upon motion of the complainant, be transferred to and heard by the superior court in the county in which the complainant resides.

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