Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 3. Policy Provisions

Minimum Policy Language Simplification Standards

33-15-325. Minimum policy language simplification standards. (1) In addition to any other requirements of law, no policy form, except as stated in 33-15-324, may be delivered or issued for delivery in this state on or after the date such form must be approved under 33-15-321 through 33-15-329, unless:

(a) the text achieves a minimum score of 40 on the Flesch reading ease test or an equivalent score on any other comparable test as provided in subsection (3);

(b) it is printed, except for specification pages, schedules, and tables, in not less than 10-point type, 1-point leaded;

(c) the style, arrangement, and overall appearance of the policy give no undue prominence to any portion of the text of the policy or to any endorsements or riders; and

(d) it contains a table of contents or an index of the principal sections of the policy if the policy has more than 3,000 words printed on three or fewer pages of text, or if the policy has more than three pages regardless of the number of words.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a Flesch reading ease test score is measured by the following method:

(a) For policy forms containing 10,000 words or less of text, the entire form is analyzed. For policy forms containing more than 10,000 words, the readability of two 200-word samples per page may be analyzed instead of the entire form. The samples must be separated by at least 20 printed lines.

(b) The number of words and sentences in the text is counted and the total number of words is divided by the total number of sentences. The figure obtained is multiplied by a factor of 1.015.

(c) The total number of syllables is counted and divided by the total number of words. The figure obtained is multiplied by a factor of 84.6.

(d) The sum of the figures computed under subsections (2)(b) and (2)(c) subtracted from 206.835 equals the Flesch reading ease score for the policy form.

(e) For the purposes of subsections (2)(b) through (2)(d), the following procedures are used:

(i) a contraction, hyphenated word, or numbers and letters, if separated by spaces, are counted as one word;

(ii) a unit of words ending with a period, semicolon, or colon, but excluding headings and captions, is counted as a sentence; and

(iii) a syllable means a unit of spoken language consisting of one or more letters of a word as divided by an accepted dictionary. If the dictionary shows two or more equally acceptable pronunciations of a word, the pronunciation containing fewer syllables may be used.

(f) The term "text" as used in this section includes all printed matter except the following:

(i) the name and address of the insurer; the name, number, or title of the policy; the table of contents or index; captions and subcaptions; specification pages, schedules, or tables; and

(ii) policy language which is drafted to conform to the requirements of a federal law, regulation, or agency interpretation; policy language required by a collectively bargained agreement; medical terminology; words which are defined in the policy; and policy language required by law or regulation. The insurer must identify the language or terminology excepted by this subsection and certify in writing that the language or terminology is entitled to be excepted by this subsection.

(3) Any other reading test may be approved by the commissioner for use as an alternative to the Flesch reading ease test if it is comparable in result to the Flesch reading ease test.

(4) Filings subject to this section must be accompanied by a certificate signed by an officer of the insurer stating that it meets the minimum reading ease score on the test used or stating that the score is lower than the minimum required but should be approved in accordance with 33-15-327. To confirm the accuracy of any certification, the commissioner may require the submission of further information to verify the certification in question.

(5) At the option of the insurer, riders, endorsements, applications, and other forms made a part of the policy may be scored as separate forms or as part of the policy with which they may be used.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 302, L. 1981.