Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 3. Policy Provisions

Minimum Policy Simplification Standards

33-15-337. Minimum policy simplification standards. (1) All property and casualty policies subject to 33-15-333 through 33-15-340 must take into consideration the following factors:

(a) use of simple sentence structure, short sentences, and personal style;

(b) use of commonly understood words and everyday conversational language consistent with the policy's standing as a contract;

(c) avoidance of use of technical and legal terms and words with special meanings whenever possible;

(d) minimal reference to other sections or provisions of the policy;

(e) logical organization of text; and

(f) legibility.

(2) The policy must include a table of contents and notice section of important provisions.

(3) Each section must be self-contained and independent. However, general provisions applicable to more than one section may be included in a common section.

(4) The policy, except for declarations pages, schedules, and tables, must be printed in not less than 10-point type, 1-point leaded.

(5) The policy must be printed in a legible type style, with adequate contrast between ink and paper. Captions, headings, and spacings must be used to increase overall legibility.

(6) Policy exclusions may use technical terms, terms with special meanings, and court-interpreted terms to ensure policy clarity.

(7) Technical terms and words with special meanings must be avoided whenever possible.

(8) The policy text must achieve a minimum score of 40 on the Flesch reading ease test, an equivalent score on a comparable test, or a lower score on either if the commissioner finds the policy reasonably easy to read. For purposes of this section, a Flesch reading ease test must be scored by the following method:

(a) For a policy containing 10,000 words or less, the entire policy must be analyzed. For a policy containing more than 10,000 words, the readability of two 100-word samples per page may be analyzed instead. The samples must be separated by at least 20 printed lines.

(b) The total number of words in the text or sample must be divided by the total number of sentences. The figure obtained must be multiplied by 1.015.

(c) The total number of syllables in the text or sample must be divided by the total number of words. The figure obtained must be multiplied by 84.6.

(d) The sum of the figures computed under subsections (8)(b) and (8)(c) subtracted from 206.835 equals the Flesch reading ease test score.

(9) (a) For purposes of subsection (8), the following procedures must be used:

(i) A contraction, hyphenated word, number, and letter, when separated by spaces, are counted as one word.

(ii) A unit of text ending with a period, semicolon, or colon is counted as a sentence.

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

(iv) At the option of the insurer, a form made a part of the policy may be scored separately or as part of the policy.

(b) The term "text", as used in this section, includes all printed matter except:

(i) the name and address of the insurer;

(ii) the name, number, or title of the policy or form;

(iii) the table of contents or index;

(iv) headings and captions; and

(v) declarations pages, schedules, or tables.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 416, L. 1993.