CHAPTER 699a

READABLE LANGUAGE IN INSURANCE POLICIES

Table of Contents

Sec. 38a-295. (Formerly Sec. 38-68s). Short title: Insurance Plain Language Act.

Sec. 38a-296. (Formerly Sec. 38-68t). Definitions.

Sec. 38a-297. (Formerly Sec. 38-68u). Definition of readable language. Certification.

Sec. 38a-298. (Formerly Sec. 38-68v). Method of measurement for Flesch reading ease test score.

Sec. 38a-299. (Formerly Sec. 38-68w). Policies to be made readable. Effective dates. Approval by commissioner.

Sec. 38a-300. (Formerly Sec. 38-68x). Exemptions.

Secs. 38a-301 to 38a-304. Reserved


Sec. 38a-295. (Formerly Sec. 38-68s). Short title: Insurance Plain Language Act. Sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive, may be cited as the “Insurance Plain Language Act”.

(P.A. 79-300, S. 1.)

History: Sec. 38-68s transferred to Sec. 38a-295 in 1991.

Sec. 38a-296. (Formerly Sec. 38-68t). Definitions. As used in sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive:

(1) “Policy” means any policy, contract, certificate, plan or agreement for life insurance, health insurance, credit life insurance, credit health insurance, annuities, certificates issued pursuant to any group insurance policy, individual personal line dwelling insurance on one to four-family units and personal line automobile insurance designed primarily for personal, family or household needs, delivered or issued for delivery in this state by any company or insurer.

(2) “Company” or “insurer” means any insurance company, fraternal benefit society, nonprofit hospital service corporation, nonprofit medical service corporation, health care center or other institution organized for the purpose of providing insurance.

(3) “Commissioner” means the Insurance Commissioner.

(P.A. 79-300, S. 2; P.A. 80-482, S. 3, 345, 348; P.A. 00-105, S. 2, 5.)

History: P.A. 80-482 abolished the department of business regulation created by P.A. 77-614 and restored insurance division as an independent department with commissioner as its head; Sec. 38-68t transferred to Sec. 38a-296 in 1991; P.A. 00-105 substituted numeric Subdiv. designators for alphabetic designators, effective July 1, 2000.

Sec. 38a-297. (Formerly Sec. 38-68u). Definition of readable language. Certification. (a) For the purposes of sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive, a policy shall be deemed readable if: (1) The text achieves a minimum score of forty-five on the Flesch reading ease test as computed in section 38a-298 or an equivalent score on any other test comparable in result and approved by the commissioner, (2) it is printed, except for specification pages, schedules and tables, in not less than ten-point type, one-point leaded, of a height and style specified by the commissioner in regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, (3) it uses layout and spacing which separate the paragraphs from each other and from the border of the paper, (4) it has section titles captioned in boldface type or which otherwise stand out significantly from the text, (5) it avoids the use of unnecessarily long, complicated or obscure words, sentences, paragraphs or constructions, (6) 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 (7) it contains a table of contents or an index of the principal sections of the policy, if the policy has more than three thousand words or if the policy has more than three pages. To be deemed readable, each policy of individual health insurance shall include a separate outline of coverage showing the major coverage, benefit, exclusion and renewal provisions of the policy in readily understandable terms, provided the policy shall take precedence over the outline of coverage.

(b) The commissioner may authorize a lower score than the Flesch reading ease score required in subsection (a) whenever he finds that a lower score (1) will provide a more accurate reflection of the readability of a policy form; (2) is warranted by the nature of a particular policy form or type or class of policy forms; or (3) is the result of language which is used to conform to the requirements of any state or federal law, regulation or governmental agency.

(c) Filings subject to this section shall be accompanied by a certification signed by an officer of the insurer stating that it meets the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. Such certification shall state that the policy meets the minimum reading ease score on the test used or that the score is lower than the minimum required but should be approved in accordance with subsection (b) of this section. The commissioner may require the submission of further information to verify any certification.

(d) Any non-English-language policy shall be deemed to be in compliance with subsection (a) of this section if the insurer certifies that such policy is translated from an English-language policy which complies with subsection (a).

(P.A. 79-300, S. 3; P.A. 81-110, S. 1, 3; P.A. 84-188.)

History: P.A. 81-110 provided that a policy is readable if the required type size is of a height and style specified by the commissioner in regulations; P.A. 84-188 amended Subsec. (a) to require that each policy of individual health insurance shall include a separate outline of coverage, explaining the major terms of the policy; Sec. 38-68u transferred to Sec. 38a-297 in 1991.

Cited. 225 C. 165. Cited. 239 C. 537.

Sec. 38a-298. (Formerly Sec. 38-68v). Method of measurement for Flesch reading ease test score. (a) For the purposes of section 38a-297, a Flesch reading ease test score shall be measured by the following method:

(1) For policy forms containing ten thousand words or less of text, the entire form shall be analyzed. For policy forms containing more than ten thousand words, the readability of two two hundred word samples per page may be analyzed instead of the entire form. The samples shall be separated by at least twenty printed lines;

(2) The total number of words in the text shall be counted and divided by the total number of sentences. The figure obtained shall be multiplied by a factor of 1.015;

(3) The total number of syllables shall be counted and divided by the total number of words; the figure obtained shall be multiplied by a factor of 84.6;

(4) The sum of the figures computed under (2) and (3) subtracted from 206.835 equals the Flesch reading ease score for the policy form.

(b) For purposes of subdivisions (2), (3) and (4) of subsection (a) of this section, the following procedures shall be used:

(1) A contraction, hyphenated word or numerals and letters, when separated by spaces, shall be counted as one word;

(2) A unit of words ending with a period, semicolon or colon, excluding headings and captions, shall be counted as a sentence;

(3) A syllable is a unit of spoken language consisting of one or more letters of a word as divided by an accepted dictionary;

(4) Where the dictionary shows two or more equally acceptable pronunciations of a word, the pronunciation containing fewer syllables shall be used;

(5) Numerals when separated by spaces may be counted as one syllable.

(c) The term “text” as used in this section includes all printed matter except the following:

(1) 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;

(2) Policy language required by any collectively bargained agreement;

(3) Any medical terminology;

(4) Words which are defined in the policy; and

(5) Any policy language required by state or federal law, regulation or governmental agency, provided the insurer identifies the language or terminology excepted by this subdivision and certifies, in writing, that the language or terminology is entitled to be excepted under this subdivision. At the option of the insurer, riders, endorsements, application and other forms made a part of the policy may be scored as separate forms or as part of the policy with which they are to be used.

(P.A. 79-300, S. 4; P.A. 05-29, S. 7.)

History: Sec. 38-68v transferred to Sec. 38a-298 in 1991; P.A. 05-29 made a technical change in Subsec. (b).

Cited. 225 C. 165.

Sec. 38a-299. (Formerly Sec. 38-68w). Policies to be made readable. Effective dates. Approval by commissioner. (a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of section 38a-300, policies shall be made readable in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of section 38a-297 as follows:

(1) Individual personal line automobile and individual personal line dwelling policy forms filed on or after January 1, 1980, shall be readable. No policy forms providing such coverage shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state on or after January 1, 1981, unless approved by the commissioner as readable;

(2) Individual life, health, annuity and group and individual credit life and health policies filed on or after July 1, 1980, shall be readable. No such policy forms providing such coverage shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state on or after July 1, 1981, unless approved by the commissioner as readable;

(3) Group life, health and annuity forms and certificates of life insurance and health insurance filed on or after July 1, 1981, shall be readable. No policy forms or certificates providing such coverage shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state on or after July 1, 1983, unless approved by the commissioner as readable;

(4) No group life, health and annuity form, or certificate issued pursuant thereto, which are delivered or issued for delivery prior to July 1, 1983, shall be renewed on or after July 1, 1983, unless such form or certificate has been filed with and approved by the commissioner as readable.

(b) Any policy form which has been authorized for issuance by the commissioner and which meets the readability requirements of sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive, need not be refiled under subsection (a) of this section, provided the insurer files in lieu thereof a list of such forms identified by form number and accompanied by a certificate as to each such form in the manner provided in subsection (c) of section 38a-297.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section and subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of section 38a-300, the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 38a-297 shall apply to all policies filed on or after January 1, 1982, to all individual policies delivered or issued for delivery in this state on or after July 1, 1982, and to all group policies and certificates delivered in this state on or after July 1, 1983.

(d) The commissioner may, in his sole discretion, extend the dates in subsection (a) of this section, for periods of time not exceeding one year.

(P.A. 79-300, S. 5; P.A. 81-110, S. 2, 3.)

History: P.A. 81-110 specified effective dates for the applicability of the provisions of section 38-68u(a)(2) in new Subsec. (d) and relettered former Subsec. (c) accordingly; Sec. 38-68w transferred to Sec. 38a-299 in 1991.

Cited. 225 C. 165.

Sec. 38a-300. (Formerly Sec. 38-68x). Exemptions. (a) No provision of sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive, shall be construed to increase the risk assumed by any company or insurer under policies delivered or issued for delivery by such company or insurer or to supersede the obligation of such company or insurer to comply with the provisions of any law of this state applicable to such policies.

(b) No other law of this state which establishes standards for readable language shall apply to any policy form covered under the provisions of sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive.

(c) The provisions of sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive, shall not apply to: (1) Any policy which is a security subject to federal jurisdiction; (2) any group policy covering a group of fifty or more lives at date of issue, other than a group credit life insurance policy or a group credit health insurance policy, except this shall not exempt any certificate issued pursuant to a group policy delivered or issued for delivery in this state; (3) any group annuity contract which serves as a funding vehicle for pension, profit sharing or deferred compensation plans; (4) any form used in connection with a policy delivered or issued for delivery on a policy form which has been authorized for issuance by the commissioner prior to October 1, 1979, as to such policy form, except this shall not exempt any group policy or certificate issued thereunder unless the holders of such certificates are entitled to receive a summary plan description pursuant to the terms of the Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; (5) the renewal of an annuity or an individual life or health insurance policy delivered or issued for delivery prior to the date any such form must be approved by the commissioner as readable.

(P.A. 79-300, S. 6.)

History: Sec. 38-68x transferred to Sec. 38a-300 in 1991.

Secs. 38a-301 to 38a-304. Reserved for future use.