Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Flesch Reading Ease Test Definition:

A legalese test against which insurance contracts are assessed.

Related Terms: Legalese

A legalese test against which insurance contracts are assessed.

For example, this is from the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3902.04 at codes.ohio.gov/orc, which requires "a minimum score of forty on the Flesch reading ease test", defined as:

"(B) For the purposes of this section, 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 number of words and sentences in the text shall be counted and the total number of words divided by the total number of sentences. The figure obtained shall be multiplied by a factor of one and fifteen thousandths.

(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 eighty-four and six-tenths.

(4) The sum of the figures computed under divisions (B)(2) and (3) of this section subtracted from two hundred six and eight hundred thirty-five thousandths equals the Flesch reading ease score for the policy form.

(5) For purposes of divisions (B)(2), (3), and (4) of this section, the following procedures shall be used:
(a) A contraction, hyphenated word, or numbers and letters, when separated by spaces, shall be counted as one word.

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

(c) A syllable means a unit of spoken language consisting of one or more letters of a word as divided by an accepted dictionary. Where the dictionary shows two or more equally acceptable pronunciations of a word, the pronunciation containing fewer syllables may be used.
(6) As used in this section, “text” includes all printed matter, except the following:
(a) 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;

(b) Any policy language that is drafted to conform to the requirements of any federal law, regulation, or agency interpretation; any policy language required by any collectively bargained agreement; any medical terminology; any words that are defined in the policy; and any policy language required by law or regulation; provided however, the insurer identifies the language or terminology excepted by this paragraph and certifies, in writing, that the language or terminology is entitled to be excepted by this paragraph.
"(C) Any other reading test may be approved by the superintendent of insurance for use as an alternative to the Flesch reading ease test if it is comparable in result to the Flesch reading ease test.
"(D) Every filing subject to this section shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by an officer of the insurer stating that the filing 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 section 3902.06 of the Revised Code. To confirm the accuracy of any certification, the superintendent may require the submission of further information to verify the certification in question.
"(E) 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."

Reviewing this anti-legalese statutory device, and atempting to understand it, makes it difficult to escape the impression that the cure may be worse than the disease.

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