Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Thistlethwaite, Robert L.||Nelson, J. H. (Professor of business)

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

College of Business


Insurance; Automobile; Readability (Literary style)


I. THE PROBLEM The problem In this study was to ascertain the reading level of the standard automobile insurance policy and to estimate the need and feasibility of policy simplification. Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions: 1. What percentage of the United States adult population is unable to understand the standard automobile insurance policy in its present form? 2. How does the readability of the standard automobile insurance policy compare to the readability of other publications and insurance policies? 3. What are the reactions of insurance authorities .from the areas of law, claims, and sales-marketing toward the concept of policy simplification? The Rudolf Flesch technique was used as the tool for readability analysis. This process assigns a numerical value to the reading levels of tested samples by means of a mathematical formula. The reactions of insurance authorities, obtained through correspondence end interviews, supplemented the results of the Flesch application. These reactions provided a professional insight into the technical aspects of the problem. III. THE FINDINGS OF THE STUDY According to this study over 90 percent of the United States' adult population cannot understand the standard automobile insurance policy in its present form. The standard automobile insurance policy was more difficult to read than any of the other sources tested. The readability scores of the other sources showed them to be from 7 percent to 70 percent more readable than the standard automobile policy. All of the insurance authorities contacted felt that the standard automobile Insurance policy was too difficult for the layman to understand. However, the opinions of the legal and claims authorities divided on the question of the feasibility of simplifying this policy. The sales and marketing authorities, on the other hand, came out in favor of policy simplification. It can be said, therefore, there is general agreement that the standard automobile insurance policy, in its present form, is too difficult for the layman to understand. There is much controversy, however, as to whether simplification of this policy is feasible.


Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 113 pages




Northern Illinois University

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