THE INSURANCE CODE OF 1956 (EXCERPT)
Act 218 of 1956
***** 500.2236 THIS SECTION IS AMENDED EFFECTIVE 91 DAYS AFTER ADJOURNMENT OF THE 2014 REGULAR SESSION SINE DIE: See 500.2236.amended *****
500.2236 Forms generally; filing; approval; type size; effect of membership in or subscription to rating organization; substitute form; readability score and other requirements; approval of changes or additions; notice of disapproval or withdrawal of approval; hearing; separate violation; penalty; applicability of filing requirements; “exempt commercial policyholder” defined; court review of order.
(1) A basic insurance policy form or annuity contract form shall not be issued or delivered to any person in this state, and an insurance or annuity application form if a written application is required and is to be made a part of the policy or contract, a printed rider or indorsement form or form of renewal certificate, and a group certificate in connection with the policy or contract, shall not be issued or delivered to a person in this state, until a copy of the form is filed with the insurance bureau and approved by the commissioner as conforming with the requirements of this act and not inconsistent with the law. Failure of the commissioner to act within 30 days after submittal constitutes approval. All such forms, except policies of disability insurance as defined in section 3400, shall be plainly printed with type size not less than 8-point unless the commissioner determines that portions of such a form printed with type less than 8-point is not deceptive or misleading.
(2) An insurer may satisfy its obligations to make form filings by becoming a member of, or a subscriber to, a rating organization, licensed under section 2436 or 2630, which makes such filings and by filing with the commissioner a copy of its authorization of the rating organization to make the filings on its behalf. Every member of or subscriber to a rating organization shall adhere to the form filings made on its behalf by the organization except that an insurer may file with the commissioner a substitute form, and thereafter if a subsequent form filing by the rating organization affects the use of the substitute form, the insurer shall review its use and notify the commissioner whether to withdraw its substitute form.
(3) Beginning January 1, 1992, the commissioner shall not approve a form filed pursuant to this section providing for or relating to an insurance policy or an annuity contract for personal, family, or household purposes if the form fails to obtain the readability score or meet the other requirements of this subsection, as applicable:
(a) The readability score for a form for which approval is required by this section shall not be less than 45, as determined by the method provided in subdivisions (b) and (c).
(b) The readability score for a form shall be determined as follows:
(i) For a form containing not more than 10,000 words, the entire form shall be analyzed. For a form containing more than 10,000 words, not less than two 200-word samples per page shall be analyzed instead of the entire form. The samples shall be separated by at least 20 printed lines.
(ii) Count the number of words and sentences in the form or samples and divide the total number of words by the total number of sentences. Multiply this quotient by a factor of 1.015.
(iii) Count the total number of syllables in the form or samples and divide the total number of syllables by the total number of words. Multiply this quotient by a factor of 84.6. As used in this subparagraph, “syllable” means a unit of spoken language consisting of 1 or more letters of a word as indicated by an accepted dictionary. If the dictionary shows 2 or more equally acceptable pronunciations of a word, the pronunciation containing fewer syllables may be used.
(iv) Add the figures obtained in subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) and subtract this sum from 206.835. The figure obtained equals the readability score for the form.
(c) For the purposes of subdivision (b)(ii) and (iii), the following procedures shall be used:
(i) A contraction, hyphenated word, or numbers and letters when separated by spaces shall be counted as 1 word.
(ii) A unit of words ending with a period, semicolon, or colon, but excluding headings and captions, shall be counted as 1 sentence.
(d) In determining the readability score, the method provided in subdivisions (b) and (c):
(i) Shall be applied to an insurance policy form or an annuity contract, together with a rider or indorsement form usually associated with such an insurance policy form or annuity contract.
(ii) Shall not be applied to words or phrases that are defined in an insurance policy form, an annuity contract, or riders, indorsements, or group certificates pursuant to an insurance policy form or annuity contract.
(iii) Shall not be applied to language specifically agreed upon through collective bargaining or required by a collective bargaining agreement.
(iv) Shall not be applied to language that is prescribed by state or federal statute or by rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to a state or federal statute.
(e) Each form for which approval is required by this section shall contain both of the following:
(i) Topical captions.
(ii) An identification of exclusions.
(f) Each insurance policy and annuity contract that has more than 3,000 words printed on not more than 3 pages of text or that has more than 3 pages of text regardless of the number of words shall contain a table of contents. This subdivision does not apply to indorsements.
(g) Each rider or indorsement form that changes coverage shall do all of the following:
(i) Contain a properly descriptive title.
(ii) Reproduce either the entire paragraph or the provision as changed.
(iii) Be accompanied by an explanation of the change.
(h) If a computer system approved by the commissioner calculates the readability score of a form as being in compliance with this subsection, the form is considered in compliance with the readability score requirements of this subsection.
(4) After January 1, 1992, any change or addition to a policy or annuity contract form for personal, family, or household purposes, whether by indorsement, rider, or otherwise, or a change or addition to a rider or indorsement form to such policy or annuity contract form, which policy or annuity contract form has not been previously approved under subsection (3), shall be submitted for approval pursuant to subsection (3).
(5) Upon written notice to the insurer, the commissioner may disapprove, withdraw approval or prohibit the issuance, advertising, or delivery of any form to any person in this state if it violates any provisions of this act, or contains inconsistent, ambiguous, or misleading clauses, or contains exceptions and conditions that unreasonably or deceptively affect the risk purported to be assumed in the general coverage of the policy. The notice shall specify the objectionable provisions or conditions and state the reasons for the commissioner's decision. If the form is legally in use by the insurer in this state, the notice shall give the effective date of the commissioner's disapproval, which shall not be less than 30 days subsequent to the mailing or delivery of the notice to the insurer. If the form is not legally in use, then disapproval shall be effective immediately.
(6) If a form is disapproved or approval is withdrawn under the provisions of this act, the insurer is entitled upon demand to a hearing before the commissioner or a deputy commissioner within 30 days after the notice of disapproval or of withdrawal of approval. After the hearing, the commissioner shall make findings of fact and law, and either affirm, modify, or withdraw his or her original order or decision.
(7) Any issuance, use, or delivery by an insurer of any form without the prior approval of the commissioner as required by subsection (1) or after withdrawal of approval as provided by subsection (5) constitutes a separate violation for which the commissioner may order the imposition of a civil penalty of $25.00 for each offense, but not to exceed the maximum penalty of $500.00 for any 1 series of offenses relating to any 1 basic policy form, which penalty may be recovered by the attorney general as provided in section 230.
(8) The filing requirements of this section do not apply to any of the following:
(a) Insurance against loss of or damage to:
(i) Imports, exports, or domestic shipments.
(ii) Bridges, tunnels, or other instrumentalities of transportation and communication.
(iii) Aircraft and attached equipment.
(iv) Vessels and watercraft under construction or owned by or used in a business or having a straight-line hull length of more than 24 feet.
(b) Insurance against loss resulting from liability, other than worker's compensation or employers' liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of:
(i) Imports, exports, or domestic shipments.
(ii) Aircraft and attached equipment.
(iii) Vessels and watercraft under construction or owned by or used in a business or having a straight-line hull length of more than 24 feet.
(c) Surety bonds other than fidelity bonds.
(d) Policies, riders, indorsements, or forms of unique character designed for and used with relation to insurance upon a particular subject, or that relate to the manner of distribution of benefits or to the reservation of rights and benefits under life or disability insurance policies and are used at the request of the individual policyholder, contract holder, or certificate holder. Beginning September 1, 1968, the commissioner by order may exempt from the filing requirements of this section and sections 2242, 3606, and 4430 for so long as he or she considers proper any insurance document or form, except that portion of the document or form that establishes a relationship between group disability insurance and personal protection insurance benefits subject to exclusions or deductibles pursuant to section 3109a, as specified in the order to which this section practicably may not be applied, or the filing and approval of which are considered unnecessary for the protection of the public. Insurance documents or forms providing medical payments or income replacement benefits, except that portion of the document or form that establishes a relationship between group disability insurance and personal protection insurance benefits subject to exclusions or deductibles pursuant to section 3109a, exempt by order of the commissioner from the filing requirements of this section and sections 2242 and 3606 are considered approved by the commissioner for purposes of section 3430.
(e) Insurance that meets both of the following:
(i) Is sold to an exempt commercial policyholder.
(ii) Contains a prominent disclaimer that states “This policy is exempt from the filing requirements of section 2236 of the insurance code of 1956, 1956 PA 218, MCL 500.2236.” or words that are substantially similar.
(9) As used in this section and sections 2401 and 2601, “exempt commercial policyholder” means an insured that purchases the insurance for other than personal, family, or household purposes.
(10) Every order made by the commissioner under the provisions of this section is subject to court review as provided in section 244.
History: 1956, Act 218, Eff. Jan. 1, 1957
Am. 1963, Act 53, Eff. Sept. 6, 1963
Am. 1970, Act 180, Imd. Eff. Aug. 3, 1970
Am. 1987, Act 52, Imd. Eff. June 22, 1987
Am. 1990, Act 137, Eff. June 29, 1990
Am. 1990, Act 305, Imd. Eff. Dec. 14, 1990
Am. 1993, Act 200, Eff. Dec. 28, 1994
Am. 2002, Act 664, Eff. Mar. 31, 2003
Compiler's Notes: Section 2 of Act 52 of 1987 provides:"The amendments to sections 2236, 2242, 3440, 3606, 3610, and 4430 of Act No. 218 of the Public Acts of 1956, being sections 500.2236, 500.2242, 500.3440, 500.3606, 500.3610, and 500.4430 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, pursuant to this amendatory act apply to all insurance policies issued on or after January 1, 1957 that were either approved by the commissioner on or after January 1, 1957 or subject to an order of the commissioner exempting policies from filing on or after September 1, 1968. The amendments to sections 2236, 2242, 3440, 3606, 3610, and 4430 of Act No. 218 of the Public Acts of 1956, being sections 500.2236, 500.2242, 500.3440, 500.3606, 500.3610, and 500.4430 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, pursuant to this amendatory act are intended to codify and approve long-standing administrative and commercial practice taken and approved by the commissioner pursuant to his or her legal authority. This amendatory act shall serve to cure and clarify any misinterpretation of the operation of such sections since the effective date of their original enactment. It is the intent of this amendatory act to rectify the misconstruction of the insurance code of 1956 by the court of appeals in Bill v Northwestern National Life Insurance Company, 143 Mich App 766, with respect to the power of the insurance commissioner to exempt certain insurance documents from filing requirements and the offsetting of social security benefits against disability income insurance benefits. This amendatory act does not affect the relationship between disability insurance benefits and personal protection insurance benefits as provided in Federal Kemper v Health Insurance Administration Inc., 424 Mich 537."Section 3 of Act 200 of 1993 provides as follows:"Section 3. This amendatory act shall not take effect unless the state administrative board certifies in writing to the secretary of state by December 31, 1994 that an agreement for the transfer of all or substantially all of the assets and the assumption of all or substantially all of the liabilities of the state accident fund has been consummated with a permitted transferee pursuant to the requirements of section 701a of the worker's disability compensation act of 1969, Act No. 317 of the Public Acts of 1969, being section 418.701a of the Michigan Compiled Laws."
Popular Name: Act 218
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