24 Drake L. Rev. 753 (1974-1975)
Who Wants a New Insurance Policy

handle is hein.journals/drklr24 and id is 765 raw text is: WHO WANTS A NEW INSURANCE POLICY?

Donald E. Reutershant
Germain E. Kunzett
I. INTRODUCTION
In 1974 Sentry Insurance sponsored a national opinion study conducted by
the Louis Harris and Associates polling firm and the Wharton School of
Insurance. Sentry management wanted to find out what the nation's policyhold-
ers thought about their auto and homeowners insurance. One message came
through loud and clear: the consumer wanted an easy-to-read policy. But the
fact that such policies were generally not available in the industry only testified
to the variety of problems to be solved before The Plain Talk Car Policy
(reproduced in Appendix A) could be offered to the consumer.
The first hurdle was familiarity with current policy language. Tradition
exerts tremendous force in the world of the lawyer and the insurance company.
Precedent and precept guide the drafter of most legal documents because they
represent safe, easy and comfortable conditions within which to create a
contract. While lawyers are comfortable with most insurance contracts, the
general consumer is not.
Drafters of insurance policies hold fast to traditional language because
every word of the policy has been tested in a court of law. That statement is
only true if you add the phrase, and retested and retested and retested. For
example, the first sentence-note the length-of the liability coverage section
of the typical auto policy reads:
To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall
become legally obligated to pay as damages because of:
A. bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death resulting there-
from, hereinafter called bodily injury, sustained by any person,
B. injury to or destruction of property, including loss of use thereof,
hereinafter called property damage;
arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the owned auto-
mobile or any non-owned automobile, and the company shall defend
any suit alleging such bodily injury or property damage and seeking
damages which are payable under the terms of this policy, even if any
of the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent; but
the company may make such investigation and settlement of any
claim or suit as it deems expedient.
t Donald E. Reutershan, President, Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company, Stevens
Point, Wisconsin. LL.B. Syracuse University College of Law, 1948. Member of the New
York State Bar.
t  Germain E. Kunze, Home Office Liability Claims Manager, Sentry Insurance a
Mutual Company, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. LL.B. William Mitchell College of Law (for-
merly the St. Paul College of Law) 1953. Member of the State Bar of Minnesota.-Ed.

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