Electronic Proof of Auto Insurance OK’d in Alaska, North Dakota

More states are joining others legalizing the use of “e-cards,” an industry term describing proof of auto insurance displayed on digital devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Since Online Auto Insurance News last reported on the topic, Alaska authorized “e-card” use when Gov. Sean Parnell signed off on HB 146 on May 31; the law goes into effect on July 1.

According to a statement from the proposal’s legislative sponsors, the law pushes “more to live paperless” while simplifying traffic stops and the court process.

“While those are minor fix-it tickets if you valid insurance, they can take several hours at the courthouse to clear up,” according to the statement.

“E-cards” were also made legal in North Dakota. According to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), 17 states passed laws allowing drivers to prove that they have a policy through electronic formats, bringing the current number of states with “e-card” laws to 24 total:
–North Dakota

Statewide “e-card” proposals are sitting on the desk of their respective governors to be finalized in Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. Such pieces of legislation are near-guaranteed to be confirmed by governors once they reach that stage of the legislative process.

Lawmakers are still mulling “e-card” legislation in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to PCI.

“In just two years policymakers in nearly half the country have changed their laws to enable consumers to use their smart phone to show they have insurance instead of keeping that little piece of paper in the glove compartment,” Alex Hageli, director of personal lines policy at PCI, said in a statement. “It makes good sense to allow consumers and insurers to use increasingly ubiquitous technology to comply with the law.”

E-Commerce, E-Delivery Trends Strengthening

The rise of “e-card” laws across the U.S. isn’t the only sign that the industry is modernizing.

Legislators are also passing more laws allowing insurers and consumers electronic means of accessing policy information and conducting insurance-related business, dubbed by PCI as “e-commerce” and “e-delivery” laws.

Laws allowing insurers to send coverage-related documents such as renewal forms to policyholders are now active in Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota. These “e-delivery” proposals are at various stages of the legislative process in California, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“Electronic delivery of insurance documents will give consumers and insurers more choices and more flexibility in how policies are serviced,” Kelly Campbell, PCI’s vice president for state affairs, said in a statement. “These laws are moving the interaction between customers and insurers away from the Pony Express and into the 21st Century.”

Other laws are opening up “e-commerce” in the industry, allowing insurers to post policy information online for policyholders to access. Such laws exist in Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas.

Governors in Florida and Illinois are considering such legislation, with lawmakers in Missouri and Pennsylvania still considering similar proposals.

“This will enable a customer to see their insurance policy 24/7,” Campbell said. “This will be especially helpful when people are evacuated or suffer a loss following a natural catastrophe.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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