Insurers Press Gov. to Approve Calif. Electronic-Proof Measure

Insurers are urging California Governor Jerry Brown to put his stamp on the state’s legislation that legitimizes proof of coverage in electronic forms.

AB 1708 was fully passed by legislators on Monday with a concurrence vote from the state Assembly, where representatives accepted an earlier Senate approval of the bill. The legislation had steady support as it moved through the state Legislature, getting its first state Assembly approval with a 73-0 vote in May before a 36-0 vote from senators on Aug. 9.

Under AB 1708, motorists would have the choice to present electronic versions of their insurance policy or policy documents on mobile devices to authorities during traffic stops as proof that they have the proper financial responsibility to operate a vehicle. Drivers currently must present hard copies of these documents.

Most insurers provide drivers who purchase California car insurance several options in obtaining electronic formats of their policy: several offer smartphone apps that display the policy, others provide an electronic copy of the insurance policy upon purchase, while others can simply e-mail the document to the policyholder.

AB 1708’s language also allows policyholders to scan in their policy themselves and upload that image to their smartphone as acceptable proof of coverage.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced the bill in February. Brown has to sign off on the measure or veto it within a 10-day period, according to the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC).

ACIC issued a statement Wednesday pressing the governor fully approve the “innovative measure.”

“California is the home of Silicon Valley where innovative products and cutting-edge technologies have been invented and launched onto the world stage,” Armand Feliciano, ACIC vice president, said in a statement. “Consumers should have the option to use their electronic devices in a practical and convenient way.”

Governors in four states signed off on similar legislation this year.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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