Proving coverage by electronic means is now a reality in Arkansas, where a speedy legislative process of less than a month zipped a bill to the governor’s desk for approval.
Act 175, formerly SB 243, was signed by Gov. Mike Beebe on March 1. The bill was introduced less than a month ago, on Feb. 5.
State law mandates that proposals like Act 185 go into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session. A legislative aide said that Arkansas’ legislative session has no confirmed end date yet.
Similar bills are advancing across the U.S., as legislators promote efforts to bring state laws in line with an industry and public that is progressively more technology-reliant. Major insurers like State Farm and GEICO already offer smartphone-compatible formats of policies that can be displayed on electronic devices. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), a national trade group, calls those electronically displayed policies “e-cards.”
“E-cards” are acceptable means of proving coverage under the new law, but other smartphone-capable formats can also serve as valid proof of coverage. A photo of the policy card or policy documents is acceptable, with the only requirement being that they be displayed on the device with the same relevant information that those documents contain “as clearly as a paper proof-of-insurance card or other paper temporary proof of insurance” when needed during traffic stops and vehicle registration, according to the law’s language.
In 2012, five states passed legislation legitimizing e-cards: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana and Minnesota.
A slew of other states are looking at e-card proposals. After the recent passage of such laws in Arkansas and Wyoming, 19 states still have e-card proposals on the table, according to PCI.