Wyoming, Ohio Pursue Electronic Insurance Proof Legislation

Legislative efforts are under way in two states where lawmakers want to let drivers prove that they have insurance coverage with their smartphones and other mobile devices.

SF 87 has been speeding through Wyoming’s state Legislature this month after being introduced by Sen. Charles Scott (R-Casper) on Jan. 9. Unanimous approval from senators on Jan. 23 advanced the bill to the state House, where it was assigned to a committee on Monday.

SF 87 would allow drivers to present their coverage identification card “in an electronic format” after “the insured and the insurer both agree to the issuance of the card” in that format, according to the bill’s language.

Many major insurers, like State Farm and Progressive, already offer some form of device-compatible ID card that can be uploaded onto smartphones and tablets.

The language also sets July 1 for the bill to go into effect once it is fully approved.

In Ohio, Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) introduced a similar bill Tuesday that he called a “practical and common sense” proposal. Stinziano is a member of the state House Insurance Committee.

“Consumers can use their smartphones and other devices to board airplanes, pay bills and even file their federal tax returns,” Stinziano said in a statement, adding that his bill seeks to take advantage of the “convenience of modern technology.”

“The reality is that the law has not been keeping up with consumers in the marketplace,” he said.

That attitude has been widespread among lawmakers and industry representatives who have generally supported such legislative efforts across the U.S., most of which were signed into law last year.

California was applauded by the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) for bringing the proof law “into the 21st century” after Gov. Jerry Brown made it the latest state to fully ratify digital-proof legislation last September.

The state’s legislators gave strong backing to the proposal, which received just one dissenting vote between the state Assembly and Senate during its time in the Legislature.

Currently, seven states in the U.S. have laws that permit various ways for a driver to provide electronic proof of insurance coverage. Idaho, Arizona, Minnesota, Alabama, California and Louisiana allow electronic proof of coverage at traffic stops and during court and motor vehicle registration processes, while Colorado has had regulations on the books allowing it during vehicle registration.

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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