With almost half of state legislatures in the country likely to consider changing their laws to allow drivers to use their cell phones to show their insurance identification card in order to prove they are insured, electronic proof of coverage is one of the hottest insurance-related legislative trends for 2013, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
"States are taking another step into the Electronic Age by changing their laws to allow drivers to show their insurance ID cards on their smartphone," said Alex Hageli, PCI director, personal lines policy. "Pretty much every motorist has been there at one time or another, digging around in the glove compartment box desperately trying to find your insurance card after being pulled over by the police. No longer will motorists be ticketed and have to take time off of work to go to court for driving without insurance just because they couldn't find a current ID card in their car. This is such a common sense switch that will save everybody time and effort."
PCI anticipates over 20 states will consider electronic proof of coverage bills or regulations in 2013. The states discussing e-Card proposals include: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Wyoming's measure, SF 87 has already cleared the Wyoming State Senate.
"Electronic proof of coverage, or e-Card, is a win-win-win for consumers, insurers and state officials. Consumers are using their cell phones for more and more things. They want less paper and more online account features," said Hageli. "Like any other business, insurers want to meet their policyholders' needs and are developing apps and expanding online services to satisfy customer expectations. Without changing the law, though, insurers are still required to send paper ID cards to each customer. These proposed laws will enable insurers to adapt to changing consumer behavior. Finally, the courts win because the docket will be cleared up of individuals who had insurance but just didn't have a current ID card. "
In 2012 five states made the change to e-Card including: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana and Minnesota. Alabama approved regulations allowing electronically displayed proof of insurance at both registration and during traffic stops. Colorado already has a regulation allowing electronic proof of coverage when vehicles are registered, and will consider legislation to expand it to traffic stops this year.
PCI supports flexible proposals that are not mandatory and give both the policyholder and the insurance company a choice to offer electronic proof of coverage options.
"Every year, thousands upon thousands of tickets are issued to drivers just because they forgot to put their new ID card in their vehicle," said Hageli. "It's a big waste of everybody's time and effort, especially the courts. Now is the time to make a small change in the law so insurers and consumers can take advantage of technology and avoid those annoying fix-it tickets."
PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $190 billion in annual premium, 40 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 38 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.