Insurance group recommends proof of insurance go electronic

Nova Scotia becomes first to eliminate paper vehicle insurance

The majority of Canada is behind the technological times when it comes to proof of vehicle insurance, states one advocacy group.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCRI) — a national association of insurance regulators — issued a release pushing for more provinces to institute an electronic proof of automobile insurance (EPAI).

The release explained the recommendation comes from a 2016 report showing both consumers and the industry believe a move toward the electronic version would be more convenient.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), there are currently 46 U.S. states that employ EPAI and a recent poll of Ontario consumers demonstrated people at least want the choice.

“The speed of technology is outstripping both policy and regulations. People want to see change and modernization in insurance,” stated Steve Kee, IBC media relations director.

CCRI chair Patrick Dery noted in the release that provincial regulators have the capacity to deliver electronic documentation, but that many are still concerned about privacy and potential liability. However, those provinces need to work with industry and other partners to address concerns with an aim at quickly implementing the idea.

Last month, Nova Scotia became the first province to formally adopt EPAI as an option for insurers to offer to consumers. However, the province has instituted several guidelines and controls in order to maintain privacy and protect consumers.

“The provinces regulate automobile insurance and each has their own opinion on what concerns them. We will let them deal with those, though we think those can be easily addressed.”

Kee added their polling in Ontario overwhelmingly shows people feel EPAI is the right way to go and that it is safe.

“Eighty-eight percent of Ontarians get at least one bill online, and 74 per cent want EPAI as an option. It’s an interesting step that Nova Scotia has taken and shows what should be considered,” explained Kee, noting Alberta currently has legislation where some electronic documentation is available.

However, Kee pointed out that Nova Scotia has legislated that insurers allow consumers to still have a paper copy in addition to an EPAI.

“By no means are we advocating that people have to give up their paper pink slip,” he said.

“Though, keeping any document in a vehicle raises the chance of personal information going missing. The majority of people have a smartphone and this move is simply about listening to what consumers are asking for — quick, accessible and online.”

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