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New Analysis Offers Advice on e-Signatures in Insurance.

Byline: Staff Writer

ACORD released a new strategic analysis on e-Signatures and e-Delivery in the insurance industry. Developed by international law firm Locke Lord LLP at the request of ACORD, the document provides an overview of the legal requirements and best practices for implementation.

"We worked with Locke Lord to create this document at the request of a number of AUGIE participants and others to serve as a guide for agents, distributors, and carriers who want to use or enable electronic signatures but are not sure how to get started," says Marcia Berner, director of implementation services for ACORD. "The biggest issue is the lack of comfort with the legal requirements and the inability to establish a process or choose a technology. While ACORD is not providing legal advice in any way, by commissioning Locke Lord, a firm which has much experience in this space, we feel we can help support the industry and our membership."

The analysis suggests that implementers start with one process and product. To further support such efforts, it lists a number of general best practices, as well as specific ones for insurers and producers. For example, at a higher level, it recommends that "email should be sent with links to a secure site" and that it's essential to determine a bounce-back policy. More specifically, it tells insurers to "develop an efficient method to review and verify producers' requests for approval of their electronic signature or electronic delivery processes. By fostering a greater understanding of the legal requirements for both electronic signatures and electronic delivery of documents, the strategic analysis serves as a foundational document for insurers and producers.

It also provides definitions of commonly used terms and includes overviews of both ESIGN and UETA, special considerations for using voice signatures, and subjects such as record retention and admissibility of evidence in court. It builds upon and broadens previous works by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) that focused more specifically on the annuities sector.

"Over the past few years, interest and work around e-Signatures and e-Delivery increased dramatically," says Berner. "Agents and carriers came to us with a strong desire to implement them, but with major concerns about the right way to do both and to work with each other in the process. By talking with both groups, it became clear that both have common questions and concerns mostly based in making sure they are clear on the legal requirements and how to make sure they are met."

The strategic analysis can be found on the ACORD Knowledge Center and is available to both members and non-members.
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Publication:Property and Casualty 360
Date:Jul 25, 2012
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