Now that President Clinton has ratified a digital signature law that enables consumers to buy insurance, close a mortgage and bind other contracts electronically over the Internet, there's growing sentiment among insurance industry observers that consumers may not be entirely ready or willing to sign on the "digital" line.Although industry analysts believe most carriers will implement the technology supporting e-signatures, it's uncertain how consumers will react. "It takes two to tango," one industry expert says. "If consumers don't jump on the bandwagon, the bandwagon doesn't move."

Clinton signed the law June 30 two weeks after both the House and Senate approved the measure by lopsided margins. Under the law, an electronic contract or record that has an electronic signature is legally bound. The law also stipulates that most electronic contracts and documents will be legally enforceable only if they are capable of being retained and accurately reproduced for later reference.

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