It's been three years since Congress passed The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, essentially making electronic signatures equivalent to wet-ink signatures. Although the law explicitly applies to insurance, few carriers have signed up to implement e-signature technology.Only 5% of insurers are using e-signatures on a substantial level today, according to Celent Communications, a Boston-based research and advisory firm. And, while it's easy to blame the dearth of implementations on a lack of mature technologies, few insurers are using e-signatures because they're uncertain about compliance issues, says Craig Weber, analyst and author of a Celent report, titled "E-Signatures & U.S. Insurance."
Core technologies that enable insurers to capture electronic signatures and securely attach them to electronic records have been available since the mid-1990s, Weber says. Still, carriers "are concerned that if there's a dispute around an e-signature down the road-which there occasionally is today even with wet-ink signatures-that the courts will somehow construe this electronic process as being less concrete than a wet-ink signature," he says.
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