Now that e-signatures have the same legal standing as their handwritten counterparts, insurers are expected to be among the first companies to embrace the new technology."The insurance and financial industries have been eagerly waiting for this law to pass because they are mired in paper-based processes," says Tommy Petrogiannis, president of the privately held Silanis Technology Inc.
The Montreal-based company has developed software, dubbed ApproveIt, that simplifies the process of creating and affixing an electronic signature to a file. For example, with ApproveIt, a customer can use a standard scanner to input a signature into a file.
Although Silanis emphasizes the ease-of-use features of its products, security is the main focus of e-signature technology. "You must be sure that the signature is unique to the user, that the user intended to sign the document and that the document's content has been under the individual's sole control," Petrogiannis says.
When a user electronically signs a document with ApproveIt, the software creates an encoded "approval token" that compiles such information as the public and private key, a digital certificate, the date that the document was signed, and a document authentication code that essentially is a fingerprint of the document content.
When the document is received, authentication software extracts the token and examines the document authentication code. If the content of the document was altered after it had been signed, the document authentication code will not match the original code, and the signature is invalidated.
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