IBC: insurers don’t have ability to introduce electronic proof of auto insurance

Published: February 8, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Insurance companies want electronic proof of auto insurance, but are so far unable to find a solution to share information electronically. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has published results of a study highlighting customer demand for electronic pink slips to be introduced.

Steve Kee, director of media and digital communications for the IBC told Shop Insurance Canada policy is trailing innovation, although encouragement can be taken from Nova Scotia:

“The speed of technological change has outstripped the pace of policy and regulatory change. We are listening to customers and they want easy, transparent and quick online experiences.  (Polling supports this.) Insurers understand this, but unfortunately don’t have the ability to innovate their products and share information electronically. This needs to change – customers’ needs and expectations must come first. That’s why we’re encouraged that Nova Scotia has found a solution that Ontario should look at closely.”

Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province last month to approve electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI). The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance of Nova Scotia announced it will adopt electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI), otherwise called electronic pink slips. In doing so, it becomes the regulator in Canada to permit the new auto insurance proof system.

In Ontario, the FSCO said its timeframe for introducing EPAI is not yet decided. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the provincial regulator, says electronic proof of automobile insurance (EPAI) is not imminent in Ontario, although it continues to work on a solution. The admission means the most populated province in Canada, where most drivers are, has no launch date for electronic slips.

On Tuesday, the Canada Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) recommended EPAI should roll out across Canada. However, the organization said some jurisdictions and customers in those regions have reservations about privacy and liability.

In contrast, a survey release Monday by the IBC shows customers appear to want EPAI, at least in Ontario. The survey was conducted amongst 1,210 Ontarians between Jan. 24 and 26, with a margin of error +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20. The results found that:

  • 78% of those polled believe that receiving their insurance documents electronically would be convenient;
  • 88% receive at least one bill electronically (for example, phone bill, bank statement); and
  • 79% of those polled believe that insurance information available online is as safe as paper-based communications

The results were part of the wider An Innovation Agenda for Ontario’s Insurance Industry report. The release outlines steps to make Ontario auto insurance more efficient:

  • electronic proof of Ontario insurance;
  • allowing insurers to provide consumers with the option of selecting usage-based insurance to help determine the cost of their auto insurance;
  • integrating the sharing economy – specifically, technology-enabled ridesharing services – into the auto insurance system, so that insurers can offer new products to cover the risks that individuals face while using sharing economy platforms; and
  • granting both incumbent insurers and new market entrants access to the “regulatory super sandbox” to encourage new innovations that will benefit consumers

“As you know in Ontario every driver must carry proof of insurance…the so-called pink slip…in paper format,” Kee told Shop Insurance Canada. “We feel consumers, based on the polling, want electronic solutions.  74 percent want the option of receiving their insurance documents (proof of insurance card, insurance renewals) electronically and

79% of Ontarians believe that insurance information available online is as safe as paper-based communications.  To us, this is a strong endorsement.”