Newfoundland and Labrador announces electronic auto insurance proof

Published: July 30, 2019

Updated: September 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Newfoundland and Labrador has confirmed it is adopting the use of electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI), becoming the second province in Canada to do so.

The Superintendent of Insurance of Newfoundland and Labrador, Renee Dyer, made the announcement on Monday. Through the adoption, motorists in the jurisdiction can now show law enforcement officers EPAI through a smartphone during a traffic stop. This means they no longer have to carry auto insurance pink slips.

“Electronic documents may be delivered through smartphones, apps, email or tablets,” Dyer wrote in the bulletin. “The use of electronic information is not required but, if EPAI is offered by an insurance company, a person may consent to its use.”

Kelly Hickman, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (IBAN), said requests for a pink card copy is a regular reason for customers to contact their broker.

“So being able to offer them an electronic version will likely appeal to those clients comfortable with technology and using smartphone apps,” Hickman told Canadian Underwriter. “Some brokers have already been offering access to electronic pink slips through their BMS apps or other providers, and it may be difficult getting consent from those clients after the fact. It will be important to obtain consent to ensure those clients acknowledge and understand the limitation of using their eSlips.”

EPAI has been available in Canada since the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) and collaborative partners finalized their development of a solution in February 2018. While Nova Scotia became the country’s first province to adopt the technology soon after, the rest of Canada has been slow to catch up.

Catherine Smola, president and CEO of the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO), welcome the introduction of the solution in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Electronic proof of auto insurance is an example of the industry collaborating effectively to provide a solution for a consumer pain point,” Smola said. “We are continuing to work with stakeholders across Canada and expect regulatory approval in other provinces to follow.”

In its confirmation bulletin, the provincial government set some requirements and guidelines for brokers before the start using EPAI:

  • “Advise your clients of the following risks and limitations of their use of EPAI:
    • the absence of Internet services may limit the availability and accessibility of EPAI on demand
    • Although EPAI is acceptable in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, clients travelling outside these provinces will be required to produce a paper-based insurance card that may require direct confirmation with their insurer or broker
    • customers are responsible for any loss or damage to their phones that may occur while their phones are in the care, custody or control of a third-party who has the authority to request access [a police officer, for example].
  • Provide detailed instructions to clients on how to produce the EPAI on their device to show law enforcement officers or others who have authority to request access
  • Create EPAI as a downloadable product with lock screen capability that can be stored in a secure manner on the device. The downloadable product should not be able to harvest any data or interact with other downloadable products on the device
  • If your client chooses to use EPAI, you must obtain a written consent from them wherein they state they acknowledge and understand the risks and limitations outlined above and they consent to use EPAI.”

“Brokers will need to develop consent forms as well as detailed instructions on how to access eSlips on a variety of devices to provide to clients,” Hickman said. “For those brokers who have been offering access to eSlips through their online apps or other providers for a few years, it will now be necessary to obtain written consent from those clients in order for them to be able to use the EPAI.”