In 2000, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) was signed into law and allowed for the use of electronic records and signatures to satisfy any legal requirements to provide information in writing. It is important to remember even 23 years later, that the information and signatures are only accepted if the consumer has consented to receive this information electronically and has not declined or withdrawn their consent.
The million-dollar question: have you obtained e-delivery consent from your customer? As an agency, if you are sending policies, notices, endorsements, or obtaining electronic signatures on documents, consent for electronic delivery must be on file for that customer. Furthermore, documents such as termination of health insurance or benefits of life insurance (excluding annuities) may not be provided solely via electronic delivery.
What is included in the electronic delivery consent? The customer must be provided clear statements advising them of the following*:
The right or option for the consumer to receive documents in paper form;
The right to withdraw the consent to electronic delivery and any conditions, consequences, or fees associated with such withdrawal;
A description of the procedures that the consumer must follow to withdraw the consent to electronic delivery and to update information needed to contact the consumer electronically;
A description of how the consumer, after consenting to electronic delivery, may obtain a paper copy of any record and whether any fee will be charged for such a copy;
A statement regarding whether the consent applies only to a particular transaction or category of documents;
A description of the hardware and software requirements for access to and retention of documents delivered electronically.
It is essential to remember that the customer must confirm in writing their consent to electronic delivery. This means you must obtain a signature on an electronic delivery consent form; not an email stating consent.
By obtaining electronic delivery consent, the agency can operate more efficiently and oftentimes save money on printing, mailing, and processing costs. More customers are preferring electronic communications, so it is important to not only receive consent but to provide customers with guidance and information on how the agency will be communicating.
If you need assistance in creating a consent form for your agency, please contact Virtual Agency Solutions.
*Information obtained from the “Procedure for Electronic Delivery of Insurance Documents Pursuant to the Federal eSign Act” Big I Agents Council for Technology, May 14, 2021.