There are very few companies who meet the validation requirements set out by e-sign regulations, specifically directed at the insurance industries. If you are doing serious business and need your documents to be legally binding, and in accordance with the regulations set out by the Insurance Industry, then yes, there are actually industry standards that need to be followed. If you are interested in knowing what these industry standards are, continue to read on about what MYSIGNATUREBOOK (MSB) offers in this regard.
In 2012, ACORD published a set of e-signature guidelines for the insurance industry. Written by Locke Lord LLC, a law firm with deep expertise in e-signatures and e-transactions, the ACORD guidelines outline the legal requirements for electronic signatures and records in insurance and provide best practices. To help you meet these requirements.
This is a summary of the key points here that guides you in selecting a solution that complies with these guidelines, as well as the regulations.
Authenticate the customer
In a face-to-face scenario, the agent authenticates the customer using government-issued credentials such as a driver’s license. But when you are closing business over the Internet, how do you know who is actually signing? MYSIGNATUREBOOK enables you to pick and choose the right combination of signer authentication methods for each process and use case. You can choose any of the following authentication methods:
- Traditional login and password
- Challenge question and answer
- SMS passcode
- Voice signature
- Video capture
- Email notification
- Third-party authentication services
Capture the customer’s consent.
The law requires that the customer agrees to the use of e-disclosures and electronic signatures before beginning the transaction. MYSIGNATUREBOOK provides everything you need to do this properly. MYSIGNATUREBOOK consent is built into the workflow – the signer can’t continue the process unless they review and accept it.
Capture the customer’s intent
The law requires that you ensure “…the legal significance of each step is adequately and clearly explained in a way consumers will understand that they are signing legally significant documents.” The MYSIGNATUREBOOK workflow templates include best practices for the conspicuous capture of intent. This includes:
- The placement of signature cues at the appropriate locations in the document.
- The deliberate labeling of navigation buttons (e.g., “NEXT”) and action buttons such as “ACCEPT“ or “I AGREE”.
- Workflow rules that provide the opportunity to opt-out or confirm the intention to move forward in the transaction. All of this becomes part of the audit trail as proof that a sound process was used to build the customer’s understanding of what they were agreeing to and signing.
Comply with disclosure requirements
The ACORD guidelines make two key points with respect to consumer disclosures. First, it is sometimes wrongly presumed that since an actual signature is not required on many disclosures, that the legal and evidence requirements are lesser. That sending disclosures by email with a PDF attached will suffice. Not only does this introduce privacy concerns, insurance agents need to be able to prove timing and display requirements were adequately satisfied. MYSIGNATUREBOOK never sends documents by email but instead allows you to send an email to the customer with a link to a secure website where the customer can sign/access the documents. Second, as MYSIGNATUREBOOK points out, “The consumer must reasonably demonstrate the ability to open an electronic record in the format the special consumer disclosure(s) will be sent before the special consumer disclosure is delivered to the consumer.”
Capture an audit trail
To protect your company in the event of a legal dispute and ensure your records are admissible in a court of law, be sure to capture evidence from your e-transactions. MYSIGNATUREBOOK captures the most comprehensive evidence of any e-sign solution and our evidence has helped one P&C carrier deflect more than 1,000,0000 disputes! We provide: Document evidence MYSIGNATUREBOOK embeds the signature audit trail directly into each document. It includes the digital signature, digital certificate, signature block image, time stamp and information such as a unique customer identifier. Process evidence MYSIGNATUREBOOK captures and reproduces the entire transaction from start to finish, including:
- All Web pages, documents, disclosures,popup windows or other items that were displayed;
- Time the signer spent reviewing each item in the document package;
- What each signer acknowledged, agreed to and signed;
- Any voice, image or video captured;
- Emails or SMS messages;
- IP address;
- Date and time stamp of all events related to the transaction;
- Other actions taken by the participants during the transaction.
The final records Digital signing or “hashing” is an encryption technology used in MYSIGNATUREBOOK’s e-signature applications to secure the e-signed data, audit trail and electronic evidence. As a result, if a document is modified or tampered with in any way, digital signature technology will detect it and invalidate the document. This is a unique and significant advantage over the paper world, where it is not always possible to detect whether changes have been made to a document.
Distribute e-signed documents
With MYSIGNATUREBOOK, you have options as to how you fulfill this requirement. You can offer secure electronic copies for download, send securely printed copies through the mail, or both. The first option is the most popular: email customers a link so they come to your site and log-in to download a copy of the signed contract. They can also keep the email, if they need to retrieve a copy in the future.
Store your e-records in a way that makes them accessible
Record retention, retrieval and accessibility are key considerations when choosing an e-signature solution since electronic documents and associated signatures, audit trails and evidence must be accessible for the lifetime of the record (50+ years in many cases). Here are some of the ways MYSIGNATUREBOOK helps you meet and exceed legal and regulatory retention requirements: Retention Format MYSIGNATUREBOOK saves the e-signed documents and evidence as Adobe PDF files, an ISO standard and a reliable format for the long term. Archival MYSIGNATUREBOOK gives you the flexibility to securely archive e-signed documents in the MYSIGNATUREBOOK system; in your or records or document management system; or locally on your computer. Documents do not need to be kept in our proprietary vault. Security & Portability Documents signed with MYSIGNATUREBOOK have the signature audit trail embedded directly in the document, rather than stored separately and “logically” associated in a database. You can verify the integrity of an e-signed MYSIGNATUREBOOK record outside of our system. Process Evidence MYSIGNATUREBOOK also makes it possible to export a transaction’s process evidence to paper, PDF or HTML so you can access it years later.
Secure your online transactions
ACORD states that “…the electronic transaction processes (taking applications, delivery of the insurance policy package, policyholder services transactions and other transactions involving sensitive information) must be conducted securely, where, for example, sensitive health information, social security numbers and other sensitive data be transmitted through only secure channels.” Silanis maintains control over the entire e-sign transaction by keeping everything on the application server, secured by login passcodes and SSL encryption to ensure privacy.
Keep admissibility legal requirements in mind
The ACORD guidelines state that, “An electronic signature, e-delivery and electronic record archival process should be designed with admissibility legal requirements in mind…” This means that you need to think about admissibility before you even design your e-sign process – ideally when evaluating electronic signature vendors. As the only e-signature vendor that has been in business for more than two decades, Silanis knows that defending your electronic transactions in court is as much about building a sound process as having the appropriate technology. Without either, you run the risk that your records may not be admitted as evidence. Thankfully, our solutions include built-in best practices for developing an admissible and enforceable e-sign process. According to Frank Zacherl, partner at Shutts & Bowen LLP, “An important factor in successfully defending the position of one of our insurance clients was the testimony of our client’s electronic signature provider. Michael Laurie of Silanis Technology provided critical testimony with regards to the security and reliability of the technology in producing authentic records and accurately reproducing the process.”
The following is an overview of relevant electronic signatures laws, regulations and standards that apply to insurance organizations as well as those industry laws and regulations that need to be accounted for when bringing processes online.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
E-SIGN & UETA The Federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the state Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) give legal recognition for electronic signatures and records to satisfy the “in writing” legal requirements for transactions, including disclosures, and permit companies to satisfy statutory record retention requirements solely through the use of electronic records. Both ESIGN and UETA require a person’s consent to conduct business electronically.
STANDARDS & ASSOCIATIONS SPERS
Standards & Procedures for Electronic Records & Signatures The Standards and Procedures for Electronic Signatures and Records (SPeRS), a committee formed by the Electronic Financial Services Council to produce best legal practices and guidelines to help the financial services industry implement compliant electronic signature, electronic disclosure and electronic vaulting solutions. MYSIGNATUREBOOK solutions have been designed to comply with the best practice recommendations outlined in SPeRS.
ESRA – Electronic Signature and Records Association is a centralized educational resource for its members and the public with respect to the legal, regulatory and operational issues in relation to the use of electronic signatures and records.
ACORD – The AUGIE ACORD community exists to provide a forum for open communication among agents, brokers, carriers, associations, and solution providers leading to improved workflow and increased productivity.
ACORD 2020 E-Signatures in Insurance – ACORD 2020’s mission is to encourage wider implementation of ACORD Standards and to engage with industry communities to identify impediments and help to resolve issues. ACORD 2020 has a workgroup focused on electronic signature adoption for independent agent channels and in July 2012 published a guide to help carriers and agents identify legal requirements. Research & Development analysis.pdf
Independent life Brokerage Distribution Technology Committee/NAILBA LBTC NAILBA Main The purpose of the Life Brokerage Technology Committee (LBTC) is to foster the adoption of enabling technology among National Association of Independent Life Brokers Association (NAILBA) members. LBTC conducts annual industry surveys to monitor adoption and attitudes related to e-policy delivery, electronic signatures and other related technology.
IRI – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI, formerly NAVA) represents the supply chain of the insured retirement income industry: major insurers, broker-dealers, banks, asset managers, financial advisors and industry solution providers. In 2006, IRI produced Guiding Principles (standards) related to Straight-Through-Processing (STP) in new business processing, including the use of an electronic application with an electronic signature at point of sale.
LIDMA Lidma Inc. – The LIDMA Seal of Approval program recognizes excellence among companies in the life insurance industry with respect to new technology integration and process improvement.
NOTE: The above references should not be regarded as legal opinion.
MYSIGNATUREBOOK (MSB) is the world’s leading electronic signature provider. The software has automated business transactions that require secure, compliant and enforceable e-signatures. MSB is responsible for processing over 100 million documents annually for thousands of customers in banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, bio-sciences, government and more. MSB on-premise and cloud solutions make enterprise-grade e-signatures accessible to organizations of all sizes, regardless of budget or IT resources.
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