Electronic Signatures

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By Kate Faith

Electronic Signature

There are many different ways to sign your name. You can opt for the traditional method of ink to paper, or if you are attempting to enter into the paperless world, you can click your signature (among other electronic options). In the article “10 Ways to Sign Your Name: From Pen to Browse-wrap” found on TechRepublic.com and authored by Jaime Henriquez, Jaime reminds us that signing our name is “a long tradition and, until recently, little about it changed. For centuries, the only improvement was the development of better pens. But now, technology has added a number of wrinkles.”

Some of the more tried and true ways to sign your name are: signing with a pen and faxing, signing with a pen, scanning, and emailing as an image file, signing with a rubber stamp, or an image of your signature. Technology has brought about some new ways to sign your name: clicking ‘I Agree’ on a web page, using a handheld device, using software, a program or a service. Jaime’s article provides a brief description of each of these methods.

The United States Congress passed the Electronic Signatures and Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) in 2000 and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws approved the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in 1999. Both Acts were created in an effort to give validity to an electronic contract.

So what does that mean for the Insurance industry?

ACORD engaged Locke Lord, LLC to write an analysis of these Acts as they pertain to the Insurance industry. The analysis is called “Guidelines for e-Signature and e-Delivery in the Insurance Business”. This analysis is a valuable resource for the insurance industry that breaks down the requirements of ESIGN and UETA and suggests best practices to be used by Insurers and Producers as well as providing a glossary of terms.