The use of electronic transactions has grown significantly in the last two decades. Many consumers demand the ability to place their insurance policies electronically, and failing to meet these expectations can result in business moving to competitors.

Executive Summary

Even though a Uniform Electronic Transactions Act has been adopted in most states and Congress passed an E-Sign law to preempt state measures inconsistent with the uniform model, state-by-state variances still exist, Saul Ewing's Jeremy Heinnickel and Kara Scarboro report. Here they outline procedural requirements of UETA and E-Sign and highlight nuances of electronic transaction regulations in Iowa and Hawaii.

Going “paperless” requires a detailed compliance review given the highly regulated nature of insurance. While there have been efforts by both state and federal legislatures to create uniform laws for electronic transactions, the reality is that variances and nuances still exist in many states. While these state-specific requirements may be preempted by federal law, the safer course may be to comply with the state requirements where possible.

Generally, many state laws require agreements or documents to be in writing. In the 1990s, as the use of electronic transactions became more prevalent, it became unclear whether electronic records and signatures could satisfy those writing requirements. In response to this concern, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws issued the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in an attempt to provide uniform recognition of the use of electronic records and signatures. The goal was to have all states adopt UETA to provide a uniform set of rules for electronic transactions.

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