Washington Modernizes Insurance Laws to Meet Demands of Digital Age
OLYMPIA, WA – With the stroke of his pen, Washington Governor Inslee approved a law that will give insurance customers more convenience and flexibility in managing their insurance. Gov. Inslee signed SB 5471, a measure giving consumers the choice to receive their insurance policies, documents and consumer notices electronically. The law also enables insurers to post generic policy forms and endorsements online in lieu of mailing paper documents, said the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“Consumers want tools to manage their personal finances with a click of a button on their smart phone or tablet. This law gives policyholders the digital and paperless options they are clamoring for,” said Kenton Brine, PCI assistant vice president. “Senate Bill 5471 enables policyholders to access their policy via the web 24/7. No more worrying about keeping paper files, everything is available on a website. Consumers will have choices and can still request paper copies if they want them.”
There is a growing number of states that are embracing the idea of allowing consumers to have greater electronic access to their insurance information. In 2013, Washington enacted legislation that allows motorists to show proof of insurance with their smartphone or other electronic devices. Now with this new law Washington is one of only 17 states that have taken action to expand access to insurance information by adopting electronic posting of insurance policies, electronic delivery of insurance information and allowing drivers to use electronic proof of insurance.
“Modernizing insurance laws to keep pace with consumer expectations is the right move by policymakers,” said Brine. “Policyholders function differently today and laws need to be updated in order for insurers to operate in the communication platforms consumers want.”
SB 5471 will take effect on July 24, 2015.
PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.