The Newman Blog
Electronic Liability Slips May Soon be Here
You have likely heard the phrase, “your license, ownership and proof of insurance, please,” if you’ve ever been stopped by police while driving a vehicle. As the officer patiently waits by your door, you frantically search for your documents and hope you find an insurance liability slip that hasn’t expired. Sound familiar? Soon it could get easier.
It was recently announced that Alberta has become the third province to approve the use of electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI), which is an electronic copy of a liability slip that can be downloaded to smartphones, apps, email or tablets. Alberta drivers now have the option to present an EPAI to a police officer during a traffic stop, similar to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and 46 U.S. states that have also approved their use. Will Ontario be next?
The Insurance Bureau of Canada conducted a survey in 2018 with over 1,200 Ontario drivers and found that 74% wanted EPAI as an option. In the 2019 Ontario Budget, the provincial government announced that insurance should be easier and more convenient for consumers. One of the proposed changes was allowing EPAI as an option to drivers.
While EPAI is seen as a progressive move in the industry, there are also concerns that need to be addressed, such as:
- Privacy – the possibility of police accessing other private information on electronic devices while in their possession.
- Technology - the ability to utilize a device’s locking features to protect a driver’s privacy and how to address system malfunctions and power losses.
- Damage - liability for damage to mobile devices while in police possession.
- Legal – can police confiscate an electronic device as evidence?
It was rumoured that Ontario would have EPAI available to drivers as early as June of this year; however, the Financial Services Corporation of Ontario later announced that a launch date has yet to be determined. Stay tuned.
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