The Security Of The Electronic Signature Needs To Be Enhanced

An authentic signature expert believes that insurers will have to go further if they want to purchase large amounts of insurance. Otherwise, the regulator could do it for them.

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Do signature images handwritten on an electronic document or solutions click to sign, or these signatures generated by the system of the insurer are enough to ensure the security of transactions? Yes and no, says Claude Charpentier, president, and CEO of Notarius.

Go further

Mr. Charpentier believes that insurers and regulators could and should go further, by taking advantage of the development of online subscription platforms to create a process that is more proven and less easy to circumvent than a signature image or a signature based on a simple email. Notarius offers notaries, engineers, lawyers and other Canadian professionals, among other things, a digital signature with encryption that ensures the integrity and authenticity of documents.

“We hear that insurers are starting a digital shift. That’s a really big word. Our market analysis revealed that most insurers we are aiming for are in the process of thinking about digital or digital signature concepts. This reflection focuses for the moment to allow a better customer experience through a transaction that is realized quickly, “believes Mr. Charpentier.

Recrudescence of fraud

Insurers and regulators must, according to him, look higher. They have to make sure that the good players are behind the keyboard when a transaction is online.

“Fraud and identity theft are on the upswing. In any transaction, the client must be sure that it is an adviser who is at the other end. He must be certain that the insurer or broker can not have the power to change the policy after signing. The image of a signature, I do not believe it. It takes two minutes to copy. Just as it is easy to find on the Internet software that can unlock a PDF, “says the CEO of Notarius.

Clicking to sign is a better way of signing, he adds. “But is the authenticity of the signature based solely on an email address? What happens if two spouses use the same email in their communications? The reliability of email is low. Better to combine for example a code sent to the customer’s smartphone, “suggests Mr. Charpentier.

So is the trust in the digital ecosystem of the industry, he thinks. “You have to be in prevention mode rather than in reaction mode. Nor should we underestimate the role of regulators in this area. They will likely come up with public protection requirements for electronic insurance transactions. If the industry is just copying and pasting the current paper process digitally, we are not improving confidence, “said Mr. Charpentier.

Identify the advisor

Suppliers eSignLive by Vasco (American firm that recently acquired the Canadian company Silanis), DocuSign and Adobe eSign invade the Canadian market. They have become the leading signature technology providers in the life and health insurance industry.

Many insurance companies identify both the advisor and the client. For its part, Empire Life has said to identify its advisors and its customers, in a safe way. The insurer allows the signer to select a list of preconceived signatures, using a tool or finger.

“We are enhancing the security of the process by identifying the signatory with DocuSign,” added Mary Beth Saulnier, spokesperson. Advisors are identified by accessing the Empire Life system. The advisor identifies the client in accordance with the requirements of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. DocuSign creates a digital certificate whose information allows you to find an individual online.

Insurers adopt electronic signature

Sun Life Financial launched its Go Sun Life web platform a few weeks ago, which allows consumers to purchase life insurance online after a simplified process. The transaction can be concluded by means of a computer, a smartphone or a tablet. The client may or may not use the services of a consultant.

At BMO Life Insurance, distance selling is currently only available over the phone for temporary and critical illness products only. “In universal life insurance, we have always had some reluctance. In terms of provisions such as the Money Laundering Act, we prefer that sales of this product be concluded face to face, “said Daniel Walsh, BMO’s Vice President of Business Development.

Mr. Walsh said he observed some uneasiness in Quebec about remote signing without witnesses. “Many advisors believe that you must meet the customer in person to be compliant. There is no real requirement for this in Quebec, but the adviser must be reminded that a remote transaction does not exempt him from his regulatory obligations, “he insists.

The validity of the permit

What tickles Mr. Charpentier is not only the identity of the signatory but also the validity of his license. A trusted electronic identity in a transaction is a missing link in the digital world.

“If I sign an electronic proposal remotely, for example, I give the advisor personal information. Just as the insurance company wants to make sure that I am who I pretend to be, I also want to make sure that the advisor has a proper license and that he is not a fraudster who will usurp my identity, “explains Mr. Charpentier.

He adds that the insurers have preferred the approach of signing the client and ensuring the compliance of this signature. “The insurers’ digital systems are mainly used to sign insurance applications and client knowledge sheets in investment funds. They are not intended to verify the right of exercise of the adviser who signs or verify the integrity of the document he transmits. The identity of all parties is important when signing a document, “said Mr. Charpentier.

Consent as sole validation

According to Daniel Guillemette, president of the firm Diversico Expert-Conseils, a contract can be concluded in Quebec with the consent for only validation. “The signature is not legally required,” says Guillemette.

However, insurers all require that the signatures of clients and their advisors be affixed to all transaction forms, including the insurance application. “In insurance, we require the signature to allow the judge to decide in case of dispute, for example, if one of two signatories disavows his signature. That’s why insurers will be able to ask for a witness to attest to each party’s signature, “he explains.

Effective solution

Guillemette believes that click-to-sign technology can work around this problem effectively. “In remote transactions, a signature with a finger or a mouse is worthless. We must go further. For example, the advisor should identify the client, validate and send him a form with a link in the email. The customer clicks on the link and must then enter a security code orally on the phone, or ask the system to send it to you by SMS “, describes Mr. Guillemette. He reports that Diversico uses ensign, it’s signature technology that allows such a level of security.

CEO of Analystik software development firm, Michel Martel offers imaging signature technology, with an emerging company called Signder. To sign a multi-million dollar life insurance policy, he recognizes that the signature needs to be stronger.

“The signatory must register and obtain a unique identifier. The insurer must have the signature in its database, “says Martel. Insurers will not be able to sign multi-million dollar insurance with an eSign signature, he adds.

Fear of the unknown

Insurers fear the unknown. “It’s the case law that blocks. There have not yet been a major court case in which a plaintiff contests being a signatory to a large life insurance policy, “says Martel.

The electronic signature can save millions of insurers in time-saving. But all insurers expect a fairly strong case law before raising the limits of insurance, with an electronic signature, explains Mr. Martel.

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