NAII Expresses Concern Over Potential Negative Impact of Maine Anti-Spam Bill

May 28, 2003

The National Association of Independent Insurers has expressed its concern to Maine Governor John Balducci that a bill aimed to thwart unwanted and unsolicited e-mail may interfere with legitimate electronic communications that insurers have with their consumers.

“In an effort to stop the flood of unwanted e-mail advertisements, the Maine legislature has passed an anti-spam bill (LD255 ) that requires senders of commercial electronic communications to include return e-mail addresses so recipients can respond if they no don’t want any more messages,” said the NAII. “The bill also requires commercial e-mails to include in the subject line the coding of ‘ADV’ to show it is an advertisement or ‘ADV:ADLT’ to inform the recipient that the material contains adult subject matter. Each unsolicited commercial e-mail sent to a recipient in violation of the law would be considered an unfair trade practice. The bill also grants complete immunity to e-mail service providers who block communications they believe to be in violation of the act.”

“While the NAII fully understands and supports the effort to place restrictions on unsolicited e-mail, a carte blanche blanket immunity may very well result in prohibitions of legitimate electronic communication between an insurer and policyholder,” stated NAII counsel Ann Weber. “A very real potential for abuse is present if there are no consequences for interfering with legitimate electronic communications. This type of intrusion with business communications could be harmful to consumers if important communications are mistakenly blocked. Immunity is unnecessary and improper due to the potential for harm”

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