N.J. Gov. Signs Electronic Proof of Auto Insurance, Reverse Rate Evasion Bills

By | May 7, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law on Thursday A-3905/S-2680, which authorizes motor vehicle operators to display proof of auto insurance in either the physical format (a paper insurance card provided by their insurance carrier) or the electronic format (evidence of insurance provided by their carrier and displayed in an electronic form, via smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices).

The legislation (An Act concerning motor vehicle insurance identification cards and amending R.S.39:3-29) also specifies that when evidence of insurance is displayed in the electronic form using mobile devices, it does not constitute consent for a police officer or judge to access any other contents on the device.

The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New Jersey (IIABNJ) issued a statement commending the governor and the legislature for ushering the Garden State into the digital age by enacting a measure allowing New Jersey motorists to provide electronic proof of auto insurance.

“This new law will modernize the process of providing evidence of auto insurance coverage in an environmentally-friendly way that keeps up with consumer demands for greater electronic communication and interactions,” said Frank Jones, chairman of IIABNJ.

There are 37 other states with laws that allow drivers to present electronic proof of insurance, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

New Law Targets Reverse Rate Evasion

Christie also signed into law on Thursday A-2281/S-1727 (An Act concerning insurance fraud and amending P.L.2003, c.89 and P.L.1983, c.320.), which includes so-called reverse rate evasion as a form of insurance fraud and provides for civil and criminal penalties.

The measure targets residents who fraudulently obtain auto insurance in another state with lower rates, even though New Jersey is their principal residence or they principally keep the insured vehicle in New Jersey.

The new law would consider the reverse rate evasion a form of insurance fraud that violates the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, making it a crime of the fourth degree. The bill also specifies that reverse rate evasion constitutes a violation of the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, with various civil penalties and remedies provided for in that act applying to violations.

The New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has previously documented a growing trend of New Jersey residents insuring in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to avoid higher insurance rates, according to Assemblyman Joseph Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic), the bill’s co-sponsor.

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