Electronic Signature Agreement Reached

June 12, 2000

A final electronic signature legislation agreement was struck last week by House and Senate conference committee negotiators. It is expected to easily pass in both chambers before being sent to President Clinton for his signature.

The agreement includes a number of key insurance priorities, including a provision ensuring the bill’s applicability to the business of insurance, which is required by the McCarran-Ferguson Act; legal validity not only to electronic signatures, but to electronic records and documents, which is important to the paper-intensive insurance industry’ the removal of onerous exceptions to the bill that would have severely limited the bill’s applicability to insurance; and the preemption of non-uniform provisions in the model Uniform Electronic Transactions Act that would have permitted states to prohibit the use of electronic signatures and documents in specified insurance transactions.

The new bill also includes a broad preemption that will effectively trump state law where the UETA model act or similar legislation has not yet passed.

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