New Electronic Signature Capability Cuts Down on Paperwork
MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio � February 16, 2005 � The Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies continues its commitment to making auto insurance easier by becoming one of the first auto insurers to enable customers to sign purchase documents electronically via computer � making the process of purchasing a policy online easier and faster. The electronic signature, or �e-signature,� is a technological leap forward because it can replace a �wet� signature, in which a customer has to physically sign a paper document. Progressive Direct, which sells directly to customers online and over the phone, recently made the capability available to customers in 17 states, with the goal of making it available in all states where Progressive Direct is offered within the next several months.
�Buying auto insurance online is already incredibly convenient, but without the ability to sign policy forms online, at the point of sale, customers still get forms in the mail they have to sign and return to complete their purchase,� said Richard Hutchinson who, as a general manager for Progressive Direct, oversees the quoting and buying experience. �Being able to sign forms online eliminates most of that follow-up paperwork.�
For example, a Progressive Direct customer can now electronically sign the application or, if the customer chooses to have funds automatically deducted from a checking account, the customer can electronically sign the form to authorize Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Customers can also sign forms to reject certain coverages online at the point of sale. Without the ability to sign online, in some states, customers would be required to accept � and pay for � the coverages until they physically signed and returned forms. These are just a few instances where Progressive Direct customers can sign the legally required forms online, without the hassle of getting follow-up paperwork in the mail.
�We�re always looking for new and innovative ways to make car insurance easier and better for consumers,� said Hutchinson. �This is just the latest example of an innovation that gives customers a choice in how they want to interact with us.�
Progressive Direct customers who opt to sign forms electronically may still have to conduct some post-sale business by mail, such as if they need to provide proof of prior insurance or home ownership. The Companies are developing processes to accomplish those tasks online, too. In addition, Progressive Direct is exploring ways to adapt the technology for use by the Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies, which sells to consumers through independent agents and brokers.
Currently, the e-signature capability is available to Progressive Direct�s online customers in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Vermont. For an up-to-date map showing where e-fulfillment is available, click here.
Use of electronic signatures in commerce became possible in 2000 after Congress passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN). The E-SIGN Act adopted the most significant rules of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which gives electronic signatures the same legal standing as paper signatures.
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies has been an industry leader in technological innovation. Last year, Progressive Direct began testing a usage-based insurance discount program in Minnesota called TripSenseSM that allows customers to get discounts based on when, how much and how fast they drive. In 2003, Progressive was the first to open claims service centers providing a �concierge-level� of service in which the entire claims/repair process is handled on behalf of customers. Progressive Direct was first to sell auto insurance policies in real time online (1997), first to offer comparison rates of other leading insurance companies (1994) and the first major auto insurer to have a Web site (1995).
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at progressivedirect.com through the Progressive DirectSM brand. The Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies offers insurance through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies that market their products and services through the Drive Insurance from ProgressiveSM brand. For more information, go to driveinsurance.com. The Common Shares of the Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at progressive.com.