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Alberta Announces Approval of Electronic Pink Slips for Proof of Auto Insurance

Couple in car with sunroof

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has officially announced the decision to allow electronic pink slips to be used as proof of insurance across the province. The move is a welcome one for Albertans, and will remove the outdated requirement for physical pink slips to be carried as proof of insurance.

The move brings Alberta in line with methods used in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the only other Canadian provinces to currently allow electronic pink slips to be used as proof of insurance, via a display on their smartphone.

Across the border, many U.S. states have already initiated such proof of insurance, starting with emailed, printable policies and advancing quickly to device enabled display. Traffic patrols in many states now enabled to check current insurance (including cancellation for non-payment) on the fly, ensuring better accuracy.

This is a stark departure from the world of insurance less than a decade ago - in 2011, no U.S. state or Canadian province allowed digital proof of insurance, and now 43 states have adopted the practice.

The switch to digitized proof of insurance is a positive one for both consumers and the industry at large - as it speeds the confirmation of either insurance proof or lack of insurance, encouraging drivers to stay compliant.

Early objections raised against the concept of mobile devices being used to show proof of insurance centred around privacy concerns, but these have been laid to rest as it was pointed out that such information could be effectively siloed in individual phone data storage, allowing proof to be shown to law enforcement without invasion of privacy. A physical pink slip option is still available to insurers and drivers.

According to IBC Vice-President Celeyste Power, the Alberta government's swift action is a step towards a 21st-century insurance product. IBC overwhelmingly supports the loosening of restrictions and requirements across the industry, which is heavily over-regulated with over 35 individual provisions.

Power said, "The insurance industry supports any changes that help make insurance easier and more accessible for drivers… we look forward to continuing to work with the government to bring more choice and innovation to Albertans."

Drivers are allowed to start using electronic pink slips as proof of insurance immediately, in line with practices common in other financial sectors, like banking, which have long embraced digitized records for convenience, accuracy, and speed of service. The overall effect is an improved consumer experience.

"Over 70 percent of Albertans feel that insurance should offer more innovation and choice on how they receive their documents," Power told a news conference on Monday, adding, "This is an excellent first step and shows that this government is clearly committed to cutting red tape for the benefit of Albertans. We look forward to working with the government on other common-sense measures that will improve the auto insurance system for Alberta's 3 million drivers."

The wait is on now to see if Ontario and other provinces follow suit. If you’re looking for insurance, you can shop and compare the cheapest car insurance rates online at Rates.ca.