How Digital Format Insurance is Changing the Game

February 19, 2023


Nowadays, so much of our daily “business” can be done virtually. When was the last time you purchased a boarding pass for your next flight over the phone, or even at the airport? How many of us prefer to pay our friends back via e-transfer, rather than with cash? And many of us have DoorDash, UberEats, or other form of food delivery services apps on our phones. It’s so much easier than the alternative!

Some of us may frown at our growing dependency on tech, but no one can deny the practicality of having everything right there at our fingertips. In the insurance industry, we’re starting to notice the very same: radical transformations are happening, not only in the way that insurance is calculated, but also in the way we can access it. Digital proof of auto insurance, aka digital pink cards, becoming a “thing” years ago, but only now are provinces beginning to recognize digital pink cards as valid proof of insurance, over the physical alternative.

Is it possible for me to use digital format insurance in place of the paper version?

In Ontario, yes! That being said, digital proof of insurance is not yet acceptable in every province in Canada. Currently, the only provinces in Canada to accept digital proof of insurance are Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Some provinces (i.e., some particular police offers) may let you get away with proof of insurance on your phone even if it isn’t actually recognized as legitimate in the province, but it’s better to abide by the rules and regulations of that province than hope for one person who will let your digital pink slip pass.

What if my province accepts digital proof of insurance but I’m travelling in another province that doesn’t?

Digital proof of insurance is only accepted by the provinces that have permitted the use of electronic pink slips. Unfortunately, if you’re travelling in a province that doesn’t accept this form of proof, you’ll need to carry a paper version with you – just in case.

It’s also worth noting that in provinces where digital pink slips are accepted, it’s not mandatory. Both the physical and digital versions will be acceptable in provinces where electronic pink slips, or EPAIs (electronic proof of insurance) is permitted.

To note as well, this is only applicable for auto insurance. You may still need your physical policy documents for your home insurance or any other policy you have.

Beyond EPAIs: how insurance companies are encouraging the swap to digital:

It’s not just digital proof of insurance that’s becoming commonplace in the insurance world. More and more, insurance companies are now encouraging their companies to go paperless. It’s happening with a lot of businesses: doctor’s offices, banks, even hair salons. They’re opting to make the switch to electronic documents versus the paper alternative to reduce as much physical clutter as possible.

The same is happening for insurance companies. While it began with auto insurance companies, the trend is occurring with other product insurance providers. To encourage customers to swap over to the electronic variation, some insurance companies are offering a discount on clients’ insurance premiums in exchange for the switch. As AI evolves the insurance industry, and as we see more and more operations swapping to entirely digital functions, this is becoming the case more and more.

What’s the catch? Well, no catch. The only thing that changes is that your insurance documents will be made available to you online rather than mailed to you in the form of paper documents and you’ll be making your payments online. Some companies are obvious about their offerings of discounts, whereas with others you may need to call in to inquire if a discount is offered.

What’s the benefit of going paperless?

Did you know that paper accounts for 1/3 of waste in Canada? Reducing paper waste is beneficial in multiple ways. For one, it severely reduces the odds of you losing any important insurance documents, or your physical pink slip, which is a hassle to reprint and get back. It also reduces the negative impact that excessive paper use can have on our planet.

Paperless billing and insurance documents present the following benefits:

  • It’s easier to organize and more accessible. Your insurance documents are available for you to view at your convenience, and you can download/print them whenever and wherever you’d like. It’s much simpler than having to sift through stacks on stacks of envelopes in your filing cabinets or stored in a drawer somewhere.
  • You can access proof of insurance whenever. It’s still a good idea to have physical proof of insurance depending on where you’re going, but you may not always have it readily available. In cases like this, it’s a great thing to be able to obtain proof of insurance at any point. Just ensure that your mobile device is always charged when you’re driving.
  • You receive emails when there’s an update. If there’s ever a change to your insurance, deductibles, or a new policy term, or really any other pertinent policy info, you won’t have to wait to receive those changes in the mail. You’ll get an email instantly.
  • It’s easier to use your insurer’s app. Many insurance companies will offer an app or web portal that encourages drivers to use so they can manage their policies all in one place, view a claim easier, receive proof of insurance, or pay bills easier.
  • View statements and pay bills all in one place. It’s just more convenient with paperless billing. You won’t have to sift through piles of paper and you can easily view old statements. You may even check your due dates, account balances, and payment history easier.

Beyond going paperless, many insurance companies are incentivizing their consumers to make greener choices – especially following Canada’s move to mandate electric vehicle sales.

There’s tons of ways that digital format is shaping the way we buy, manage, and access insurance. In summary, it’s convenience. In future years, we may even see new ways that insurance companies are simplifying the game, all so clients can get their protection easier without hassle.