New South Carolina Bill Could Reduce Auto Insurance Fraud

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  • In a number of states across the country, legislators are considering laws that would allow drivers to utilize the latest technology as a means of proving their insurance information during traffic stops. Such a bill has already passed in Rhode Island, and one is now being considered in South Carolina as well. This could be good news for insurance agents operating in those states because it might allow them to offer more competitively priced premiums as a means of attracting new customers.

    The South Carolina bill in particular now only awaits the signature of Gov. Nikki Haley, after the state Senate approved it late last week, according to a report from the Associated Press. If this bill is passed, South Carolina will become the 31st state in which drivers are allowed to provide proof of their auto insurance policies to police officers using their smartphones. Under current state law, drivers must keep a physical document which their coverage in their vehicles at all times, and this card must be updated every six months.

    State Rep. Todd Atwater, a Republican representing Lexington, told the news agency that this is a “common sense, flexible bill” which will benefit drivers statewide, the report said. In addition it could also serve to reduce the amount of auto insurance fraud in the state, while still protecting driver privacy because the bill specifies that law enforcement officials will not be able to search for any other information on the phone besides proof of insurance.

    Part of a growing movement
    The interesting part all the national trend toward accepting this kind of proof of insurance is that, as of less than three years ago, there wasn’t a single state in the country which allowed it, the report said. In 2012, seven states made the switch, and many more did last year. Several other states including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia have similar legislation pending.

    “Consumers would like to have the ease and convenience,” Oyango Snell, regional manager of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, told the news agency. “Having a smartphone is a necessity for many people these days.”

    If insurance fraud is reduced on a statewide basis, that can serve as a boon to those consumers who are looking for lower premium costs. If insurance agents are able to highlight the savings their companies can provide drivers as a result, then that may end up being good for business overall