MARYBETH G. STEVENS
March 13, 2001
Re: Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act Workshop Comments
Dear Sirs and Madams:
I am writing to you on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers ("ACLI") whose 426 members hold 80 percent of the legal reserve life insurance in force in the United States.
These companies help Americans provide for their financial security through life, disability income, and long-term care insurance. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the consent provisions of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.
The ACLI participated in the development of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act ("ESIGN"), as well as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act ("UETA"). Given the unique regulatory nature of the business of insurance, it being regulated by the individual states, it was important then, as it is now, that the ACLI participate in any developments related to these important laws. Due to the nature of our regulation, we often have unique circumstances that should be considered.
At this time, the only issue we would like considered during your Workshop relates to Section 104(d)(1).
Section 104(d)(1) provides:
Our concern lies in the fact that only "Federal" regulatory agencies are given the ability to exempt specified categories or types of records from the consent requirements found in section 101(c). For insurance purposes, the obvious gap here is that state regulatory agencies are not given similar authority. This has the potential to create an extremely unlevel playing field among providers of financial services. The problem is not limited to insurance. In fact, I believe the clearest example of a potential problem is found in the banking industry. Under ESIGN, as written, federal banking regulators could determine that a particular record warranted exemption from the consent requirements found in Section 101(c), but a state banking regulator would not have the same authority to adopt the same exemption for the record for state banks. This appears to be an illogical, and I believe unintended, result of Section 104(d)(1). This is particularly true in light of the fact that many, if not most, state UETA bills and laws are being amended to include the consent provisions found in ESIGN's Section 101(c).
The most simple "fix" to this problem is to amend Section 104(d)(1) by including a reference to "or state" as follows:
We appreciate your efforts to study the online consent requirements of ESIGN and thank you for consideration the above comments. I plan to attend and hope to participate in your Workshop on April 3, 2001. In the meantime, however, if I can be of assistance with this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to call. I can be reached at (202) 624-2187 or MarybethStevens@acli.com.
Marybeth G. Stevens
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