(a) (1) Any written record required to be given or mailed to any person by a licensee, including an offer of renewal required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 663 and Section 678, the notice of policy change or cancellation requested by the insured as required by Section 667.5, the offer of coverage or renewal or any disclosure required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 10086, and the offer of renewal for a workers’ compensation policy may, if not excluded by subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 1633.3 of the Civil Code, be provided by electronic transmission pursuant to Title 2.5 (commencing with Section 1633.1) of Part 2 of Division 3 of the Civil Code, if each party has agreed to conduct the transaction by electronic means pursuant to Section 1633.5 of the Civil Code, and if the licensee complies with the provisions of this section. A valid electronic signature shall be sufficient for any provision of law requiring a written signature.
(2) For purposes of this section, the definitions set forth in Section 1633.2 of the Civil Code shall apply. The term “licensee” means an insurer, agent, broker, or any other person who is required to be licensed by the department.
(3) Notwithstanding subdivision (l) of Section 1633.2 of the Civil Code, for purposes of this section, “person” includes, but is not limited to, the policy owner, policyholder, applicant, insured, or assignee or designee of an insured.
(b) In order to transmit a record listed in subdivision (a) electronically, a licensee shall comply with all of the following:
(1) A licensee, or licensee’s representative, acquires the consent of the person to opt in to receive the record by electronic transmission, and the person has not withdrawn that consent, prior to providing the record by electronic transmission. A person’s consent may be acquired verbally, in writing, or electronically. If consent is acquired verbally, the licensee shall confirm consent in writing or electronically. The licensee shall retain a record of the person’s consent to receive the record by electronic transmission with the policy information so that it is retrievable upon request by the department while the policy is in force and for five years thereafter.
(2) A licensee discloses, in writing or electronically, to the person all of the following:
(A) The opt in to receive the record by electronic transmission is voluntary.
(B) That the person may opt out of receiving the record by electronic transmission at any time, and the process or system for the person to opt out.
(C) A description of the record that the person will receive by electronic transmission.
(D) The process or system to report a change or correction in the person’s email address.
(E) The licensee’s contact information, which includes, but is not limited to, a toll-free number or the licensee’s Internet Web site address.
(3) The opt-in consent disclosure required by paragraph (2) may be set forth in the application or in a separate document that is part of the policy approved by the commissioner and shall be bolded or otherwise set forth in a conspicuous manner. The person’s signature shall be set forth immediately below the opt-in consent disclosure. If the licensee seeks consent at any time prior to the completion of the application, consent and signature shall be obtained before the application is completed. If the person has not opted in at the time the application is completed, the licensee may receive the opt-in consent at any time thereafter, pursuant to the same opt-in requirements that apply at the time of the application. The licensee shall retain a copy of the signed opt-in consent disclosure with the policy information so that each is retrievable upon request by the department while the policy is in force and for five years thereafter.
(4) The email address of the person who has consented to electronic transmission shall be set forth on the consent disclosure. In addition, if the person who consented receives an annual statement, the email address of the person who has consented shall be set forth on that record.
(5) The licensee shall annually provide one free printed copy of any record described in this subdivision upon request by the person.
(6) If a provision of this code requires a licensee to transmit a record by first-class mail, regular mail, does not specify a method of delivery, or is a record that is required to be provided pursuant to Article 6.6 (commencing with Section 791), and if the licensee is not otherwise prohibited from transmitting the record electronically under subdivision (b) of Section 1633.8 of the Civil Code, then the record may be transmitted by electronic transmission if the licensee complies with all of the requirements of Sections 1633.15 and 1633.16 of the Civil Code.
(7) If the record is not delivered directly to the electronic address designated by the person but placed at an electronic address accessible to the person, a licensee shall notify the person in plain, clear, and conspicuous language at the electronic address designated by the person that describes the record, informs that person that it is available at another location, and provides instructions to the person as to how to obtain the record.
(8) (A) Upon a licensee receiving information indicating that the record sent by electronic transmission was not received by the person, the licensee shall, within five business days, comply with either clause (i) or (ii):
(i) Contact the person to confirm or update the person’s email address and resend the record by electronic transmission. If the licensee elects to resend the record by electronic transmission, the licensee shall demonstrate the transmission was received by the person, pursuant to paragraph (6). If the licensee is unable to confirm or update the person’s email address, the licensee shall resend the record by regular mail to the licensee at the address shown on the policy, or, if the underlying statute requires delivery in a specified manner, send the record in that specified manner.
(ii) Resend the record initially provided by electronic transmission by regular mail to the insured at the address shown on the policy, or, if the underlying statute requires delivery in a specified manner, send the record in that specified manner.
(B) If the licensee sends the first electronic record within the time period required by law and the licensee complies with both paragraph (5) and subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the record sent pursuant to clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall be treated as if mailed in compliance with the applicable statutory regular mail delivery deadlines.
(9) The licensee shall not charge any person who declines to opt in to receive a record through electronic transmission from receiving a record electronically. The licensee shall not provide a discount or an incentive to any person to opt in to receive electronic records.
(10) The licensee shall verify a person’s email address via paper writing sent by regular mail when more than 12 months have elapsed since the licensee’s last electronic communication.
(c) An insurance agent or broker acting under the direction of a party that enters into a contract by means of an electronic record or electronic signature shall not be held liable for any deficiency in the electronic procedures agreed to by the parties under that contract if all of the following are met:
(1) The insurance agent or broker has not engaged in negligent, reckless, or intentional tortious conduct.
(2) The insurance agent or broker was not involved in the development or establishment of the electronic procedures.
(3) The insurance agent or broker did not deviate from the electronic procedures.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 1633.3 of the Civil Code, for any policy of life insurance, as defined in Section 101, any statutory requirement for a separate acknowledgment, signature, or initial, which is not expressly prohibited by subdivision (c) of Section 1633.3 of the Civil Code, may be transacted using an electronic signature, or by electronic transaction, subject to all applicable provisions of this section.
(e) The department may suspend a licensee from providing records by electronic transmission if there is a pattern or practices that demonstrate the licensee has failed to comply with the requirements of this section. A licensee may appeal the suspension and resume its electronic transmission of records upon communication from the department that the changes the licensee made to its process or system to comply with the requirements of this section are satisfactory.
(f) This section does not apply to a written record that is required to be given or mailed to any person by a licensee and that relates to the business of life insurance, as defined in Section 101.
(g) A notice of lapse, nonrenewal, cancellation, or termination required by a section of this code that is excluded by subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 1633.3 of the Civil Code may be transmitted electronically if it is also transmitted by mail, as prescribed by statute.
(h) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2021.
(Repealed (in Sec. 6) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 617, Sec. 7. (AB 2591) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2021, by its own provisions.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018