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Do you know how digitization fits into insurance innovation and today’s insurance industry trends?  You need to!

The insurance industry, like others, is grappling with evolving customer expectations as the digital era ushers in convenience and innovation at an unprecedented rate.

Moreover, the modern consumer, quite frankly, expects all the legwork to be done for him. And if you think he’s willing to wait around for long, you may as well send him packing to the competition.

After all, he can walk—or click—over to your competitors and receive a quote, terms, bundled policy and closing paperwork all in about an hour (he’ll even get a discount for signing up online).

Even more importantly, instead of being at the mercy of his agent’s or carrier’s availability, he could execute common activities online, including:

  1. Submitting claims
  2. Checking the status of a claim
  3. Reviewing or changing a policy
  4. Billing inquires
  5. And more…

… he can even access his insurance card and documents immediately after signing!

In 2018, consumers don’t just look for this type of online functionality, they demand it! However, it seems those of you in the insurance industry are already very much aware of these evolving expectations and the need for insurance innovation…

At the most recent PwC Financial Services Audit and Risk Committee Forum, CEOs in the insurance industry cited ‘digital transformation’ and ‘evolving customer expectations’ as the most disruptive forces to insurance industry trends.  

In fact, the insurance CEOs ranked these concerns higher than any other industry… At the same forum, 67% of insurers cited digitization and insurance innovation as being ‘very important’ to their organizations.

In an evolving market, many carriers have already taken steps towards achieving insurance innovation… but all too often, they execute in isolation through fragmented, single-project approaches.

Insurance industry experts warn against fragmented digital implementations. When you merely digitally overhaul some  and not all your processes, your client experiences are inevitably disjointed and poor.  

For this reason, experts implore agencies and carriers to adopt a digital-first strategy, one capable of implementing systemic digitization throughout the entire organization, value chain and customer experience.

Digital transaction management with electronic signature platforms like AssureSign are how competitive agencies and carriers grow their client roster, provide exceptional experiences, and embrace insurance innovation.

 

Insurance Innovation: 4 Benefits of Using eSignature

Embracing insurance innovation and a digital-first strategy with eSignature provides four primary benefits to those in the insurance industry…

1. Reduce Cost… Improve Productivity

eSign replaces the dated ‘print, send, receive, scan, store’ process with a secured and automated transaction lifecycle. Have you considered how much your office spends on paper, printing ink, faxes, couriers and shipping, and physical storage? (Hint: we promise it’s not cheap.)

eSignature is one of few solutions capable of (1) eliminating these and similar costs, (2) driving productivity, and (3) supporting emerging insurance industry trends. Used as a web-based application or as an integrated solution with your existing client management system, you can create and send popular documents in minutes, including:

  • Contracts
  • Policy Applications
  • Policy Change Requests
  • Coverage Elections
  • Change of Beneficiary/Address Forms
  • Onboarding Paperwork
  • And more!

2. Diminish E&O Exposure

eSignature all but eliminates unnecessary risk associated with completing sensitive insurance documents between carriers, agents and clients.

No customer wants to wait another six weeks because they forgot to check a box or put a date beside their signature. With AssureSign’s form completion guarantee, customers are automatically alerted to any required fields left blank on a form!

What’s more, your clients can easily add necessary or supporting documentation as attachments during the signing process! And because all these associated documents and attachments are stored in a single, digital file… retaining or accessing them later is made easy.

3. Create a Competitive Edge 

Competitive brands at the top of their market attribute much of their success to a complex architecture, comprised of many marketing, sales and project-driven tactics. Yet, there’s at least one commonality among these top brands…

Each and every successful business will have undoubtingly narrowed in on exactly  what their consumers need and, more importantly, what they want.

After surveying nearly 300 individuals who recently purchased insurance, Software Advice compiled their findings and details the most influential factors among insurance industry consumers:

  • Reliable Service. 56% of insurance buyers cite reliable service as one of the dominating factors in selecting a carrier or agent.
  • Self-Service. Over one third of the respondents say the capacity for self-service is “very important” when choosing who they’ll do business with.
  • Software Utilization. 31% of the consumer pool said the type of software used by a carrier or agency will influence their decision.
  • Direct Purchases. Nearly two thirds of respondents purchased insurance directly through a carrier—using methods such as purchasing online—while only 30% purchased coverage through a multi-carrier agency or brokerage.

These four points highlight the crucial impact that insurance innovation and digitization have on insurance industry trends.

Software utilization is a rather direct and self-evident byproduct of digitization within the insurance realm. Technological transformation has pervaded the market for some time now and consumers are software literate. They’ve been on the receiving end of a vendor’s dated or ineffective internal software. They’re privy to the disjointed online experience resulting from internal solutions incapable of supporting the organization’s entire back end processes… and they’re simply not interested. Consumers look to vendors with internal software and solutions capable of providing them with a capable and seamless online experience.   

When providers digitally transform their entire workflow architecture, providing online self-service—receiving a quote, client onboarding, claims, etc.—becomes as easy as one, two, three.

4. Delight Clients

Speaking of providing self-services online… there’s no better way to attract new clients and delight your existing ones!

Enabling your clients to submit claims, modify their policies or elections, manage their information, and more online is central to an excellent customer experience.

However, not all the software and solutions that enable the digitization of these processes are created equally.

And, as we noted earlier, the software and solutions supporting your internal processes also dictate the capacity and quality of your customer-facing processes…

Take an online service among today’s popular insurance industry trends like submitting a claim for example…

If your internal software is incapable of supporting attachments as part of the submission process, your clients are forced to mail, fax, or scan supporting documentation and photographic evidence. Not to mention, receiving these documents and pairing them with the correct claim is enormously  vulnerable to human error.

Solutions like AssureSign allow your clients to complete the entire lifecycle of this transaction digitally and in minutes. Our electronic signature process innately supports signer attachments, so your clients can complete their business easily and securely.

 

 

The takeaway? Look for the all-encompassing solutions that are budget friendly, sure, but that are capable of digitally transforming your organization’s entire  infrastructure from front to back.

 

 

AssureSign: Getting Started with eSignature

 

Ready to be your consumer’s top choice? Download our free Getting Started with eSignature eBook to learn how businesses easily transform their workflows with eSignature!

 

 

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn will officially begin on September 22nd. However, for many, Labor Day marked summer’s unofficial departure.

Today, it’s rather customary for the first Monday in September to be celebrated with boats, backyards and barbecues. Yet, despite the fun-filled summertime gatherings, Labor Day has historically honored the contribution of America’s workforce.

 

Labor Day: Then and Now.

The first ever “workingmen’s holiday” was commissioned by the Central Labor Union in New York City in 1882.

These celebrations quickly became commonplace in many states and large cities across the nation. While the festivities varied, all sought to commemorate the time and effort exerted by the nation’s workforce. Just over ten years later, Labor Day was established as a federal holiday in 1894—delivering the two most highly sought-after observances: 1. Due recognition. 2. Sleeping in.

It’s been a century and a few decades since the first Monday in September was earmarked as a tribute to America’s workforce. In that time, we’ve come quite a way in improving working conditions, work/life balances and the benefits of employment.

Many of these benefits are indebted to legislation, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, which guarantee reasonable working conditions.

 

Through the Years: Digital Impact

Yet, the far less grueling labor required among modern jobs is largely brought on by progress in technology…

Take a look at how digitization has impacted America’s market over the past few decades:

  • 1954: General Electric installs the UNIVAC I for payroll processing and manufacturing control programs at its Major Appliance Division plant, marking the first business use of a computer in the U.S.

  • 1960: American Airlines implements its Sabre flight reservation system, digitally processing 84,000 phone calls per day along with storing reservations, flight schedules and seat inventory.

  • 1968: U.S. libraries adopt Machine Readable Catalogs (MARC).

  • 1977: Citibank installs the first ATM. Machines are placed in all its New York branches by the end of the year.

  • 1979: Federal Express digitizes the real-time management of people, vehicles, packages, and weather scenarios by launching its COSMOS systems.

  • 1994: Thought to be the first digital transaction, a large pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese pizza is ordered from Pizza Hut.

  • 1996: Digital storage becomes more cost-effective than paper-based storage.

  • 2000: The ESIGN Act—and UETA (1999)—assigns the same legal validity to electronic signatures as traditional pen-to-paper signatures.

  • 2007: 94% of the world’s information storage capacity is digital.

 

Aiming to Automate 

Fast forward to 2018, you’ll see many electronic and digital benefits comprising “Industry 4.0,” a term coined to define what’s now a significantly automated job market.

Not all businesses are fully digital.

In fact, less than 40% of organizations in the U.S. have half or more of their business processes online.

If this describes your business, department, team, etc…

you may not be asking why  or if  you should embrace digital processes…

but how  to begin

 

Start Simple… Start with eSignature

In its recent publicationAragon Research notes many paradigms found in the market’s digital shift…

Yet, it consolidates its findings into this simple concept:

“… a fully digital business process is what consumers want; it’s all about ease of use.”

In other words, your customer—despite industry, product or service—yearns for a digital means of doing business with you.

Now, we realize we’re biased… but why wouldn’t they!? It’s convenient…  fast…  secure

… we could go on, but we won’t.  

It’s with this consumer vantage point in mind that Aragon highlights electronic signature as the  essential foundation of automating your business processes.

In the same publication that ranked AssureSign as an “innovator” among competitors, Aragon describes eSignature as the precursor for other advanced measures of digital transaction management, such as asset management or workflow content automation. This is likely due to the foundational and far-reaching functionality of eSign software.

A capable electronic signature platform like AssureSign not only renders legally binding signatures… it digitally transforms the entire lifecycle of nearly any transaction—including those requiring electronic payments! Bringing these transactions to your consumer’s laptop, tablet and even their iPhone can make or break your go-to-market strategy.

This Labor Day, bring digital versatility to your consumers while simultaneously removing the labor from manual, paper-laden processes…

 

Take labor out of the equation this Labor Day… Download your free Getting Started with eSignature eBook or schedule your free demo to digitally transform your business today!

 

 

What’s your favorite restaurant? Preferred gas station? Coffee joint? Which gym do you go… errr… belong  to?

We all have a go-to (or perhaps a few) for these and other jaunts. And, while their merchandise and services may contrast, most of them likely have one thing in common…

Many of them are franchises.

While a boutique’s charm is unmistakable and the uniqueness of a mom-and-pop restaurant irrefutable, franchised businesses quantify much of today’s market–projected to rake in a GDP of $451 billion in 2018–and bring convenience to our daily hustle.

Why are franchises so convenient? They’re where we work, shop, eat, sleep… and just about everywhere else.  Assembling multiple locations into existence, however, is no easy task.

In fact, it’s quite a coordinated effort… from federal regulations to geographic considerations to hiring and training to maintaining quality… and beyond. Sounding like a circus? It can be without the help of a franchising management solution.

Thankfully, franchise partners like Naranga make simplifying growth their business.New Partnership: AssureSign and Naranga

Who is Naranga?

Acquiring over 112 brands in 2017 alone, Naranga is a leading franchise partner, nationwide. Primarily focused on expanding and maintaining the quality of franchises, Naranga offers all-in-one digital solutions capable of managing the various operations involved in enterprise growth.

Naranga’s franchise management solutions are built with the capacity to meet the unique needs of each individual business and industry. Its premier solution, ncompass, centralizes franchise operations management while simplifying collaboration between stakeholders, franchisors, franchisees and employees.

ncompass includes native features, such as:

  • Real-time chats accessible to employees across the company

  • A maintenance and support ticket manager

  • Efficiency reporting for each franchise location with performance stats and analytics

  • Onboarding progress trackers

  • and more!

 

In addition to ncompass, Naranga offers field audit, video training, and lead generation solutions to meet the needs of their clients’ curtailed go-to-market strategies.

Like all Naranga clients, Toro Taxes also reaped many of the software’s benefits, specifics for Toro Taxes include:

  • Reduced time onboarding clients by 50%

  • Drastically increased communications throughout the organization

  • Reduced unnecessary headcount

 

Naranga’s priority is to equip their customers with the tools necessary to manage their franchise growth independently. Yet, their primary differentiator is the consultation and partnership offered to their clients.

“When we welcome franchises into the Naranga family, they’re not just acquiring a solution from a provider… they’re gaining a devoted partner who’s committed to advancing their success. This devotion means offering franchise consulting during every step of a client’s growth journey.”

Derek Jamieson, Director of Product

 

Naranga and AssureSign: A Beautiful Collision for Franchise

With Naranga’s robust eMaximation solution, enterprises can fully automate their sales cycle while tracking and managing prospects in real-time!

With eMaximation, users can:

graphs and charts showing growth with AssureSign eSignature and Naranga for Franchises

  • Generate leads and build nurture cadences

  • Streamline internal collaboration

  • Create marketing and sales activity alerts

  • Produce automated lead scoring and task prioritization

  • Automate email nurture campaigns

  • Track sales performance and measure the quality of lead sources

 

Many of these processes require signatures and a method of storing and retaining documents for later use… Naranga prides itself in its commitment to client prosperity, so finding an eSignature vendor equally committed to that ideal—with a capable and innovative eSignature solution to back it—was of grave importance!

After being referred to AssureSign by an existing client, Naranga was instantly attracted to our company culture.

“It was immediately clear after beginning talks with AssureSign that they intrinsically value and invest in the businesses and people they work with!”

Derek Jamieson, Director of Product

 

At AssureSign, we absolutely prioritize our customers and partners. Yet, while a customer-centric culture is terrific, at the end of the day, you need a product that can meet your business’s needs and meet them well !

When searching for an eSign partner, it was impressive features like our double-layered security, white labeling and native agility that catapulted AssureSign to the top of Naranga’s list.

After discovering how easily AssureSign can be integrated with our open APIs, Naranga was ready to call AssureSign their electronic signature partner for franchise!

 

A Great Horizon for Naranga and Franchises ☀ 

Naranga is now looking at other ways to incorporate eSignature into their internal operations and external-facing solutions!

AssureSign is the only eSignature and digital transaction management solution that automates FTC timing guidelines required in franchising agreements. Coupled with other accelerating features like eSign via SMS/text message, AssureSign is the eSignature vendor of choice for those in franchising.

 

 

Multiplying your business? Explore how eSignature can accelerate and organize your operations… Download your free “Getting Started with eSignature Technology” eBook today!

 

New employment forms and on-boarding comes with a healthy dose of papers and signatures.

For industries and enterprises that routinely hire independent contractors and other non-traditional employees, this process can seem never-ending with what seems like a revolving door of new employees.

What’s more, this “independent workforce” is increasing quite rapidly. Over 40% of the U.S. workforce now holds a “contingent” job.

For companies that employ quite a few of these independent workers—think brand ambassadors, Lyft and Uber drivers, carpenters, etc.—that’s a lot of tax documents.

So, how do these companies gather the information they need to send 1099s or W2s at the end of the year?

May we introduce the all too crucial W9.

What is a W9?

A W9, or it’s more formal name “Request for Taxpayer Identification and Certification,” is the U.S. tax form used by employers and HR departments to collect the names, SSNs, addresses and other required information from independent workers (contractors) and other non-traditional employees.

How to fill out a W9 with AssureSign eSignature: Blank W9 Form

 

Benefits of Using AssureSign to Send & Receive a W9

One of the benefits of digital transformation? Forms like the W9 can be sent for signature electronically

… and no, we’re not talking about the old-school method of attaching a blank W9 form to an email, only to hope the receiver has a printer and  scanner.

Using AssureSign’s eSignature software to send a digital W9 eliminates  manual steps that often delay signers from promptly completing documents. eSignature software accelerates the digital W9 completion when compared to outdated methods such as attaching blank forms to an email or the far more manual process of printing, folding, sealing, paying for postage, sending, and waiting for its return.

With AssureSign, you can easily have employees electronically complete a W9 form…

With AssureSign’s eSign solution, you can send prospective employees a signing link via email or SMS/text message that allows them to begin and finish the electronic W9 process in just four simple steps using their laptop or or smartphone’s internet browser!

 

Eliminate Document Turnaround Time with AssureSign’s New SMS/Text to eSign Feature

 

The best part? Unlike most of our competitors who slow down completion rates by forcing signers to create a user/signer account, AssureSign enables your employees to complete and sign forms in mere minutes—no account required! 

With AssureSign’s robust UI and easy electronic signature process, it’s not surprising that many of our customers use our eSignature software to send W9 forms and other on-boarding paperwork to their new, part-time, contracted, temporary or seasonal employees.

 

Using AssureSign for forms that require various types of responses—text, numbers, multiple choices, dates, eSignatures, etc.—like the W9 form is a breeze.

Nevertheless, we often find the notion of creating these types of forms leaves our customers feeling (needlessly) like our favorite Rugrats character…

Don't panic when formatting forms with AssureSign eSignature platform

But, before you trip over your shoelaces… take a look at the 3 easy  steps to setting up a W9 form in AssureSign. When you’re done, you’ll be able to send a blank W9 form for eSignature to hundreds of thousands of employees whenever you like… in seconds!

 

 

Send a W9 with AssureSign

in 3(easy) Steps

 

Here, we’ll guide you through the create and send process using AssureSign’s new Simple Setup UI. There’s a few different ways you can create and send a W9 form using AssureSign, but our Simple Setup UI is preferable thanks to it’s drag and drop functionality. 

Before getting started, make certain you’ve logged into your AssureSign account in the web-portal.

Step 1: Upload a Blank W9 Form Into AssureSign

Downloading a blank W9 form like this one from the IRS is quick and free… just open the PDF and save the file to your computer.

AssureSign eSignature Tip: Use Template Mode for how to fill out a W9 formNext, you’ll open the file in the AssureSign web-portal…

When you create a template (rather than a one-time send using “✉ ENVELOPE” mode) you’ll only have to create the W9 form once ! When you’re done, you can save the template to quickly open and send the form as many times as you need! Here’s how to get started…

 

 

Once logged in to the AssureSign web-portal:

 1. Click the SEND DOCUMENT (SIMPLE SETUP) tab

 2. Choose TEMPLATES mode on the top navigation bar

 3. Click the blue + CREATE TEMPLATE button just below the top navigation bar

 4. Fill out the text fields as desired and click continue…

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Create Template In AssureSign
(for more help on formatting a template click here)

 

5. Either drag and drop the blank W9 form saved to your computer OR click the upload file icon…

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Upload a PDF or Word document into AssureSign

 

After selecting “NO” to allowing a sender to replace the file, it’s time to add a signer…

Step 2: Add a Signer

When using TEMPLATES mode, you’ll designate a signer label  rather than a specific  individual. This way, you can use your saved W9 template for any and every new employee–you’ll be prompted to input a signer’s information (name, email address, etc.) immediately prior to sending the W9.

  1. Click the “ADD SIGNER” button on the navigation bar to the right

  2. Input your desired Signer Label…

 

How to fill out a W9 with AssureSign eSignature: Add a Signer

 

For demonstration, we input “Employee” (pictured above) but you can use any label that fits your specific use case, such as  “Signer,” “Applicant,” “Employee Candidate,” or something else.

 

Step 3: Format the W9 Form

Lastly, you’ll place jotblocks on the W9 form using AssureSign’s drag and drop interface. Jotblocks allow your signer to input the requested information on the form before signing and submitting the form back to you.

We’ll walk through the types of jotblocks you’ll need to use for the W9 form below…

 

Lines 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7.

Add eSignature “Text” jotblocks to Lines 1, 2, 5, 6 and (if desired) 7.

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Place text jotblocks onto the w9 form

 

Line 4

For the two areas on Line 4 that request—optional—exemption codes, you can choose to use a “Text” eSignature jotblock OR you can utilize our Dropdown” eSignature jotblock to create a dropdown menu that contains all 13 “exemption payee codes” listed on page 3 of the W9 form. 

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: dropdown jotblock selected from the jotblock menu

 

If using the “Dropdown” jotblock toggle the “Required” switch OFF because Line 4 is optional (if the required switch is left ON, a signer will not be able to submit the form if this line is left blank). Add appropriate instructions and name the jotblock.

Then, add each exemption code (they’re listed on page 3 of the W9) as an “option” in the “Add Option” area. The code descriptions are fairly lengthy, so we chose to only have the code’s number (1) display for the signer. We did this by only inputting the code’s number (1) in the “Display text” field. What you type into the “Display text” field is what the signer will see. We input the code’s number (1) and description (An organization exempt from tax under section 501(a)…) in the “Value to save field.” What you type into the “Value to save” field is what you will see when the form is returned.

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: editing the dropdown jotblock

 

 

SSN/EIN

You can also choose between using a “Dropdown” or “Text” eSignature jotblock for each digit of the SSN/EIN line.

AssureSign eSignature Tip: Toggle required switch off for optional lines on a w9 form

 

If choosing to use the “Dropdown” eSignature jotblock for the SSN and EIN digits, add the numbers “1-9” as “Options” (following the same abovementioned process for Line 4)” Then, use the “Copy Jotblock” feature (#3 pictured below) to duplicate a jotblock for each of the remaining digits. You’ll want to toggle the “Required” switch OFF since a signer can input either their SSN OR EIN.

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: diagram of the jotblock

 

 

Line 3

When selecting from multiple options displayed on a form—like Line 3 on a W9 form—our Multiple Choice” eSignature jotblock is quite handy. 

Simply add all potential choices on Line 3 as “Options” into a single “Multiple Choice” eSignature jotblock.

Here’s a guide to format the “Multiple Choice” jotblock (pictured below):

  1. Leave the “Required” toggled on.

  2. Input appropriate instructions for the signer.

  3. Name the jotblock “Line 3.”

  4. Toggle the “Allow signer to select multiple values” off (the form asks the signer to only select one).

  5. Add the first tax classification listed on the form as an “option” in the “edit option” area.

To do this, type “Individual/sole proprietor or single-member LLC” in the “Display text” field (which is automatically mirrored in the “Value to save” field for multiple choice jotblocks). Because the W9 form already has the text printed on it, you won’t need the text to display again. So, under the “Display As” field select “Checkmark Box.” This way, only a checkbox will appear on the form, which you can later drag and drop over the existing checkbox. 

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: editing the multiple choice jotblock

 

Repeat this process for the six remaining tax classification options. 

AssureSign eSignature Tip: Don't allow signer to choose multiple options

 

Once you’ve finished adding all seven classifications as options, click “Save Jotblock.” You’ll now see all the checkboxes appear in a row on the form… you can drag them to their respective spots on the form.

If a signer selects “Limited liability company” on line 3, (s)he is prompted to select one of three tax classifications listed to the right. Create a “Text” or “Dropdown” jotblock and drag it to the designated space. If using the “Dropdown” jotblock, you’ll want to add “C” “S” and “P” as options (following the same abovementioned process for Line 4).

 

 

How to fill out a W9 with AssureSign eSignature: Drag and Drop Multiple Choice Jotblock Options

 

Signature and Date

You could likely take the reins from here, you eSign guru! But just in case…

Finish the document by adding a “Signature” jotblock next to the “Signature of U.S. person” person field and a “Date” jotblock next to the “Date” field.

 

How to fill out a W9 with AssureSign eSignature: Add eSIgnature and Date Jotblocks

 

When you’re all finished, click the “Save and Close” button on the bottom right corner of the screen.

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Save and Close

 

Send the W9

Congratulations! You’re all finished setting up the W9 template. Now, you can easily use this template to send a W9 form to as many employees as you like!

Anytime you’re ready to send a W9 form to an employee, simply click on your W9 template (under the “TEMPLATES” tab in Simple Setup) and select “Use This Template” 

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Using the W9 template to send the form to an individual employee

 

After filling in the employee’s full name and email address, the template will be queued into an envelope for sending (notice you’ve now switched to the “✉ ENVELOPE” tab on the top navigation bar).

When ready to send, click the “Review and Send” button at the top right corner of your screen. You’ll then be prompted to name your envelope–which in this case contains only the W9 form–along with other options, such as the date your documents are set to expire and attaching optional addendums you’d like your signer to receive along with his or her documents. 

 

Creating and Filling out a W9 form electronically with AssureSign: Review and Send the W9 form in an envelope

After clicking “Send,” the W9 form is on its way to your employee!

Now, see? Was that so bad!?…

formatting forms with AssureSign eSignature platform isn't bad at all.

 

 

Want to start sending W9 forms and other on-boarding paperwork electronically? Download  your “Getting Started with eSignature” eBook to learn how eSign can digitally transform these and other manual processes!

 

Electronic signatures have been legal in the United States for nearly 20 years…

In fact, the turn of the millennium, or sometime close to it, marks the start of many countries legally accepting some type of virtual signature.

In its infancy, eSignatures were considered a business luxury. However, in 2018, electronic signatures are widely recognized as an essential driver of today’s modern marketplace. Not only do electronic signatures add convenience and enhanced security to B2B and B2C transactions, it dramatically reduces cost.

Captorra, the legal industry’s leading case and client intake software solution, reduced cost by over 90 percent after adopting electronic signatures (electronic signature for text message to be specific).

Other enterprises, like United BioSource Corporation (UBC) who can now offer critical medical care to patients in hours instead of days, rely on the timing advantages of the eSign.

Despite its crucial impact on today’s enterprises, many are still unfamiliar with what electronic signature is, how it accelerates and secures modern transactions, and its overall impact on go-to-market strategies in a digital era.

But even more importantly, many are still unaware of the differences between electronic signatures and their virtual counterpart, digital signatures. But before we dive into the difference between digital signature and electronic signature, let’s start from the top… “What is electronic signature?”

 

Electronic Signature Defined

In the United States, electronic signature enjoys a rather inclusive definition:

“an electronic sound, symbol or process that is attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

Now you may be wondering…

“can it truly  be ANY sound, symbol, or process!?”

or perhaps you’re questioning what a “sound, symbol, or process” entails exactly…

Put simply, AssureSign utilizes a string of virtual “fingerprints,” such as hash markers and IP identifiers, to verify a signer’s identity and “intent” to sign a document. These fingerprints are digitally tied to the signing process and associated documents.

So, when a document is signed electronically, it is considered 100% legally binding… whether it’s with a recorded verbal acknowledgement, a keystroke, the swipe of a stylus, or even a selected checkbox.

Electronic signatures are easily implemented into existing processes and eliminate a lot of legwork on behalf of consumers and businesses. Yet, electronic signatures are not the only type of virtual signature available to consumers…

 

 

Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature

The difference between digital signature and electronic signature is largely found in the method of identifying businesses and signers.

Digital signatures embed what’s called “Personal Key Infrastructure” (PKI) into the signing process as a way to identify both the party requesting a signature and the party providing one.

In short, PKI generates two keys, one public and one private, to uniquely identify a signer. However, both you and your signer must have a registered digital certificate from an issuing certificate authority to link the signer and their signature.

Here’s an example of how the process would work…

Obamaha, Inc. needs Beth to sign a contract renewal. During the process, Beth signs the contract using her private key, which is then encrypted. Beth also provides Obamaha, Inc. with her public key. If the public key provided cannot decrypt Beth’s signature, it’s invalid.

In this case, Beth’s digital certificate (her public and private keys) identify her much like a driver’s license or passport would.

This process of identifying signers and originators is the primary difference between electronic signature and digital signature.

While both electronic signature and digital signature are equally capable of identifying a signer and capturing legal signatures… many consumers do not have a digital certificate, meaning they’re unable to provide digital signatures.

 

Why Electronic Signature (vs Digital Signature)?

Because both electronic and digital signatures are equally secure and legal forms of signatures—thanks to the UETA and ESIGN acts—many businesses opt for the convenience and versatility of eSignature

With eSignature, businesses can:

 

  1. Verify the identity of their signers

  2. Associate the necessary identifiers with the signing process

  3. Safely capture a legal and binding signature

  4. Easily retain and store completed documents

 

…all without the hassle and cost of digital certificates! 

When considering electronic signature vs digital signature, businesses know that vendors like AssureSign utilize a robust cybersecurity framework to verify, capture and safeguard sensitive data.

 

Rest ASSUREd… AssureSign Keeps your Documents Safe

electronic signature security: AssureSign's eSignature security relay race whitepaperFrom SMBs to large enterprises like Tropical Smoothie, Vonage and AAA, businesses across the globe trust AssureSign to provide a higher standard of signature flexibility, versatility and security.

AssureSign’s double-layered security infrastructure keeps your data and your customers’ data safeguarded and confidential at all times. With a 256-bit encryption standard, data remains encrypted both at rest and in motion, leaving no security vulnerabilities throughout the entire transaction.

What’s more, every envelope containing one or more documents is assigned a digital audit trail, which is accessible to AssureSign users at any time. These audit trails compile unique identifying information, such as:

  • IP Addresses

  • OS and Browser Information

  • Geo Coordinates

  • Time & Date Stamps

 

These identifiers validate your signer’s identity and prevent the documents from being altered or tampered with, allowing them to hold up in a court of law.

When businesses recognize the difference between digital signature and electronic signature rests solely on time, convenience and cost, the plight on adopting digital signature vs electronic signature all but disappears.

 

Learn more about the benefits of adopting electronic signatures by downloading your free copy of the “Getting Started with eSignature” eBook

 

AssureSign: Getting Started with eSignature

If you’ve seen the news lately you already know we’re in a time where digital security and adhering to federal and industrial regulation is paramount to operating a legal and efficient business.

Actually… in the era of GDPR, Europe’s recent intercontinental data security regulation, it’s paramount to operating a business… period.

But the international shift towards heightened cybersecurity didn’t spur up on its own… or overnight for that matter. The dramatic hike of cybersecurity woes dating back to the 2016 presidential election and beyond have implored many to re-think how vehemently we safeguard consumer data. 

In fact, you may recall cybersecurity charging its way onto to the public stage some four or five years ago. After a slew of large-profile breaches affecting mega-retailers like Target and Amazon led to the compromising of millions of consumers personal information (PII), the market (and the world) started to pay attention.

Fast-forward to current day. There’s so much talk of regulation, compliance, standards, and legal hurdles… it can leave you wondering how to approach a new digital process… much less, one that meets the specific security needs of your industry.

When looking for a digital vendor, we know security and compliance are among the top priorities for decision-makers. That’s why we’ve put all our electronic signature security and compliance information in one convenient spot! The newly launched AssureSign Trust Center has all the electronic signature security and compliance information you’ll need to confirm our alignment with your industry’s standards and feel confident with your eSignature endeavor.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in AssureSign’s Trust Center

 

Electronic Signature Security & Compliance: 3 Things to Look for in the AssureSign Trust Center…

The hyper-focus on cybersecurity may be new to many, but not to us at AssureSign.

Established in 2000, AssureSign leads with tenure among competitors like DocuSign or HelloSign, and we take our responsibility as leaders seriously…

Which is why safeguarding your data and your customers’ data has always been at the forefront of our business model… and we have the track-record to prove it!

Our comprehensive security model requires our consistent analysis of ever-evolving

  • laws,
  • industry-specific regulations,
  • privacy requirements,
  • best practices, and
  • threats. 

Through our multi-faceted security model, AssureSign is aligned with the industry’s most rigorous cloud security certifications, legal and regulatory compliance qualifications, and industry-specific standards.

1. Cloud and Data Security

We know many of our customers are either completely cloud-based or are working towards it. As SaaS/cloud security continues to improve its unsurpassed security, efficiency and affordability, it made sense for us to migrate, too. In 2016, AssureSign became a 100% Azure based SaaS vendor, affording our customers with a higher standard of solution flexibility, versatility, and signature security.

Because we’re based in Microsoft’s Azure network, your data is constantly  safeguarded by a robust and double-layered security network! In addition to innate security features present in Azure, AssureSign employs 256-bit data encryption both at rest and in motion, guaranteeing the safe and confidential transfer of your transaction’s data. Our firewall-protected data centers are geo-dispersed throughout the U.S. and Canada and are constantly monitored by our team of security experts.

In addition to leading cloud security measures, AssureSign offers security flexibility with our on-premises offering, the industry’s only on-prem eSignature deployment. You can choose to deploy AssureSign on-prem with its full electronic signature security offering (including our key management service (KMS), or you can choose a simplified installation and install your preferred security architecture.

Our dedication to your security has equipped us with the industry’s most trusted and rigorous security certifications:

 

AssureSign Trust Center: Compliance and Electronic Security Compliance

 

Learn more about cloud and data security in the AssureSign Trust Center.

2. Industry Regulation & Standards

AssureSign uses a variety of practices to safeguard and control your data, including

  • security training and testing,
  • penetration testing,
  • vulnerability scanning,
  • security-guided quality control,
  • continuous system monitoring,
  • internal controls, and more.

But, when it comes to legal and regulatory compliance, the handling of data isn’t always one-size-fits-all…

If you’re in healthcare, for example, you’ll likely want to know how AssureSign works within the scope of HIPPA to pragmatically keep patient information confidential. Or, perhaps you’re working in education and need an eSign vendor compliant with FERPA…

We’ve designed AssureSign’s eSignature solution with the necessary security parameters that meet or exceed industry standards and regulations, guaranteeing 100% regulatory compliance. Further, maintaining and demonstrating your   compliance with industry regulation and standards is simple with AssureSign’s audit trail reports. 

 

 

Learn more about how AssureSign meets or exceeds your industry’s regulatory standards in the AssureSign Trust Center.

3. National and International Legal Compliance

You may know that AssureSign is compliant with UETA and ESIGN, the two pieces of legislation that govern the use of eSignatures here in the states. But our legal compliance doesn’t stop at U.S. borders. Our eSign solution is compliant with many of the international laws governing the use of eSignatures… so you can take AssureSign with you no matter where you do business!

Here’s some of the legislation AssureSign is compliant with:

 Learn more about the legal parameters of eSignature here. For more information on AssureSign’s legal compliance, view our privacy policy or visit the AssureSign Trust Center

 

Visit our new Trust Center or download AssureSign’s eSignature Security Relay Race whitepaper to learn more about our enhanced security network

Just over one year ago, we announced a worthy milestone in our partnership with Microsoft…

When we revealed achieving Microsoft Silver Partner status, we attributed much of that success to our commitment to excellence while serving the MS community… not only because of our own pride for the AssureSign brand or thirst for innovation, but ultimately because it’s what our customers deserve.

Today, AssureSign is very excited to announce another important milestone with our favorite technology giant…

AssureSign is now a Microsoft Gold Partner!

Which means what exactly?…

 

What Gold Status Means for Us

what being a Microsoft Gold Partner means for AssureSign

Microsoft recognizes AssureSign to have met the highest standards of its Partner Network and our commitment to evolving Microsoft technologies for the interest of our customers and electronic signature solutions.

Achieving this apex of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), independent solution vendors (that’s us) must meet a host of rigorous competencies, including:

  • Distinguished solutions and integrations that operate on a technological foundation capable of impressively accelerating sales, deployments, and app development.

  • Bringing the highest level of competency, expertise, and market-value among the Partner Network (less than 5% of Microsoft’s Partner Network have achieved Gold status).

  • Extensive confirmation of our solution’s caliber and ability from several existing customers and AssureSign partners.

  • Employing multiple Microsoft-certified technology experts who have passed a competency exam to satisfaction—signaling their proficiency with Microsoft technologies.

In short, companies like AssureSign who’ve achieved Microsoft Gold Partner status are widely recognized to have employees with exceptional skill and expertise and a robust solution capable of meeting the extensive needs of their consumers’ go-to-market strategy.

 

What Gold Status Means for You

Speaking of consumers… it’s both our  consumers (that’s you) and your  customers who truly  benefit from doing business with Gold Partners…

Why?

What Being Gold Means for you as an AssureSign Customer: Microsoft Gold PartnerNot only does achieving Gold status highlight a company’s commitment to developing innovation in lockstep with Microsoft’s advancements, it also signals the solution’s ability to meet the evolving needs of today’s market. In fact, meeting the needs and interests of our market is a common theme among the competencies associated with obtaining MSFT Gold status.

Achieving Gold status means AssureSign has access to the TOP technology support tier along with advance access to Microsoft’s emerging proprietary technology. With this, we can deliver a Microsoft Dynamics 365 eSignature integration that leverages the latest in Microsoft innovation and best-in-class client service.

As a certified Gold Microsoft Partner, AssureSign can offer our partners and customers an enterprise-grade eSignature product most capable of integrating with other MSFT based solutions… making the selection of an electronic signature vendor that much easier…

 

“I’m thrilled to work for a company that can proudly identify as a Microsoft Gold Partner! It’s the hallmark of an enterprise’s sincerest devotion to their customers and the innovation that makes them successful. I’ve never been more confident in guaranteeing our capacity to meet the needs of prospective Microsoft partners and clients!”

Michelle Cloninger, Director of Growth and Strategic Partnerships

 

 

Interest in learning more about how AssureSign brings the most capable out-of-the-box electronic signature integration to Dynamics 365? Discover why AssureSign is the premiere add-on integration for Microsoft Dynamics

 

Whether it’s our listing in AppSource or our ever-evolving strategic partnership, AssureSign is invested in building THE optimal eSignature product for Microsoft partners and CRM users.

Thus far, 2018 proves to be another prosperous year for growing our footprint among Microsoft communities. We’re proud of accomplishments such as

  1. being named a finalist by the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) for 2018’s “Partner of the Year,” and

  2. attaining Microsoft Gold Partner status.

Accomplishments like these wouldn’t be possible without creating mutually beneficial successes with Microsoft influencers like Dynamic Communities.

Who is Dynamic Communities❔

 

Dynamic Communities Logo

 

Dynamic Communities provides maximized software solution performance by cultivating collaboration, networking and idea exchange between users of similar Microsoft Dynamics platforms. Creating learning opportunities for well known names like HP and Ford Motor Company, Dynamic Communities is one of the largest Microsoft Partner affiliations with a member base of 160,000+ and growing.

 

Outdated Processes = Poor Customer Experience ❌

Prior to 2014, DC secured event sponsor and completed event-based paperwork with its local chapters spanning 50+ countries using the outdated “send, print, sign, scan and return” method. The process wasn’t only slow, it provided a poor experience for partners, sponsors and members.

As they continued to grow, Dynamic Communities knew they needed to streamline this process with a digital transaction management solution capable of meeting their needs.

 

eSignature Ushers in Simplicity 🖋

As Microsoft savants, Dynamic Communities searched for an electronic signature solution provider that’s mastered the nuances of Microsoft technology and API. Further, an eSignature solution capable of seamlessly integrating with their document automation tool was a non-negotiable.

AssureSign not only met these needs, but also significantly diminished the amount of time taken to secure sponsors, space, and other details for national and local chapter events.

 

“We’re able to secure sponsorships and purchases in a matter of hours instead of weeks. It dramatically improved [our] relationship [with] sponsors and purchasers.”

-Ashley Steiner, CRM Administrator, Dynamic Communities

 

Read the full Success Story to discover how Dynamic Communities secured more revenue in half the time with AssureSign.

 

 

It’s 2018 and the digital tide is higher than ever.

And with an innovation undertow more forceful than ever before, swimming against the current of progress will inevitably get you pulled under… Digital transformation is, put simply, the only way to stay afloat in today’s digitized marketplace. 

The good news? AssureSign’s one of the best lifeguards in the business… and enterprises like AAA and FireHouse Subs have found our digital transaction management—electronic signature—to be one heck of a life raft.

Yet, with a growing number of companies—ranging from large corporations to SMBs—using eSignature to digitize current processes and accelerate workflows, many wonder about the legality of using electronic signature (or digital signature) around the world…

 

 

“Electronic signatures and their legality will often come up when I speak with prospects. Fortunately, I can assure them that using AssureSign enables them to send and receive documents for signature with nearly anyone in the world, both conveniently and legally.”

-Anna McDonald, Sales Manager at AssureSign

 

The international coast guard may not be the experts on electronic signature law, so we’ve taken our eSign raft around to the world’s largest economies to define how eSignature can be used in the countries and jurisdictions where you do business.

 

Key Terms: eSignatures and Laws

Before we dive in, here are some key terms you’ll need to know or can reference back to.

It’s important to note that “virtual signatures,” is terminology purposed with grouping the different types of signatures rendered via a computerized program, software or device.

Types of virtual signatures:

  • Electronic Signatures: First, let’s answer the obvious… “What is electronic signature?” Most commonly, electronic signatures refer to a “sound, symbol or process” logically associated with (1) a document or set of documents and (2) a party’s consent or agreement to the document’s content. An electronic signature can range from capturing a traditional longhand signature on a digital device to an “I accept” or “complete checkout” button.

  • Digital Signatures (also referred to as qualified, certified, or advanced signatures): Digital signatures differ from their “electronic” counterparts in that they require all signing parties to obtain and use a valid digital certificate. A digital certificate (1) utilizes public key infrastructure; (2) unambiguously identifies its owner; and (3) can only be obtained from a certificate authority (CA).

 

Types of virtual signature laws:

  • Permissive/Minimalist: Jurisdictions like the U.S. and Canada observe “permissive” or “minimalist” electronic signature law. This means all types of virtual signatures (electronic, digital, etc.) are legal, enforceable, and are considered equal.

 

  • Tiered: In jurisdictions with “tiered” regulation—like the European Union (EU)—all virtual signatures are considered legal (unless stated otherwise). However, the law grants greater evidentiary weight to a digital signature (a.k.a. qualified, certified, or advanced) than it does an electronic signature. Businesses are free to use the type of signature they prefer, but digital signatures are likely more ideal for highly sensitive documents. The level of difference between the two types of signatures is highly dependent on the jurisdiction. Further, many jurisdictions with a tiered infrastructure subscribe to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law, which provides recommendations on the regulation and use of virtual signatures.

 

  • Prescriptive: Jurisdictions with “prescriptive” regulations have unique law that govern the use of virtual signatures. Many times, language regarding basic electronic signatures is either absent from the law entirely or explicitly denied legal standing within the jurisdiction. Additionally, these countries may regulate which signature vendors or certificate authorities may be chosen if the signature is to be considered legal.

 

 

 

 

Where Can I Digitize The Dotted Line?

So, where will eSignature take you? Here’s what we know about the world’s 30 largest economies:

Permissive/Minimalist Electronic Signature Laws

 

Australia (Electronic Transactions Act of 1999)

Australia’s Electronic Transactions Act is similar to the U.S. UETA (1999) and ESIGN Act (2000). It recognizes any virtual signature as legal and enforceable when a signature is required. Electronic signatures and digital signatures are synonymous in terms of their legality. Australia does not permit virtual signatures for documents related to migration or citizenship. Some regions do not allow virtual signatures for power of attorney (POA), will documents, and some real estate transactions.

 

Canada (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c5)

Canada, like Australia and the U.S., allow for both electronic signatures and digital signatures to fulfil a signature requirement. As long as both signing parties consent to conduct business electronically, virtual signatures are considered valid unless a party can prove otherwise. Some minor nuances exist in the electronic signature law among the provinces. Canada does not permit virtual signatures for some real estate agreements, wills, estate agreements, POAs.

 

New Zealand (Electronic Transactions Act)

All parties may freely agree to conduct business electronically. While all virtual signatures are considered equal, all signing parties must agree on the type that will used. New Zealand does not explicitly prohibit virtual signatures for any type of transaction, though real estate, wills, and other sensitive agreements have additional requirements.

 

 

Thailand (Electronic Transactions Act B.E. 2544 (2001) (ETA))

In Thailand, a virtual signature is referred to as a “data message,” which is held as equally valid to that of a hand-written signature. All “data messages” are presumed to be valid unless proven otherwise. Thailand does not explicitly prohibit any documents from being signed via an electronic or digital signature.

 

 

 

United States (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act of 2000) (Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) of 1999)

Thanks to the UETA and ESIGN Act, electronic signatures and digital signatures are considered equal, valid, and 100% legal in the eyes of the reigning electronic signature law. All parties must consent to conducting business electronically. The U.S. does not permit virtual signatures for real estate transfers, wills, and some legally required notices to consumers.

 

 

Tiered Electronic Signature Laws

 

Argentina (Digital Signature Law 25, 506)

Argentina law subscribes to the tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures we described above. Additionally, the laws pertinent to virtual signatures in Argentina are parallel to UNCITRAL model law. Under Argentina’s tiered infrastructure, electronic signatures are considered legal and enforceable, but digital signatures (a.k.a. qualified, certified, or advanced signatures) are considered to have greater evidentiary weight. Civil Code, Section 1197 binds all parties to an agreement after they consent to conducting business electronically. Argentina does not permit virtual signatures for documents regarding death, family law, or “other highly personal matters.”

 

Bermuda (Electronic Transactions Act of 1999)

Bermuda law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Electronic signatures are automatically considered valid unless proof to the contrary is presented. Bermuda does not permit virtual signatures for some real estate agreements and wills.

 

 

 

Chile (Law 19.799) (Decree 181)

Chile law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Electronic signatures are automatically considered valid unless proof to the contrary is presented. Chile does not permit virtual signatures for matters related to family law or for acts and contracts where the law requires attendance of one or more of the parties.

 

 

China (Electronic Signature Law of the People’s Republic of China)

Regulations pertinent to electronic signature law in China model a combination of EU’s directive, UNCITRAL model law, and the United Nations Convention on Electronic Communications in International Contracts.  Law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signature, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. While electronic signatures are presumed valid unless proven otherwise, some judges have hesitated to honor their validity as the law demands. For this reason, it may be advisable to obtain longhand signatures for extremely sensitive documents. China does not permit virtual signatures for documents related to personal relationships (marriage, adoption, inheritance, etc.), some real estate agreements, or documents related to the suspension of public utilities

 

Colombia (Law 527 of 1999) (Law 962 of 2005-Electronic Invoice) (Law 964 of 2005- Electronic Securities) (Law 1150 of 2007- Public Procurement)

Columbia’s laws regarding virtual signatures are not clear cut. While technically a tiered model, court rulings have been somewhat ambiguous on defining the difference between electronic and digital signatures. Nevertheless, while a distinction between the two is not explicit, a Columbian Supreme Court decision on December 16, 2010 removed any doubt of electronic or digital signatures being recognized as valid, enforceable and legal signatures. Columbia does not permit virtual signatures for conveyance of real estate rights, aircraft, ships, corporations, or other business associations; bylaws; mortgage agreements; unlimited agency agreements; or incorporation of branches.

 

European Union (EU Member States) (Electronic Identification and Authentication Services Regulation (eIDAS))

The EU is very much a tiered jurisdiction. In fact, many of the modern tiered infrastructures model their regulation after that of their electronic signature law, eIDAS. The defining difference between the EU and other tiered jurisdictions is the existence of three definitive types of virtual signatures:

  • Simple Electronic Signature (a.k.a. basic electronic signature or electronic signature): Data in electronic form (signatures) which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data (documents, agreements, etc.) and which serve as a method of authentication. Must signal the signer’s intent to sign, be initiated by the signer, and appropriately associated with the document being signed
  • Advanced Electronic Signature: Must meet the requirements of the Simple Electronic Signature in addition to being: (i) uniquely linked to the signer; (ii) capable of identifying a signer; (iii) created using eSignature creation data that the signer can, with a high level of confidence, use under his/her self control; and (iiii) enabled with detecting alterations to a document(s) after its completion.
  • Qualified Electronic Signature: Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) are parallel to digital signatures. However, the qualified digital certificate must be issued by a vendor (certificate authority) that meets the requirements of the eIDAS and that is accredited and supervised by designated authorities in the EU.

In the EU, all three types of virtual signature are considered legal and enforceable, although certain types of sensitive documents may require an advanced or qualified signature. Parties are free to choose the type of signature appropriate for the mode and sensitive nature of their business.

 

Hong Kong (Electronic Transactions Ordinance)

Hong Kong law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures, and parallels UNCITRAL model law. In Hong Kong, all parties must consent to conducting business electronically. However, consent does not necessarily need to be explicit and may be inferred by a party’s action of electronically or digitally signing a document(s). Hong Kong does not permit virtual signatures for POAs, wills, government leases, or some real estate transactions.

 

India (The Information Technology Act of 2000 / 2006 amendment / 2008 amendment)

India law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Consent to conducting business electronically is not necessarily required, but is recommended. Additional technical and legal requirements exist when using digital signatures. India does not permit virtual signatures for POAs, wills, or real estate transactions. Further, some transactions require completion on officially stamped paper.

 

Japan (Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services)

Japan law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. eSignatures are legal and enforceable in Japan; however, the use of “red seal stamps” are commonly used alongside signatures. It’s advised to refrain from using virtual signatures with documents related to real property transfers and wills.

 

Malaysia (Digital Signature Act 1997) (Electronic Commerce Act 2006)

Malaysia law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures, and parallels UNCITRAL model law. While a court may request supporting evidence for electronic signatures falling below the standards of a “Qualified Electronic Signature” as defined in UNCITRAL, all virtual signatures are deemed permissible and legally binding in a court of law. Malaysia does not permit virtual signatures for the creation of wills, trusts, negotiable instruments, and other sensitive documents. 

 

Mexico (Code of Commerce, Federal Civil Code, Federal Civil Code, Federal Code on Civil Procedures, and other laws contain amendments and provisions governing the use of virtual signatures)

Mexico law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Mexico does not prohibit virtual signatures for any type of document, but may require certification of official documents and tax related documents to be completed with a digital signature.

 

 

Norway (Electronic Signatures Act of 2001)

Norway law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Norway does not permit virtual signatures for debt certificates, per-marital agreements, or other select transactions.

 

 

 

Republic of Korea (Digital Signature Act)

The Republic of Korea subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. All parties must consent to conducting business electronically. Further, if the consent, signer’s identity, or originality of the documents are questioned, then the validity of the signature must be determined by interpreting the party’s intent to sign in correlation with the context of the document(s). The Republic of Korea does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of document from being completed with virtual signatures.

 

Singapore (Electronic Transactions Act of 2010)

Singapore subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. Per Singapore law, the type of virtual signature used must either be “(1) as reliable as appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic record was generated or communicated, or (2) proven in fact to have identified the signatory and to indicate signatory’s intention with respect to the information by itself or together with further evidence. Singapore does not permit virtual signatures for wills, negotiable instruments, POAs, or some real estate transactions.

 

South Africa (Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002, Act No. 25)

South Africa subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures. All parties must consent to doing business electronically, but do not necessarily need to consent on the type of virtual signature used. No matter the type of virtual signature used, it must (1) identify the party and indicate their intent/approval and (2) be reliable and appropriate for the context and content of the document(s). South Africa does not permit virtual signatures for the execution, retention and presentation of wills; long-term leases; transfers of property; or bills of exchange.

 

Switzerland (Federal Law on Electronic Signatures)

Switzerland law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures, and parallels UNCITRAL model law. Switzerland does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of document from being completed with virtual signatures, but caution should be exercised for documents related to real estate, forms requiring notary, wills, trusts, and other sensitive documents.

 

 

Taiwan (Electronic Signatures Act 2001-11-14)

Taiwan law subscribes to a tiered method of legalizing virtual signatures, permitting both electronic and digital signatures, and parallels UNCITRAL model law. Expressed consent is of particular importance in Taiwan. While Taiwan has not excluded any type of document from its laws governing virtual signatures, many government agencies have announced they will not accept documents that are electronically or digitally signed.

 

 

The United Kingdom (U.K.) (The Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulation 2016 (2016 No. 696)) (Electronic Communications Act of 2000, Section 7)

While now separate from the EU, the U.K. has enacted electronic signature law nearly identical to eIDAS through its Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulation (2016 No. 696) and Section 7 of its Electronic Communications Act (2000).

 

 

Prescriptive Electronic Signature Laws

 

Brazil (Provisional Measure 2200-2)

Brazil follows the UNCITRAL model law, but only legally recognizes virtual signatures that utilize the Brazilian PKI. So long as the Brazilian PKI is used, all virtual signatures are considered legal and enforceable. Brazil does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of documents from being completed with a virtual signature.

 

 

 

Indonesia (Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 11 of 2008 Concerning Electronic Information and Transactions)

Indonesia law only recognizes digital signatures using a digital certificate provider that’s registered with the country’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Further, the digital signature vendor must have all its data centers and disaster recovery centers located within Indonesia’s borders. Indonesia does not permit virtual signatures for notarial deeds, letters of court summons, or bond certificates.

 

Israel (Electronic Signature Law 5761-2001)

Israel law will only legally recognize a “certified signature” (digital signature). Israel follows a similar model to the EU apart from recognizing basic electronic signatures on documents which require a signature. Israel does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of documents from being completed with a digital signature.

 

 

 

 

Peru (Digital Certificates and Signatures Law, Law No. 27269)

Peru only legally recognizes digital signatures issued with a digital certificate and vendor that meets the law’s specified minimum requirements. While Peru issues approved certification providers, it will legally recognize those outside its jurisdiction so long as it meets the same standards. Peru does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of documents from being completed with a digital signature.

 

 

Russian Federation (Federal Law No. 63-FZ “On Demand Signature (July 1, 2011) (Federal Law No. 149-FZ “On Information, Information Technology and Protection of Information” (July 27, 2006)) (Part Four of Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Art. 160))

In Russia, all parties must consent to doing business electronically. Only digital signatures are recognized as legal and valid. Under Russian law, a digital certificate and signature vendor must  be certified by the Russian government (despite courts often upholding basic electronic signatures as enforceable). Russia does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of documents from being completed with a digital signature.

 

Turkey (Electronic Signature Law (No. 5070))

Turkey mirrors the UNCITRAL Model law. Basic electronic signatures are not addressed by Turkey law. Digital signatures are recognized as legal and valid so long as the digital certificate is issued by a qualified services provider. Should a party challenge the validity of a digital signature, that party is burdened with proving it is invalid or forged. Turkey does not explicitly prohibit any specific type of documents from being completed with a digital signature.

 

 

Don’t see the country you do business in? Contact us today to discover the laws and practices of eSignature in your country of interest.

 

 

This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for freshness and relevancy.