Friday, May 27, 2011

Online Insurance Application Constitutes Writing for Purposes of Waiving Insurance Coverage under UETA

Barwick v. Government Employee Insurance Co., Inc., 2011 Ark. 128 (March 31, 2011) [link]

I guest-blogged about this case on Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing Law Blog. We've had very few cases decided under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) over the past ten to twelve years, so it's nice to see the court recognize that UETA applies and get the analysis correct. The court affirmed that, under UETA (which has been adopted in almost every state), a writing cannot be denied effect just because it is in electronic form.

The basic facts are that a woman signed and submitted an online insurance application to GEICO, in which she specifically declined coverage for medical payments. This is permitted under Arkansas insurance law so long as the waiver is "in writing". After an accident, her husband tried to claim benefits under the policy, but also tried to argue that the insurance company should make medical payments because the on-line waiver was not "in writing." The Arkansas Supreme Court applied UETA and shot down the argument. You can read about it in more detail at Eric's blog.

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