For the first time in U.S. legal history, a notarization has taken place online. A signer located in Los Angeles personally appeared before a notary located in Richmond, Virginia, using audio-video conference technology under the authority of a Virginia law that recently went into effect.
Notaries in Virginia can now perform online notarizations for any signer in any state, anytime. The signer, a practicing attorney in California, executed a durable Power of Attorney. The notary and signer met in a live, two-way audio-video conference and digitally signed and notarized the Power of Attorney pursuant to Virginia law.
The document was rendered tamper evident and an automated electronic journal record was created that includes a digital recording of the signer and notary performing the transaction. The digitally notarized PDF document has the same legal effect as a pen-and-ink paper document, and the notary’s electronic journal data virtually eliminates the possibility of identity theft because it includes an image of the signer.
This new online notary process also allows the notary to identify signers online using knowledge-based authentication, rather than unreliable and easily forged documents like driver’s licenses. Identification of the signer by a trusted third party removes the pressure and liability the notary faces in the paper world where notaries must rely on documents that can be easily faked. Because the notary’s journal includes a digital recording of the transaction, including an image of the signer, fraud will be significantly reduced over the current traditional process.
So… why can’t (won’t) insurance companies accept electronic signatures?