One of the most notable features of the pandemic response last year was the ability of many companies to go from 100% office-based work to 100% remote in a few days.
Utilizing existing technologies, rapidly developing solutions and making housing for problems that could not be overcome, companies moved from work environments that had endured for decades to work from home.
However, some seemingly small difficulties remained and caused significant headaches. One that plagued the insurance and risk management sector was the need to document documents, said Rebecca W. Wright, a Cincinnati-based affiliate at Rathbone Group LLC, a law firm specializing in insurance research.
"Our customers had introduced travel restrictions," she says. "They worked from home and they were not going to go anywhere on behalf of the company, so that meant they could not drive to the local bank to get things listed."
Even when the courts reopened, subrogation agreements could not be agreed without the documents being notarized, Wright said.
To try to solve the problem, she looked at some existing online services but found them expensive, with some charging $ 25 per signature and lining up to do low-volume work, such as individuals getting a mortgage. “It was not what my customers needed. They needed to be able to do things a lot and they needed to be able to do things regularly.
To solve the problem, Wright was first certified as an online notary and then found an online platform – DocVerify Inc., designed for remote signing – and used it to develop Rathbone's e-notary service, which is the winner of a 2021 Business Insurance Innovation Award.
The service can complete up to 30 notaries in one session, and the process is complete in minutes, she said.
The platform provides a secure audiovisual connection through which the client submits his photo and identification and opens two windows – one showing the notary and the other showing the client.
Pre-uploaded documents can then be completed with electronic signatures and an electronic notary stamp.
Rathbone completed 350 notaries in the past year and the system is likely to be used in addition to the pandemic, Wright said.
Many companies move to a full or partial job from home and others prefer the efficiency of the process, she said.