Alberta allows auto insurers to issue 'pink cards' in digital form

Alberta is following the lead of two other Canadian provinces and allowing auto insurers to provide proof of insurance that drivers can carry on their smartphones. 

Alberta Superintendent of Insurance Darren Hedley issued a bulletin Monday approving the electronic version of what's commonly called the pink card or Financial Responsibility Card.

Alberta joins Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in allowing the cards, which are optional. Drivers can stick with the paper version if they choose. 

Celyeste Power, vice-president for the Western region of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told a news conference in Edmonton that people can bank, save their boarding passes, and summon an Uber driver through their phones. 

"Every other industry I do business with let's me interact with it the way that I choose," she said. 

"Insurers have been hampered by regulations for years, and to many, we look like we're stuck in the '80s." 

The policy change was heralded as an example of the United Conservative government's drive to reduce "red tape" —regulations deemed to hamper the ability for companies to do business in an efficient manner. 

Grant Hunter, Alberta's associate minister of red tape reduction, said the pink card change is an example of what he's trying to do. 

"It modernizes what is going on in our province," he said. "And gets us up to speed with what other provinces and other states are doing. So this is absolutely red tape reduction." 

Officials couldn't provide a figure when asked how much money digital pink cards would save consumers. 

Digital pink cards can be offered by insurers starting Monday, but their availability depends on the company.