• Spanish
  • English
Spanish Motor Insurers Bureau
  • Spanish
  • English

In several forums we have talked about the question (or better said our “vision”) of what the format of the “Green Card” support document would be in the future.

As everybody knows, what is colloquially called “Green Card” is (in theory) an International Certification proving the existence of a third party liability insurance coverage. This document is required to travel on certain countries.

Currently this certificate is a green paper document containing a specific content and with standardized measures..

The reflection that we make is the following: should, in the XXI century, a document printed on a green paper, be the valid proof of insurance coverage for a vehicle?

As you can imagine depending on a piece of green paper to prove the validity insurance coverage leads to potential frauds: falsifying and / or manipulating a Green Card is relatively simple. Even from scratch and to create a Green Card “from nothing” is pretty easy to do.

Moreover, apart from the important question of fraud, there are other issues to consider:

The convenience for users (all of us) to not have to rely on a “mountain” of papers in our motorcycle,car, etc., when traveling to those countries.

  1. The cost (time and money) that it presents for the insurance sector/companies to have to print / send / and control the emission of these documents: not only directly but through their agents, brokers, etc.
  2. The work of the police and traffic authorities obtaining proof of the insurance coverage (or not) in a reliable way.

The technological evolution of our society makes for a reduction in the use of paper as a support in all areas of our daily life: relationships with public bodies, purchasing, transport tickets, payment methods, etc.

Taking into consideration all of these factors, what is the vision OFESAUTO has on this issue?

It would be easy to think about current real possibilities nowadays in some occidental countries, such as the use of magnetic cards, chips, encrypted documentation, etc. But we must be realistic and much more in this case because in many of the countries where the “Green Card” document is required for driving, the level of technological development in some insurance markets, customs, police authorities, etc., is not comparable to the level in Western Europe. This is not a criticism, this is a fact.

So setting aside feasible technological solutions in a specific market, we need to think about acceptable solutions for all countries, from Tunisia to Sweden, from Iran to Germany.

A real example we have discussed in various forums that seems very enlightening and comparable is the commercial airline industry.

We have all boarded in a plane in the last few years with our rectangular boarding pass “paper card” which verified our travel ticket for that flight (at the beginning the first boarding passes were printed in color, and then not …)

Then, one step further, boarding passes weren’t in the “paper card” format but they changed to a pdf file received in our inbox, we printed it (“standard” page size) and with that we could board a plane.

Nowadays we don’t even do this: just by downloading on our mobile phone a code, an “image” which appears on the screen and when scanned, it allows us to have direct access to the aircraft (or other means of transportation like trains for instance).

(Obviously we insist: the insurance market should go “step by step” in a coordinated way, avoiding solutions that are practically impossible to implement in certain markets in certain countries)

But let’s go ahead with this idea: maybe somebody of you are thinking: “this is easily solved: a company could send the Green Card in a pdf file format to the policyholders, and each one could print it or not depending on you are traveling to a country where it would be needed or not.”

Well. Does anyone think that everybody will print the document in a specific green paper? The answer is clear: NO

Therefore the company still needs to continue printing and delivering the Green Card document to all of us.

And hence we come back to the mainly remark: should the “green” color be the main indicator of a valid Certificate of Insurance coverage? It does not seem a consistent argument in the XXI century…. The color of the paper should not matter, but what it contains and what it really should demonstrate: if there is a valid insurance coverage or not.

We believe this answer is perfectly valid and understandable in every country.

This is the principle of everything: if we consider that the color is not the main valid indicator to prove the insurance cover in a document, then we can consider that the insurance company does not need to print in green.

And from that point the rest of events would came in a natural way: policyholders could receive the Green Card in pdf format and, yes, they could print it on “normal plain white” paper to use it.

QRGoing further once we have broken the color barrier, regarding the content of what is expressed in the document and without any change or any modification of the current content, it is perfectly possible to include a bi-dimensional code (QR) in the document (a QR code you probably know what it is, they are in magazines, information panels, etc., but if not here it is perfectly explained).

As in the case of boarding passes, this code can connect with the database of the insurance company in question. And voilà, we’ll have the accurate information about the insurance cover or not, and even more vehicle data: make, model, plate number…, etc. (in brief, all we want to associate with the code)

Why a QR code? Because today it is one of the more globally accepted system. Why? Because it doesn’t need a specific scanner to be read: it can be scanned and read by a normal smartphone with camera an internet access.

You will say “okay but not everyone in all countries of the Green Card system has a smartphone with internet access”

And we answer:not yet, but they will”

In short, what this paper proposes is firstly “open our minds” and think ahead, and secondly to present a real possibility of moving forward step by step:

1) Remove the dependence on color

2) Make it possible to print the document by the insured

3) Inclusion of a two-dimensional code or other mechanism which could prove in a reliable way the existence (or not) of insurance cover in a company in any country)

4) Last phase: to not be necessary to print: just to download the code on a mobile phone/tablet/etc.

From OFESAUTO we will try to help the insurance sector and consumers in this way. Whether we like it or not, the future is just around the corner and we’re obliged to be prepared for it.