29 Dec 2008

Processor – An Easy-to-Follow Email Trail

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RPost Registered Email Offers Insurance Broker Proof Of Emails Sent & Received

Nothing gets your attention quite like a certified letter. Maybe it’s because you must sign for a certified letter to verify you’ve received it. And that means it contains information important enough to protect.

As an insurance provider, Randy Frankel, who owns Frankel & Associates Insurance Services in Los Angeles, has sent many certified letters to clients and underwriters. But about five years ago, Frankel began wondering if email could work in the same manner. Could he, in essence, send a certified email?

He found his answer: Yes.

For the past five years, Frankel has been sending registered emails using tools from RPost (www.rpost.com) of Los Angeles. The company’s Registered Email provides legal and verifiable evidence of email content and includes the time the email was sent and received. It also legally protects the sender when the delivery, content, or time of an email is disputed.

Layer Of Protection

Many senders think sending an email is similar to sending a letter through the post office. And in the case of chatty emails, they’re pretty much right. But for emails that contain critical information of the type Frankel sends as part of his business, the additional layer of protection that registered email provides is required, he says.

With respect to standard email, the time appearing on the sent or received email doesn’t act as legal proof the email was sent or received, as its text format can be easily altered. Registered Email gives Frankel the proof he needs that the email was sent and received, he says. With RPost, the email is automatically encrypted and cannot be changed by the recipient.

“If I send an email to an insurance company and say please bind coverage on an account, I need to make sure they got my email and are processing it,” Frankel says. “So I was looking for a way to send an email and confirm it got there.”

The RPost service also allows Frankel to follow a registered email’s progress. The service sends him an alert when his email has landed in the recipient’s inbox and again when the recipient opens it. The recipient needs to do nothing. By opening the email, the recipient essentially acknowledges she’s received it, much like signing for a certified letter.

“I sort of compare it to the old way of doing things, but this is high-tech,” Frankel says. “It’s like that email was hand-delivered to a person and he signed for it.”

Frankel now uses the service for all critical communication with his clients and with insurance underwriters. “My main concern, when I want to send a registered email, is when I’m binding coverage, or adding a building to a policy, or endorsing a policy, or changing an address,” he says. “I can now prove I did it, and that’s what I wanted.”

When Frankel binds coverage, he’s verifying with an underwriter the insurance policy has been written, then sending proof of coverage to those he’s insured. “If you want to cover your car, you typically won’t drive it until you see proof of coverage,” Frankel says. “If I send you a registered email proving you have coverage, I know I sent it and you got it.”

Extra Layer Of Protection

Though Frankel carries the professional liability coverage required for insurance providers, he considers RPost an extra layer of legal protection, as the registered email can be legally called upon when insurance coverage is contested.

“It’s a way to prove in court I sent something. For insurance, that’s important,” Frankel says. “If I bind coverage at midnight and a fire happens one minute after midnight, I can prove coverage.”

In fact, Frankel recently called upon the service to demonstrate an important email had been received and opened. He’d sent a registered email to an insurance underwriter requesting a building be added to a pre-existing policy. The RPost service confirmed the underwriter had opened the email.

“But a week later I followed up, asking ‘how come I don’t have a bill for adding the building?’” Frankel says. The recipient had no recollection of the email. “That underwriter was overworked and likely opened it and took a quick look and thought he’d get back to me and he never did,” Frankel says. “But he had opened it. So I forwarded the email that I’d received back from RPost that said he opened it.

“That situation provided a paper trail and there was no loss, thank God, but if there had been I’d have had proof of requesting coverage,” he says.

The application also tracks registered emails sent and received—a boon for Frankel, who receives a list of his sent emails from RPost each month and uses them for cross-reference.

He pays a small fee of about 40 cents each time he sends a registered email, which he compares to the price of a stamp.

Easy Implementation

Implementation was easy, he adds. “They send you an email, you click on a button, and, boom, it’s installed,” he says. “Then you go to Outlook and the RPost button has popped up next to the Send button. From then on, you can send regular email or a registered email.”

The sender can allow the recipient to know the email she’s received is registered. Or, the sender can hide the registered mark.

Of course Frankel still sends regular, nonregistered emails. “If I deem it critical, I press registered email,” he says. “It’s the cost of sending a regular letter through the mail. It’s worth it for me.”