Some major processes still occur by hand these days, including the paperwork that's involved with changing the title of a totaled vehicle in New Jersey and eventually getting insurance money in the hands of the person who needs a new car.

A proposed law advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday would require the Motor Vehicle Commission to establish a system that shifts the salvage-title process from paper to all-electronic. More than a dozen states have already made the move.

"This is just a matter of modernizing and streamlining some of the processes associated when someone has a total loss on their vehicle," said Assemblyman Roy Freiman, D-Somerset, a primary sponsor of the measure. "The idea is, how do you make it faster, how do you ultimately get the checks in the owners' hands faster, so they can actually go out and look to replace the vehicle that they've lost?"

Under the measure, salvage processors would be allowed to print salvage certificates of title and certificates of ownership at their facilities.

"New Jersey is currently one of the slowest in the country in getting these titles processed," Gary La Spisa, vice president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, said while testifying in favor of the bill.

Policyholders and insurers will benefit from a faster and more efficient system, La Spisa said, with the combination of this bill and another sponsored by Freiman that prohibits the MVC from requiring power of attorney for certain documents concerning motor vehicle certificates of ownership and salvage certificates of title.

La Spisa said the move would reduce the workload for MVC, which processes 60,000 to 70,000 of these titles every year.

The measure, which is also sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson and Sterley Stanley, unanimously cleared the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on Monday. It's been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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