Insurance Commission: LGBTQ members can designate partners as insurance beneficiary

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
LGBT Filipinos still face discrimination despite seemingly high tolerance in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, prompting some lawmakers to file a bill that would penalize discrimination based on a person’s SOGIE, or Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos, File

MANILA, Philippines (Updated, 5:51 p.m.) — Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community may designate their partners as beneficiaries in their insurance plan, the Insurance Commission said.

In a legal opinion issued to the University of the Philippines College of Law, Gender Law and Policy Program, the Commission said: “The [IC] affirms your position that the insured who secures a life insurance policy on his or her own life may designate any individual as beneficiary.”

The opinion was issued to Professor E. (Leo) Battad, program director of the UP College of Law Gender Law and Policy Program.

Battad sought guidelines from the IC on the right of the insured to designate a beneficiary, particularly the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community to designate their domestic partners as beneficiaries of their life insurance.

Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said exceptions contained in Article 2012 in relation to Article 739 of the Civil Code apply.

Article 739. The following donations shall be void:

  • Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of donation;
  • Those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense
  • Those made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office.

In a separate text message to Philstar.com, Funa confirmed that members of the LGBTQ+ community may present the legal opinion “if an insurance agent would have an adverse view.”

Funa also said: “An individual who has secured a life insurance policy on his or her own life may designate any person as beneficiary provided that such designation does not fall under the enumerations provided by Article 739 of the Civil Code, without prejudice to the application of Section 12 of the Amended Insurance Code.”

No legal impediments 

Funa noted that Battad mentioned in his letter that some LGBTQ+ members were refused of designating their domestic partner by insurance company, citing “lack of an ‘insurable interest’ of the domestic partner on the life of the insured.

Funa clarified that insurable interest in life insurance is different from property insurance where the beneficiary must have an insurable interest in the property insured.

“[I]nsofar as life insurance is concerned, it suffices that the person securing the life insurance policy has an insurable interest in the life of being insured,” the Commissioner said.

He noted that the Insurance Code of the Philippines provides that  “every person has an insurable interest in the life and health...of himself, of his spouse and his children.”

Funa pointed out that, in this case, the insured secures a life insurance policy for their life, as such, the beneficiary does not have to have an insurable interest in the life of the insured.

“There is no legal impediment to the designation as beneficiary of the domestic partner of an insured who has secured a life insurance policy on his or her own life,” Funa also said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also said that he agrees with the IC's position. “I see no good reason why partners of the LGBTQIs should be disallowed from being insurance beneficiaries,” he told Philstar.com.

“In any event, prudence in designating insurance beneficiaries is every insured person’s lookout,” Guevarra added.

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