In this June 24, 2017 photo, a rainbow flag is unfurled during the Metro Manila Pride March in Marikina City.
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Insurers to ‘assess’ moves after regulators clear LGBT partners as beneficiaries

Prinz Magtulis (Philstar.com) - March 6, 2020 - 6:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Life insurers are coming up with a position on a legal opinion from regulators that effectively cleared insured individuals on same-sex relationships to enter their partners as beneficiaries on insurance policies.

“Regret that we cannot comment at the moment as we will still convene our Underwriting & Claims Committee to assess our position,” George Mina, general manager of Philippine Life Insurance Association, an industry group.

On Thursday, the Insurance Commission issued legal opinion 2020-02 stating that an insured individual may “designate any person as beneficiary” so long as the person does not fall within prohibitions on donations under Article 739 of the Civil Code, a provision that bars adulterers and people in office from receiving gifts from each other.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community cheered IC’s legal opinion, which came after UP professor E. Leo Battad asked regulators to issue guidelines on the matter.

Even before regulators’ clearance though, Mina said nothing stops insurers from accepting as beneficiary the LGBTQ partner of an insured, and in fact some have already done so. 

Unlike married couples however, naming your same-sex partner as insurance beneficiary can be a tedious task. 

“It depends on the underwriting rules of the companies,” Mina said.

Insurance requirements differ

Philstar.com spoke to three insurance agents from Sun Life Financial Philippines, Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. Philippines (Manulife) and Pru Life Insurance Corp. of UK who revealed different requirements and  procedures.

Of the three, only Sun Life allows LGBTQ couples to instantly enroll their partners as beneficiaries without any documentary requirements.

For Manulife and Pru Life, an “insurable interest” is required, that is, as one agent puts it “proof of loss on the part beneficiary if the insured dies.”

One way to do it, an agent said, is through a “business partnership” that is acquired if the persons concerned are registered as proprietors with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A loan agreement may also serve as basis, another insurance agent said. 

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