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IC issues rules to protect PWDs from discrimination

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Insurance Commission (IC) has instructed all regulated entities selling various insurance products not to discriminate against persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa issued circular 2020-86, laying down the guidelines to protect PWDs from any form of discrimination in the insurance industry.

Funa said Sections 35 and 36 of Republic Act 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, prohibit the discrimination of PWDs in public accommodations and services.

“There is a need to issue guidelines that the insurance industry shall adopt and comply with in the treatment of  PWDs who intend to buy or avail of insurance products or services,” Funa said.

He said the new regulation states that the insurance industry should comply and be mindful of the mandates of the provisions of RA 7277, as amended.

Funa added the underwriting process should be disclosed to any applicant, whether a PWD or not, upon request for purposes of transparency and the utmost good faith component of all insurance contracts.

“There shall be no outright declination or refusal of any application to be covered by any insurance contract solely on the ground of disability. A PWD should have the opportunity to either accept or decline the premium that the insurers may offer,” Funa said.  – Lawrence Agcaoili

According to the Insurance Commission, the assessment of risks and the corresponding formulation of premium for a PWD applicant must be reasonable.

For purposes of this circular, a premium is deemed reasonable if there is information or data relied upon by the insurer that is relevant to the applicant.

Funa said insurers should be prepared and must explain to the applicant the basis for their decision.

“All other legal provisions, concepts, principles and allowed practices such as, but not limited to, insurable interests, material concealment, pre-existing conditions, fraud, legal effects in case of non-payment of premiums and other pertinent provisions,” he added.

He warned violators that they would be administratively liable and would be fined an amount not exceeding P200,000.

Likewise, the certificate of authority or any form of license granted by the Insurance Commission of any violator could be revoked or suspended.

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