Love insurance

LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph T. Gonzales (The Freeman) - March 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Good news for LGBTQ+ partners. The Insurance Commission has affirmed the right of one partner to name the other as beneficiary in life insurance policies.

In a missive issued in response to a query posed by the UP College of Law Gender and Policy Program, Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said anyone can be designated as a life insurance beneficiary --even one's life partner.

UP sent the query in reaction to the recurring complaint of LGBTQ+ couples who try to obtain policies, but are denied by insurance companies because they are technically or legally unrelated. There’s that legal term "insurable interest" and the stand of some misguided insurers is that boyfriends have no insurable interest towards each other (the nerve of these homophobes).

So it’s clear. The beneficiary need not have blood or filial relationship to the assured. Insurable interest is more properly called for and applied in property insurance, not life insurance, Practically speaking, the choice of beneficiary could also be one's serial lover, boyfriend of the moment, or even last night's one-night stand, if emotions were strong enough. It's the choice of the insured - and insurers cannot refuse protection or steer the insured towards someone else.

The beneficiary could even be a stranger, if one wanted to be generous. Or to surprise a crush. Or to annoy the insurance company (my kind of heckling.)

Of course, there are a few exceptions - like queridas. Those guilty of adultery or concubinage are prohibited from getting policies for each other (what an incentive for slipping a dagger onto the cheating partner's sleeping carcass, if otherwise). Respect the sanctity of marriage is the message of our lawmakers -so no policies for the concubine!

What if the concubine or boytoy is the same sex as the married spouse? I wonder whether the Commission will apply this prohibition against one married partner who then takes out a policy for the same-sex third party. The logic for prohibition should apply --but methinks the law makes that prohibition difficult to impose. "Adultery" and "concubinage" are precise technical terms, and only an advocate who hopes to play on emotional leverage aroused by the unfairness of allowing same-sex couples this wiggle room would take on this cause. Strictly speaking, it should be possible.

Another exception would be public officials. Perhaps meant to inhibit private parties from bribing officials, and the thought behind it is a life policy can be used as a bribe. Not well-thought out, if you ask me, because who in his right mind would take out a policy on his own life, and then name the government official as beneficiary? That's practically an invitation for an assassination. Suicide by policy.

No such prohibition on the public official, though. He can name anyone he wants, even private individuals. Like his wife, child, or boyfriend. Just saying.

Last exception would be if the insured and the beneficiary commit a crime, and they did it so the policy benefits one or both of them. That policy isn't allowed by law. But outside these exceptions, it's a wide open field.

So take heart LGBTQ couples and throuples – it’s now clear you can protect a loved one even beyond death. All that’s needed is to get a policy. And if the insurance company is stubborn --cite Legal Opinion No. 2020-02 dated March 4, 2020.

Kudos to the UP College of Law Gender and Policy Program --this is advocacy at its finest (I was actually invited to the program's gender forum last month, but I begged off as I was en route to another city that day. I missed my chance to be part of this significant victory for the LGBTQ community. Darn. Hope another opportunity comes up soon).

Now to get that application form.


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