LGBTQ+ partners can be life insurance beneficiaries – Insurance Commission

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6)— Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community should be able to designate their partners as beneficiaries in their life insurance plans, according to the Insurance Commission.

In a legal opinion sent to the University of the Philippines College of Law Gender Law and Policy Program (UP GLPP), the insurance body said a person with a secured life insurance policy has the freedom to delegate any individual as his or her beneficiary.

"Upon careful consideration of the present matter, the Insurance Commission affirms your position that the insured who secures a life insurance policy on his or her own life may designate any individual as beneficiary, subject only to the exceptions provided in Article 2012 in relation to Article 739 of the Civil Code,” the document dated March 4 and signed by Commissioner Dennis Funa read.

Under Article 739 of the Civil Code, exceptions for the beneficiary program only pertain to those: individuals guilty of adultery at the time of the donation; individuals guilty of criminal offenses; and donations made to a public officer or his wife, descendants, and ascendants by reason of his office.

The UP GLPP, in a January letter sent to the commission, relayed how LGBTQ members failed to share their benefits to their life partners, as some insurance companies refused to accept non-relatives as beneficiaries. The companies have cited lack of “insurable interest”— or the value for the insurance in case of losses— as the reason for their refusal.

However, the body said the concept of insurable interest is only generally applicable to property insurance. It added there’s no provision in the Amended Insurance Code or the Civil Code that would require the beneficiary to have such value.

"Therefore, 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."

The statement, meanwhile, has been lauded by several LGBT and gender rights groups in the country.

The proposed anti-discrimination measure for members of the LGBT community remains pending before the legislature. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill seeks to give equal access to employment, education, and social services to LGBT community members.

It also wants to ban the promotion and encouragement of stigma on the basis of SOGIE in the media, educational textbooks, and other mediums.

The Supreme Court earlier this year also junked with finality a petition to legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines.