INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS that identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) are allowed to name their domestic partners as beneficiaries for their life insurance plans, according to the Insurance Commission (IC).

The IC responded after research from the University of the Philippines College of Law Gender Law and Policy Program (UP GLPP) found that some insurers refused LGBTQ+ policyholders to designate non-relatives as their beneficiaries, which prevented them from naming their domestic partners as their beneficiaries.

In a legal opinion dated March 4, Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa addressed Associate Professor Leo D. Battad, the program director of the UP GLPP and said the IC “affirms” the position of the UPGLPP that a policyholder has the freedom to name any person as their beneficiary.

“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, subject only to the exceptions provided in Article 2012 in relation to Article 739 of the Civil Code,” Mr. Funa said.

“Per your letter, the reason for the refusal of such designation is the lack of an insurable interest” of the domestic partner on the life of the insured,” he added.

Mr. Funa also said there seems to be “apparent confusion” on the concept of “insurable interest,” which is only applicable for property insurance.

“…the Commission clarifies that unlike in the case of property insurance where the Amended Insurance Code specifically provides that the beneficiary must have an insurable interest in the property insured, there is no equivalent provision in the case of life insurance,” he said.

According to Mr. Funa, the Amended Insurance Code provides that in the case of life insurance, it is already sufficient that “the person securing the life insurance policy has an insurable interest in the life being insured.”

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Insurance commissioner cited that under Article 2012 of the Civil Code, a person that has been prohibited to receive any donation under Article 739 of the same law will also be disqualified to be named as a beneficiary of a policyholder who cannot donate to the said person.

Mr. Funa said persons that cannot accept such donations and therefore cannot be named as beneficiary of a life insurance policy include “persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of donation” and “between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense.”

Likewise, donations made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants by reason of his office, will be considered void and persons involved cannot be named as life insurance policy beneficiaries.

“If any LGBTQ+ individual continues to experience resistance from insurance companies in the designation of his/her/their partner as beneficiary (just by virtue of the fact that the partners are not married), we have this to show,” a professor from the UP College of Law said in a Facebook post. — Luz Wendy T. Noble