Updated: Jun 16
In the realm of life insurance, individuals often question their right to designate beneficiaries and whether they can choose their domestic partners, especially within the LGBTQ+ community. To provide clarity on this matter, Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa issued Legal Opinion No. 2020-02 on March 4, 2020, offering valuable insights into the insured's right to select beneficiaries. Let's delve into the legal opinion and its implications for LGBTQ+ rights in life insurance policies in the Philippines.
Understanding Legal Opinion No. 2020-02
Legal Opinion No. 2020-02, addressed to Prof. E. (Leo) D. Battad, Program Director of the UP College of Law Gender Law and Policy Program, sought to clarify the insured's right to designate beneficiaries, specifically focusing on the right of LGBTQ+ community members to designate their domestic partners as beneficiaries of their life insurance policies.
The Insurance Commission's Affirmation of LGBTQ+ Rights
After thorough consideration, Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa affirmed that individuals who secure life insurance policies on their own lives have the freedom to designate any person as their beneficiary, subject only to the exceptions outlined in Article 2012 in relation to Article 739 of the Civil Code. This means that members of the LGBTQ+ community can legally designate their domestic partners as beneficiaries of their life insurance policies, with certain limitations.
Exploring the Legal Basis
While the Amended Insurance Code does not explicitly mention who can be designated as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy, the right to make such designations can be inferred from Section 11 of the Amended Insurance Code. This section states that the insured has the right to change the beneficiary designated in the policy unless expressly waived.
Considering the Civil Code
Regarding the restriction on beneficiary designation in life insurance policies, Article 2012 of the Civil Code comes into play. It states that individuals prohibited from receiving donations under Article 739 cannot be named beneficiaries of a life insurance policy by someone who is disqualified from making any donation to them.
Article 739 of the Civil Code lists several instances where donations shall be void, including those made between persons guilty of adultery or concubinage, those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense, and those made to a public officer or their spouse, descendants, and ascendants by reason of their office.
Implications for the LGBTQ+ Community
The legal opinion confirms that members of the LGBTQ+ community have the right to designate their domestic partners as beneficiaries in their life insurance policies, provided they do not fall within the disqualifications outlined in Article 739 of the Civil Code. This ensures that their chosen beneficiaries, regardless of their relationship, can receive the benefits of the policy.
Addressing "Insurable Interest"
In the context of life insurance, the concept of "insurable interest" is often raised as a requirement for beneficiary designation. However, unlike in property insurance, where the Amended Insurance Code mandates that the beneficiary must have an insurable interest in the property insured, no such provision exists for life insurance policies. As long as the person securing the policy has an insurable interest in their own life, the designation of a beneficiary is permissible, subject to the limitations mentioned earlier.
Legal Opinion No. 2020-02 by Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa provides valuable guidance on the insured's right to designate beneficiaries in life insurance policies, particularly addressing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This legal opinion confirms that individuals have the freedom to designate any person as their beneficiary, with certain restrictions outlined in the Civil Code. It affirms the importance of recognizing and protecting LGBTQ+ rights within the realm of life insurance in the Philippines.
For a comprehensive discussion, book an appointment at https://www.lawyersonlineph.com/