Can An OFW Apply For A Philippine Life Insurance While Abroad?


Few weeks ago, I received an email from an OFW asking for assistance regarding an insurance policy signed abroad. She found out (just recently) that insurance application signed outside the Philippines is not valid.

So, I took action by referring her to an advisor of that company.

Clarissa Ramos, a financial advisor with a similar experience, have posted in Facebook the same, but with a detailed guideline on how she assisted the policyholder.

This could help you, dear OFWs, if you are in a similar situation.

Let me share you this post from Pinoy Insurance Talk.

To every Filipino who signed their insurance applications and proposals abroad, this is an actual story for you.

A client asked for my help. He wants to know the status of his insurance policy. He learned from Pinoy Insurance Talk Facebook group that signing insurance applications and proposals abroad is prohibited and any insurance policy born out of such is void. Also, that when an insurance policy is void, his family may not be able to claim anything. He got anxious and thought:

1. What will happen if I die during the contestability period? We can never be sure nothing will happen.
2. How about after the 2-year contestability period? Will my family be able to claim this time?

He confronted his agent about it. His agent only offered excuses. He contemplated of inquiring about the matter himself, but his agent told him that he will fix it. Trusting his agent, he did not inquire. However, his agent never did. He decided to do something because he did not want to always be left wondering whether or not his family will be able to claim. He wanted to file a report.

I helped him by drafting his complaint which contained all the relevant facts he narrated to me. I told him all the evidence he needed to prepare to establish the facts we stated in the letter. The good thing about the evidence preparation was that he was able to provide everything I asked that we would possibly need. Finally, I taught him where to go to, who are the people he needed to talk to and how to inquire.

He arrived yesterday from abroad and went to the office of the Insurance Company today to air his concern. Here are the following things he learned:

1. Indeed, the insurance policy is VOID, not just voidable.

Void means that a contract is invalid and has no force or legal effect – it never existed in the first place. Voidable means that a contract is valid and has force or legal effect BUT can later on be declared as invalid.

Why is an insurance policy – the basis of which are insurance applications and proposals signed abroad – void?

Under Article 1409 of the Civil Code, one of the void and inexistent contracts is where it is expressly prohibited or declared void by law. Insurance agents and companies here in the Philippines are prohibited from selling insurance abroad because the license issued to them is good only within the Philippines. Thus, it follows that there cannot be an insurance policy born out from solicitations made by insurance agents and companies abroad.

2. Even if the years pass by, the company will NOT PAY the benefits.

Under Article 1410 of the Civil Code, the action or defence for the declaration of the non-existence of a contract does not prescribe. This means that the insurance company can claim that the contract is void at anytime, if indeed it is void. There is no time limit for the company to raise that. The contract being void, the company can refuse to pay the benefits under the premise that they have no obligation. Do note that in void contracts, the parties cannot be compelled to fulfil their obligations because the very source of those duties are inexistent.

Something to remember: The rules on contestability period only applies to valid and voidable insurance policies.
The Insurance Company told the client that it was a good thing he reported and that he had two options:

1. If he wanted to keep his policy, he can request for a letter of acceptance from Insurance Company which will be heard and decided by a Committee.
2. If he wants nothing to do with his policy anymore, he can request for a cancellation of the policy and refund of all the premiums he paid.

That being said, I encourage everyone to come forward and do what the client did. Do not let your family suffer in the future.

In relation to this issue, I have found this article from Rappler. Let us all be aware so we can really enjoy the peace of mind that we have bought.

16 thoughts on “Can An OFW Apply For A Philippine Life Insurance While Abroad?”

  1. How about those with VULs?
    Is the life insurance coverage void or the entire policy is void?

    1. Hello, Jade! If the application and proposal was signed outside of Philippine Territory, then the policy is void. If was signed in the Philippines, the policy is valid and in force!

      1. if signed in the Philippine Embassy which is an extension of Philippine territory will it be legal?

        1. In most insurance companies, this is no longer applicable. For Sun Life, contracting on Embassies is no longer accepted.

          It is better to get a written confirmation from your insurance provider (e.g. through email) to ensure your position.

          Hope this helps.

  2. Hi!,

    I meet the financial adviser 3 days before I fly back abroad, then I sent back to her the proposal while I’m in abroad already dated on that time we meet.

    Is it valid or not? actually she is telling that it is under review and need to wait 2-3 weeks if it is approved or not?

    Appreciate your reply.

    1. As long as applications are signed here in the Philippines, that’s ok. The advisor have 30 days to complete the requirements and submit it for processing.

    1. Hi Jay,

      This applies for all insurance offerings from Life Insurance Companies here in the Philippines.


  3. Hello! How about insurance products to be purchased online? Is it valid? I will not mention the names of these two big companies but they are major players in their respective industries in the Philippines. I am tempted to buy because of the convenience of getting their insurance products (I am an OFW). I have already life insurance (Sun Life Grepa) but I would like to get another one preferably from other insurance companies. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rio,

      The insurance code applies to all policies contracted by Philippine Insurance companies. Therefore, this should apply whether a policy is contracted thru a Financial Advisor or thru any other means (e-commerce). Theoretically, if application is made outside the Philippines, questions of validity will arise.

      However, I’m not very familiar on the policies behind the implementation of purchasing insurance online since my company does not implement it yet. I know that it’s very easy to spot where you made the purchase thru looking up at IP Address (but can be mitigated by using proxies).

      Here’s a circular from Insurance Commission regarding the matter:

      For your best interest, it will be best to ask the insurance provider through email for proper documentation (on your part).

  4. Hi
    I came across your website. I am an OFW and last year I met a FA from one of the insurance companies there in PH. To make it short, my husband and I got a life insurance from her.

    My question is – VALID ba yung insurance na pinirmihan namin? I’ve read some articles that an insurance signed abroad is VOID. nakaka one year payment na kami. I asked her about it just the other day, she said valid daw yung policy basta in-force. and signed in Philippines naman daw nakalagay dun sa documents. Siya nag fill up nung documents and nag sign lang kami so I guess she wrote down Philippines dun sa place.

    I am not sure what to do. Pag inistop ko yun payment edi parang binigay ko na lang yung 1 year na binayad ko. plus nag top up pala ako last month huhuhu.
    Makakarefund pa ba ko? Pag nag file na ko ng report sa company matatanggalan ba siya ng lisensha? ayaw ko naman mangyari sa kanya un. I just want to know kung VOID ba o VALID yung policy namin mag asawa. Baka after 10 year pag tapos namin magbayad wala pala kami makiclaim. ouch!!!

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi, Sofia. Saang lugar ba specifically pinirmahan ninyo ang policy application? The requirement is that it should be signed in Philippine territory. If you signed it within the Philippine embassy abroad, then it may be valid. But you will have to check with the insurance company if they accept this. As mentioned above some companies no longer accept this. Kung hindi sa embassy pinirmahan, I’m afraid it’s void.


  5. pag ng cancel kb s insurance wala na ba tlgang refund? like sa akin 6 months ago. i lost interest kc ung agent ko failed to discuss my options, and benifits.

    1. Ush dapat po before ka kumuha ng insurance naipaliwanag sayo ng maigi ang options at benifits nito sayo. regarding sa refund if magcancell ka, may terms and condition ang lahat ng Insurance company most probably maliit nlng ang marerefund mo or worst wala na.
      Ano bang Insurance nakuha mo maybe I can help you with your concern.

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