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Insurance regulator signs free legal aid agreement with bar association

The Insurance Commission (IC) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the national organisation of lawyers, have signed an agreement to provide free legal assistance to the insuring public.

The agreement will provide free legal assistance, including consultation, and representation during mediation, conciliation, and adjudication proceedings, particularly to marginalised and less privileged citizens of the country, says the IC in a statement. Policyholders may need legal assistance when filing a claim or lodging a complaint arising from insurance, pre-need, and health maintenance organisation (HMO) products.

As a standard procedure, IC informs the insuring public who file requests for assistance and/or complaints against insurance, pre-need, and HMO companies of the available legal remedies to enforce their claims. Under the agreement, after IC has informed a complainant of the available legal remedies, IC may endorse the complainant to the IBP for free legal services. IBP shall then provide legal services, subject to the application of a means and merit test and the availability of volunteer legal aid lawyers.

The agreement, however, does not preclude the filing of requests for assistance and formal adjudication cases even without a lawyer, as IC standard procedures already provide for the filing of requests and complaints even without the assistance of counsel.

In 2023, IC resolved all 5,417 informal complaints received from the insuring public, through amicable settlement between the complainants and the corresponding IC-regulated entities, or endorsement of the complaints for formal adjudication.


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