Press Release
May 31, 2011

Villar asks Insurance Commission for lack of information
about mandatory insurance for OFWs

Sen. Manny Villar chided the Insurance Commission for its failure to embark on a public information campaign about the mandatory insurance coverage for overseas Filipino workers, many of whom do not understand the benefits accruing from it.

Villar, who has his own Sagip-OFW program to help distressed workers, noted that big business is being made out of the mandatory insurance coverage for OFWs yet a majority of those leaving the country are unaware of the benefits inherent in their insurance policy.

"The Insurance Commission appears to be sleeping on the job when it comes to informing the OFW sector about the mandatory insurance for overseas workers. This is very unfortunate because several stranded OFWs may be able to come home immediately if they only know more about how the mandatory insurance scheme works," the Senate's leading OFW advocate stressed.

Under Republic Act No. 10022, all licensed recruitment agencies must pay for the mandatory insurance coverage of new-hired OFWs that would include life and non-life coverage. The recruitment agencies are mandated to explain the insurance policy to the workers they are about to deploy overseas. The range of benefits of said insurance coverage includes free repatriation when an OFW's contract is unjustly terminated by the employer; death and disability benefits; medical evacuation; subsistence allowance for every month for six months that a worker is involved in litigation to defend his or her rights as a migrant worker, etc.

"The Insurance Commission which is in charge of all private insurance companies should immediately mount a public information campaign aimed at empowering our OFWs with information about their insurance coverage," Villar said, adding that the Commission should open its own public assistance desk at the POEA and OWWA.

He also expressed concern that some unscrupulous licensed agencies have begun passing the cost of mandatory insurance to overseas job applicants. "Our Sagip-OFW office has received information that some agencies have been asking the workers to advance the cost of the insurance coverage. Unfortunately, these workers were unaware of their rights because this particular provision of the law seems to be shrouded in silence," the senator added.

Under Section 37 of RA 10022, any recruitment agency that is found to have passed on the cost of the mandatory insurance to an overseas worker faces the immediate cancellation of its license and the perpetual disqualification of its directors, proprietors, officers and employees from engaging in the business of recruitment.

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