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Regulator hikes death insurance benefit for PUV passengers

/ 11:32 PM January 17, 2014

The death insurance benefit for public utility vehicle (PUV) passengers involved in accidents will double to P150,000 per person starting Feb. 1, according to the Insurance Commission.

The Insurance Commission, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and members of the insurance industry agreed to the 100-percent increase in the death benefit for PUV passengers, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said in a briefing Friday.

“The protection to be given to victims, particularly passengers of PUVs involved in accidents, will double starting next month,” Dooc said.

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He said the insurance industry has sufficient resources to meet the hike in the benefit and service the potential claims.

Because of the increase in the death benefit, PUV operators will need to deal with higher annual insurance premiums.

The rate of increase in premiums will depend on the type of vehicle. Operators of provincial buses will pay the highest annual premium of P2,180.

The regulators decided to increase the benefit after an accident involving a Don Mariano Transit bus occurred in December last year. The bus fell off the Skyway and hit a van, killing 20 passengers. Authorities reported that 11 other passengers were injured.

UCPB General Insurance Co. Inc. is the lead insurer of Don Mariano.

In the same briefing, UCPB senior vice president Edgardo Rosario said the beneficiaries of the passengers who died in the accident are each entitled to P75,000.

The benefit is covered by the passenger personal accident insurance (PPAI), which all PUV operators are required to have.

The PPAI also provides benefits for the bus driver and conductor such as assistance worth P10,000 for each of them, medical reimbursement insurance of up to P5,000 for each, a P5,000 educational assistance covering one child for each, a P5,000 subsidy for caskets for both, and P30,000 to cover legal expenses resulting from cases involving accidents.

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Meantime, Dooc denied that the insurance industry was slow in releasing the claims.

He said UCPB General, upon instruction of the Insurance Commission, disbursed half of the amount of the death insurance benefits within three days of the accident.

UCPB’s Rosario said the first installment of the death insurance benefit was released to Don Mariano, which had direct contact with the passengers and their beneficiaries.

Don Mariano has yet to release the insurance benefits to the families of passengers.

But Rosario added that the bus operator already spent P8 million to compensate the victims and their families. The amount did not include the first installment of the benefits released by UCPB.

Rosario said UCPB would get back the money from Don Mariano and would be the one to release the amount to the beneficiaries.

He said families of the victims could get the claims two days after they filed the required documents.

If a victim was single, the parents could claim the insurance benefit by submitting the victim’s birth certificate. If a victim happened to be married, the spouse could claim the insurance benefit by submitting their marriage certificate.

Rosario said beneficiaries of most of the victims, except for six, have already been identified. They are advised to get in touch with UCPB General as soon as possible to submit their requirements and get their claims.

The six victims whose beneficiaries remain unidentified are Rolando Valeros, Roberto Bautista, Rolly Borres, Ricardo Gonzales, Arvin Balurin and Russell Constantino.

Beneficiaries of the six victims are advised to get in touch with UCBP General for identification and claims processing.

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TAGS: Business, death insurance benefit, Insurance Commission, passengers, public utility vehicles
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