I am considering the prospect of working abroad and am preparing the documents I’ll need to submit to recruitment agencies. For the protection of my family here in the Philippines, I am planning to take an insurance policy. I am curious though if overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are required to have insurance coverage by a recruitment agency?
In order to enhance the protection afforded to OFWs, the latest amendment to Republic Act (R.A.) 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 introduced compulsory insurance coverage for agency-hired OFWs. The said law requires recruitment agencies to get insurance coverage for the workers they will deploy. It states that each migrant worker deployed by a recruitment/manning agency shall be covered by a compulsory insurance policy which shall be secured at no cost to the said worker and should cover the duration of the employment period (Sec. 37-A, R.A. 8042, as amended by R.A. 10022). Note that the law mandates that insurance coverage shall be given at no cost to the worker. Hence, the recruitment agency may not charge the insurance premium to the worker. Should the recruitment agency violate this provision and pass the cost of the insurance to the OFW, its license may be revoked and all its directors, partners, proprietors, officers and employees shall be perpetually disqualified from engaging in the business of recruitment of overseas workers, without prejudice to any other liability under existing laws, rules or regulations.
Concerning the minimum coverage of the compulsory insurance for OFWs, the law mandates that it shall include: (a) accidental death coverage amounting to $15,000 payable to the beneficiaries of the OFW; (b) permanent total disablement coverage amounting to $7,500 payable to the concerned OFW; (c) Subsistence allowance benefit amounting to $100 per month for a maximum of six months payable in case the OFW gets involved in a case or litigation for the protection of his rights in the country where he works; (d) cost of repatriation of the worker, including his personal belongings, if his employment is terminated without valid cause or if he dies; (e) money claims awarded to the OFW by the NLRC National Labor Relations Commission equivalent to at least three months for every year of the migrant worker’s employment contract (Sec. 37-A, R.A. 8042, as amended by R.A. 10022).
In addition, the compulsory insurance to be procured must include a compassionate visit by one family member or a requested individual when a migrant worker is confined in a hospital for at least seven consecutive days, medical evacuation or medical repatriation when necessary.
The recruitment agency is mandated to provide an authenticated copy of the insurance policy to the OFW, and to explain to the latter and one of his beneficiaries the terms and benefits of the insurance coverage, including the claims procedure (Rule XVI, Sec. 3, Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A. 8042, as Amended by R.A. 10022 issued on July 8, 2010).
We hope we were able to shed light on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com