Regulator seeks evidence vs foreign insurance firm

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A foreign insurance and risk management firm has been accused of allegedly operating without a license in the Philippines but regulators say they cannot act until complainants present sufficient evidence to warrant a formal case.

Lawyer Jose Antonio Bernas, who represents Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc., has asked the Insurance Commission to investigate Marsh UK — a unit of professional services firm Marsh & McLennan — that has a subsidiary in the Philippines and other Asian countries.

In several letters to Insurance Commission Dennis Funa, Bernas claimed that Marsh UK – a former reinsurance broker for Prudential Guarantee — had directly solicited clients in the Philippines.

He said that David Jacob, the head of Marsh Singapore, had on behalf of March UK contacted Cebu Air, Inc. to solicit business, in the process breaking Philippine laws and also disclosing privileged information.


Jacob reportedly presented a reinsurance package to the carrier where Marsh would assume all insurance risks through a “fronting insurer”, a matter Bernas claims Marsh all but admitted in a letter to the IC where it said it was now able to compete against other local insurance firms.

“They practically admitted their violation to the IC… First of all, a reinsurer can’t do that, much less a foreign reinsurer with no license to operate in the country,” Bernas said.

While Marsh Philippines is a licensed insurance broker, Marsh UK is not, he said. Marsh Philippines could also lose its license for conspiring with its parent firm, Bernas claimed.

Officials from the companies involved were not immediately available for comment. Funa, meanwhile, referred

The Manila Times to Brian Sibuyan, the officer in charge of the commission’s Regulator, Enforcement and Prosecution Division.

“One must observe rules and procedures with regard to administrative cases according to [IC] Memorandum Circular 93-1, which states that a complaint against any entity being regulated by the IC should be verified [first],” Sibuyan said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Sibuyan said that it was only when administrative cases are filed that the IC can go through the process of assessing the evidence.

“To comment on these issues being raised would seem to be inappropriate as of now, because, it would, in effect, preempt or give a judgment on the issue,” he said.

Prudential Guarantee filed a complaint against Marsh UK in London earlier this year. Marsh chose to settle the matter out of court before a final ruling was issued.

with YSABEL ANNE DREW PADUA

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