'Pre-need regulator should be Insurance Commission'


Posted at Feb 03 2009 12:18 PM | Updated as of Feb 03 2009 09:26 PM

The pre-need industry should be regulated by the Insurance Commission, not the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), lawmakers said Tuesday.

During the second hearing of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Affairs, Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas filed the motion to transfer the task of regulating pre-need companies to the Insurance Commission from the SEC, following the alleged failure of the latter to protect the interest of planholders.

"There seems to be unanimity that it should be the Insurance Commission. Would the chairman accept an amendment to what was already approved so that before we leave it, with the permission of the author, it should be amended that the SEC be replaced here by the Insurance Commission?" Mandanas said.

The motion was carried by Manila Rep. Jaime Lopez. No one objected to Mandanas' proposal, not even SEC Chairman Fe Barin.

"Yes, on all points. It should really go to the Insurance Commission," Barin said.

Barin earlier maintained a neutral position regarding the transfer of the pre-need industry, saying that the SEC accepts whatever mandate it gets.

"The SEC doesn't take a position on whether it should continue to regulate pre-need companies because as a matter of fact, the mandate of the SEC is more as a central corporate registry under the Corporation Code and the regulation of securities under the Securities Regulation Code, acts which it principally implements," she said.

Because of this, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman grilled Barin for her ambivalence, saying that he cannot understand why she cannot make a stand regarding the matter.

"We are simply asking whether in her opinion and experience, which agency should be tasked to regulate pre-need companies: SEC, as it is now, or the Insurance Commission? That's a very simple question, and we need a simple answer from the SEC chair. It would be useless to ask for resource persons who would be coming here with ambivalent answers," Lagman said.