Nearly four years after the same sex relationships were legalised in September 2018 when the country’s apex court struck off section 377; queer couples recently tasted another victory in getting a nod for choosing their partners as nominees in insurance policies.
Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has reportedly confirmed that same gender partners are allowed to nominate each other in their insurance policies. It was stated in response to an RTI (Right to information) application from a queer couple in Kolkata.
This request was made by Suchandra Das and Sree Mukherjee and gains a lot of significance in the backdrop of banks refusing same gender couples from becoming policy nominees.
“In effect, this means that there is no bar for a policy holder from making a person not related to him or her by birth, consanguinity, marriage, or adoption as his or her nominee,” Das was quoted by IANS as saying.
The couple had also knocked on the banking regulator’s door. In reference to the RBI’s reply, Das says: “The RBI maintained that there is no mention of any condition nor there are any restrictions regarding who can be a nominee. So, it is clear that no bank can insist that I can make only someone related to me as a nominee.”
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that queer person’s partner is entitled to receive all the proceeds of insurance claim. Being a nominee essentially means becoming an agent of the policyholder.
At the same time, there are legal means to turn such a nominee into a successor of the funds. For that to happen, the policy holder or bank account holder will have to bequeath those funds by executing a registered will, in effect turning nominee into a successor too, Justice Ajay Kumar Gupta was quoted by Dailyoas saying.
Nevertheless, how will the state insurer’s clarification impact the queer couples is yet to be seen, but one thing is certain that they, at least, now have a reason to celebrate since this clarification is set to empower the financial well-being of queer population.