The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has charged eight insurers and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) with entering into anti-competitive agreements.
The entities have been charged with violating the Philippine Competition Act (PCA), based on a statement of objections filed at the end of December 2019.
In an official statement released on February 4, the PCC outlined that a pool of eight insurers and the NHMFC relayed anti-competitive arrangements for the exclusive provision of mortgage redemption insurance (MRI) to its account holders for nearly four decades.
These arrangements undertaken by the group of insurers allowed the firms to “exclusively and indefinitely provide MRI to borrowers whose loans have been assumed by NHMFC as secondary mortgagor. This arrangement deprived the NHMFC and housing loan borrowers of choosing MRI coverage from other providers, which may offer better terms and conditions at lower premium rates.”
The PCC added that the agreements allowed the group to “enjoy the lack of any competitive constraints for almost 40 years…which has resulted in poor service, unfavourable premium rates, and lack of options to the detriment of thousands of account-holders, including low-cost and socialised housing borrowers.”
The insurers that have been flagged are: Beneficial Life Insurance; Country Bankers Life Insurance; First Life Financial; Fortune Life Insurance; Manila Bankers Life Insurance; Philippines International Life Insurance; The Manufacturers Life Insurance; and United Life Assurance Corporation. The PCC has also charged individual executive committee members who carried out the agreements.
Under the PCA, entities found to have entered into anti-competitive agreements face a fine of up to almost US$2 million.

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