Same-sex partners can name each other on insurance policies, confirms LIC

Same-sex partners can name each other on insurance policies, confirms LIC

When a queer couple in Kolkata applied for RTI to see if there was an authorized ban on anyone making their same-sex partner a candidate in their insurance policies, the Life Insurance Company (LIC) confirmed that sex was not sufficient as a barrier.

The motion was put forward by Suchandra Das and Sree Mukherjee and comes in light of private and public banks denying same-sex couples to become cover applicants without an authorized basis.

“Therefore, nothing prevents a policyholder from designating a person not related to him by birth, blood, marriage or adoption as his nominee,” the knowledgeable photographer told IANS .

RBI is also interfering: while the couple filed an identical request with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), their request is as clear as that of LIC. Referring to RBI's response, Das added: "Reciting sections 45ZA to 45ZF of the Banking Regulation Act 1949, which deal with the matter of appointment, RBI argued that no condition was mentioned or no restrictions on who can be a nominee, so it is clear from this response that no financial institution can insist that I nominate only someone related to me as a nominee."

The Metropolitan Building in Kolkata currently owned by LIC (Photo-Viresh Raj Shah)

Calcutta HC has a catch: although there is no legal prohibition for a person to nominate their same-sex partner as a candidate, the senior lawyer of the High Court of Calcutta spoke about the fact that the nomination does not mean that such nominee could be a legal successor to the insurance proceeds or funds in the account.

To explain: This so-called nominee can only accept the money and is legally obligated to hand over the money to the testator's heirs. In short, a nominee is a “representative of a subscriber”.

High Court of Calcutta (Photo – High Court of Calcutta Gov)

However, Justice Ajay Kumar Gupta explains how there are legal ways to convert such a nominee right into a legal successor of funds "the nominee plus the successor".

Will other insurance companies follow? Sharing the information, author and human rights activist Sharif Rangnekar tagged the Instagram handles of SBI, Max Life Insurance and Kotak Life Insurance, writing, "I hope other insurance companies have similar issues with clarifications."

While LIC's claim is certainly substantial, it remains to be seen how impractical it would be for same-sex couples to nominate nominees in policies provided by these companies. Homosexuality could be decriminalized, but since same-sex marriages have no recognized status in the country, such a co-bank poses its own challenges for these couples.