Friday, July 24, 2009

Postponing Delaying Insurance Corp

A claimant reported that in a July 21 afternoon visit to the PDIC office, one of so many unproductive follow-ups on the status of his claims, he saw an old woman creating a drama scene: berating and shouting at the staff. She could not understand why PDIC was insisting that her children, who were in Singapore, and her friends, had to personally appear to file claims. The old woman just wanted that she alone (not even her husband who she claimed was sick) could do the filing for all of them.

The informant could not help but notice that the old woman was clutching a bunch of yellow claim slips, leading the former to think that "she might have invited the entire barangay to deposit (sic) in Legacy banks" and doubt "whether those were real persons or just fictitious names as the number of claims filed by her is questionably humongous."

If an ordinary depositor would have cause to think that this woman is really the owner of most of those deposits, then imagine what the PDIC would conclude, especially since their charter specifically provides that in determining the amount due to a depositor, "there shall be added together all deposits in the bank
maintained in the same right and capacity for his benefit either in his own name or in the name of others." It is a foregone conclusion that the old woman will not get her way and that even if she presented all her friends, there is no guarantee that PDIC will pay all the claims. Remember the PDIC lawyer? He said that they have ways and means to go beyond what the personal info sheets indicate for the deposits in order to find out who really is the beneficial owner of questionable accounts.

It is understandable that cases of using dummies and preneed check conversions are delaying the validation of accounts, and therefore holding up (some people say grinding down) the payout of claims. However, it has been almost eight months since the closure of banks and checks are just trickling in. It is almost inconceivable that a claimant is paid for one account, while other accounts (in the same bank) opened at the same time as that paid account is still being verified- same situation for his family members who opened accounts together with the paid claimant. There have been more instances where PDIC has required affidavits of one sort or another, than cases of actual payments made. We personally know of one family who received one check for one account but was asked to submit affidavits for 15 accounts, all in the same bank.

Claimants, even those who have been partially paid, have come to the realization that even though PDIC wants to pay valid depositors, it does not have enough liquid funds. It relies on its monthly assessment collections, which average about P600 million a month, net of taxes, to fund its issued checks. So if its payables for all the 13 Legacy banks is about P10 billion (not including the claims for the closed 13 non-Legacy banks), then expect that payouts will drag out for the next 14 months. But wait! Isn't PDIC mandated by its charter to pay within 6 months from the date of filing? It has to, and therefore expect PDIC to soon issue bonds to raise money or finally force PBCom to sell it shares in order to get back its P7.64 billion investment in the bank. If it cannot raise funds soon enough, then the acronym PDIC will come to mean: Postponing Delaying Insurance Corp.

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