February 17, 2000
Two-Year Program to Resolve Unpaid Life Insurance Claims Announced:
On Tuesday, February 16th, 2000 an international commission on insurance claims resulting from or dating to the era of the Nazi rape of Europe, has launched a two-year program to reach possible claimants and resolve their claims against European insurance companies. The chairman of the commission is former U.S. Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger.
The commission would spend about $9 million on worldwide publicity and on processing claims. The claims to be processed could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Holocaust survivors and heirs of Holocaust victims have a two year period, starting Feb. 16, 2000 to apply to the commission. The commission has setup toll-free helpdesks in 43 countries. Ads will be placed in various newspapers and information packages are also to be sent to approx. 10,000 Jewish organizations.
The commission is also relaxing the standard of proof required since documents may have been destroyed or lost during the chaos surrounding the Nazi attempt to mass-murder all of European Jewry. The offer is open to persons who may believe that their relatives purchased life insurance, education or dowry insurance policies between 1920 and 1945 but never received the benefits that were due on these contracts.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners in the US (NAIC) and other insurance regulatory bodies around the world are in support of the work of the Commission. "Today is about justice for those whom it has been denied for half a century", said Glen Pomeroy, insurance commissioner for North Dakota and a member of the commission.
To date, only five European insurance companies have been working with the
commission. These are:
Germany's Allianz AG , France's AXA , Italy's Generali , Switzerland's Winterthur Leben and Zurich Financial Services and their subsidiaries. Per the procedures announced on Feb. 16, 2000, the commission will forward claims on to the insurance companies being named, regardless of whether the company has agreed to work with the program. Where a company fails to cooperate, unfortunately, the commission cannot be sure that such a company will consider following the commission's guidelines.
It is hoped that the Commission will announce the names of those companies that fail to cooperate or attempt to weasel out of paying their claims obligations.
One of the main incentives for companies to join with the work of the commission and to honour their claims paying responsibilities is the threat of boycotts by U.S. states against European firms that want to move into the massive U.S. market. Pomeroy noted that states including New York, California, Washington and Florida have passed statutes giving the state insurance commissioners authority to take action against companies deemed not to be cooperating with the commission.
The commission already has a humanitarian fund of approx. $90 million to cover claims against defunct companies. The contributors to the fund are the five above-named cooperative companies.
If you believe that you or someone that you know may be eligible for this
program as a potential beneficiary, it is recommended that you contact a
helpdesk in your area. Please find below a listing of Helpline Telephone
Numbers for The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims. We
would also appreciate any feedback
that you may wish to provide on this urgent matter. Please e-mail your feedback to [email protected]. Remember, currently there is ONLY a two-year window, starting on February 16, 2000.
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION
ON HOLOCAUST ERA INSURANCE CLAIMS
HELPLINE TELEPHONE NUMBERS
*For countries and numbers marked with *ask your operator to place an international reverse charge (collect call) to the number indicated. You will not pay for the call.
TNT International Mail
C.C.R.I. Numero 5120
3000 VB Rotterdam
Pays - Bas