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Agency OKs Nazi Insurance Claims

February 10, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ After nearly a year of negotiations, a commission investigating unpaid Nazi-era insurance policies is ready to begin accepting claims from families of Jewish Holocaust victims, the head of the panel said today.

The International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims will announce Tuesday the opening of its claims process _ a step commission Chairman Lawrence S. Eagleburger called ``doing justice to ... a substantial number of people who have not had justice done to them for some six decades.″

He said the announcement would include information on toll-free numbers and methods families can use to get payments from companies that declined or neglected since World War II to pay on policies held by people killed in the Holocaust.

Eagleburger has been negotiating with Jewish representatives and a few European insurance companies that now have subsidiaries in the United States. He told a House Banking Committee hearing that he will continue to try _ and will get ``progressively nastier″ in his attempts _ to get other European insurers that operated during the Holocaust to join the commission.

He specifically mentioned a number of companies he had approached, saying they either had ``not responded or so far said ’no.‴

He identified them as: Aegon, CGU, Gerling, Munich Re, Sorema, Royal & Sun Alliance, Swiss Life and Prudential.

When families of those killed in concentrations camps and others attempted to collect on insurance policies after the war, some companies demanded death certificates as proof, a demand impossible to comply with.

The committee was ending two days of hearing into the progress of a number of compensation programs for Holocaust-era victims including those to pay former slave and forced laborers, those who had art plundered by Nazis and those who never were paid money their families had deposited in Swiss banks during the war.

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