Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler expressed disappointment with a number of companies that failed to release the names of Holocaust-era policyholders. Kreidler urged Washington-licensed insurance companies to use their influence to get their European parent companies to release policyholder names.
Kreidler expressed his concerned with the level of cooperation from the European companies. Kreidler also stated that his website will contain the names of the American affiliates of those European companies conducting business during the Holocaust-era, providing consumers with convenient access to information concerning the companies with which they do business at a time when they, their families or their neighbors may have unpaid policy issues with the European affiliates.
Kreidler spoke of California’s efforts to defend their law, which is similar to Washington’s. The law requires the release of names so that Holocaust victims may pursue outstanding insurance claims. Kreidler will show his support by filing an amicus brief and plans to contact all insurance commissioners and suggest they do the same.
Washington State’s Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief Act of 1999 states that insurance companies licensed to do business in Washington are required to provide the Office of the Insurance Commissioner with the names from policies in effect between 1933 and 1945 in Europe. This is due to the fact that millions of insurance policies during that time were confiscated. Providing the names of Holocaust-era policyholders is crucial. Approximately 80 percent of people filing claims do not know the name of the European company.
The International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC), created to facilitate the release of policyholder names from European companies, has a deadline of February 2002 for people to file a claim through ICHEIC. Washington State has 138 Holocaust-era insurance claimants but to date, only two of those claimants have been paid.