WJC Will Oppose Prudential Deal Unless It Joins ICHEIC

March 20, 2001

Elan Steinberg, the executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said that the organization would oppose Prudential plc’s agreement to acquire Houston-based American General unless the British company agrees to join the International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims. The opposition could delay or even derail the deal, as happened last August when Munich Re, stalled by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner’s refusal to rule on its bid, was forced to abandon its acquisition of United National Group.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor said in a statement that he would take Holocaust issues into account when he reviews the planned acquisition.

The controversy arises from Prudential’s pre-World War II ownership of a Polish life subsidiary. According to a report from Reuters News Agency the company had 4,263 policies in force when German forces invaded Poland. The documents and records were largely destroyed, but Prudential has claimed that it has paid out some 1,768 Holocaust related claims, using an average policy value to replace the destroyed records.

The WJC maintains that the company had as much as 7 percent of the pre-war Polish market and should join the ICHEIC so that potential claims could be investigated and evaluated independently. “We will oppose the merger if they do not join [the international commission],” Reuters reported Steinberg as saying. A Prudential spokesman indicated that the company has made every effort to identify and pay off policy holders, and continues to do so, but did not indicate whether it would join the ICHEIC.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.