The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEC) announced that it has reached an agreement for payments totaling around $275 million to be made to Holocaust survivors and their families in compensation for unpaid life and property insurance claims dating from World War II.
ICHEC was established in 1998 in an effort to end litigation against European insurers filed by Holocaust victims and their descendants in efforts to recover funds that were never paid. It is headed by former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who briefly resigned at the beginning of the year in frustration at the slow progress being made in reaching a settlement.
Despite reaching agreements with German, Austrian, Swiss and Dutch insurers to pay the long dormant claims, problems remained as to the amounts and the method of distributing the funds available. There are approximately 79,000 outstanding claims.
Under the terms of the agreement around $100 million will be made available to settle unpaid life insurance claims, and an additional $174 million will be put into a fund for general payments based on humanitarian concerns.
Five leading insurers, Germany’s Allianz, Italy’s Generali, France’s AXA and Switzerland’s Zurich and Winterthur, along with a number of other companies represented through their national insurance associations have agreed to publish lists of unclaimed World War II era policies, most of which are assumed to have been taken out by Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
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