New York Life Settles Armenian Claims

April 13, 2001

New York Life Insurance Company has agreed in principle with plaintiff’s attorneys wherein the company has agreed to pay all valid claims in relation to Armenian policies written by the company in the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago. The company will also contribute a minimum of $3 million to American civic organizations as part of the class action settlement agreement.

William Werfelman, a vice president and spokesman for the company, noted, “We have a fair and equitable agreement in principle that the parties are confident a court will approve. Both sides recognize that under very difficult circumstances in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and for years thereafter, New York Life paid benefits to beneficiaries and heirs on policies sold to Turkish Armenians. These claims and the potential ones covered by the settlement agreement, arose out of the widespread Armenian deaths that occurred in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.”

California attorney and leader in the Armenian-American community, Walter Karabian, added, “Many people are unaware of how responsibly New York Life acted after the Genocide of 1915. It went so far as to hire an Armenian lawyer in Turkey to seek out beneficiaries and heirs of those who were massacred, so as to promptly pay their claims. This, coupled with their dedicated willingness to settle the case, shows the company as one with all the right corporate instincts as far as the Armenian community is concerned. The Armenian community is better for the company’s willingness to deal so forthrightly with the past.”

In light of the settlement agreement, New York Life has informed a federal court in Los Angeles that it is withdrawing a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit. The motion had been filed to address a jurisdictional issue.

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