Calif. Commissioner Helps Issue $3 Million to Charity; Funds Initiate $20 Million Claim Settlement

January 27, 2005

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi on Wednesday helped deliver the first checks from a $20 million settlement of a class action lawsuit to resolve insurance claims stemming from the Armenian Genocide nearly 90 years ago.

The Commissioner reportedly played an instrumental role during the final negotiations leading to the agreement with New York Life Insurance Company.

“Justice has been long overdue in this case,” Garamendi said. “I am pleased that this settlement will help resolve the insurance claims of the heirs and beneficiaries from the tragic genocide that began in 1915. The hard work of all parties involved will help bring some measure of closure to the descendants of the victims. Today marks the beginning of the distribution of monies from this agreement, and I am very proud to have helped in this healing process.”

The five organizations receiving checks for $333,333 each are: the Armenian Church of North America Eastern Diocese (New York), Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern U.S. and Canada (New York), Armenian Apostolic Catholic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics in the U.S. and Canada (New York), Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc. (Paramus, New Jersey) and the Armenian General Benevolent Union (New York).

Four other Armenian organizations in California will also receive $333,333 each, including: Armenian Church of North America Western Diocese (Burbank), Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Los Angeles), Armenian Educational Foundation (Glendale). The Armenian Relief Society, United States Chapter of Watertown, Massachusetts will also receive an equal portion of the proceeds.

In order to make a claim for a portion of the settlement, descendants of policyholders killed during the Armenian Genocide must postmark their claims no later than March 16, 2005. Details of the settlement and the New York Life policies involved are available at

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