House Panel Calls for Holocaust Insurance Policy Disclosure

October 25, 2007

A U.S. House of Representatives’ panel endorsed legislation this week that would require insurance companies to disclose information on Holocaust-era policy holders.

The legislation aims to address concerns among some survivors that payment by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims did not address all outstanding claims.

The measure approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee would allow survivors or their heirs to sue foreign companies in U.S. courts to recover payments on claims.

The legislation’s prospects are uncertain. It would have to be approved by the full House as well as the Senate and signed by the president to become law.

ICHEIC was established in 1998 after negotiations between European insurance companies and U.S. insurance regulators to settle individual Holocaust era insurance claims. It resolved more than 90,000 claims and paid out $306 million (euro215 million) to more than 48,000 Holocaust survivors, heirs and family members.

But critics have charged that it did not force European insurance companies to disclose their documentation on Holocaust-era claims.

“This legislation offers an important opportunity to bring long-awaited justice and closure to Holocaust survivors and their families,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the author of the new legislation.

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