New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 9/23/99

London, England
44 (0) 207 269 7311

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     Washington, DC                           
  (202) 289-4100                           


INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST COMMISSION MEETING CONCLUDES

        London, England – The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) concluded its two-day meeting in London today. Responses to the first 200 fast-track claims in the hands of companies are now being received. For example, more than 70 claimants will be sent offers this week. Another 350 claims are at an earlier stage in the process and the ICHEIC will continue to forward claims to the companies.

        "By making these offers, the companies have affirmed their support for the decisions taken by the Commission and have paved the way for the roll out of the full claims process later this year. I am pleased to see this forward momentum as we proceed to the implementation of the full claims process," said Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Chairman of the ICHEIC.

        The Commission also heard reports on the many technical issues involved in the operation of the claims process. Those reports made it evident that the October 29th date for initiating the full claims process could not be met. Details relevant to the establishment of call centers, the development of an effective outreach program, etc., have not, as yet, been resolved. Chairman Eagleburger decided therefore that a short delay in the opening date – regrettable as that is – was better than beginning the process and seeing it fail because all the details had not been worked out in advance.

        State Department Special Envoy J.D. Bindenagel, a participant in the Commission, welcomed the decision by the Commission member companies Generali and Axa to make offers on unpaid insurance claims from the Holocaust era. "This action is at long last beginning to bring a measure of justice long delayed to Holocaust survivors and their heirs," Bindenagel said.

        New York State Insurance Superintendent Neil D. Levin said, "I am pleased to report that for the first time in 50 years, there is a historic cooperative effort to pay claims. These offers are being made thanks to Chairman Eagleburger’s leadership of the Commission and his decisions on the valuation formulas. The first offers will also pave the way for all payments once the claims resolution process officially begins." Levin is one of three state insurance regulators serving on the Commission and is Co-Chair of the Claims Resolution Working Group.

        The ICHEIC will convene again in October in Washington when the details of the launch of the full claims process will be announced.

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The International Holocaust Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) was established in October 1998 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in conjunction with several European insurance companies, European regulators, representatives of several Jewish organizations, and the State of Israel. The Commission is charged with establishing a just process that will expeditiously address the unpaid insurance policies issued to victims of the Holocaust.


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