FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
$16 MILLION PAID TO HOLOCAUST-ERA INSURANCE CLAIMANTS
Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today joined officials from the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) to announce that approximately $16 million in humanitarian payments will be mailed today to approximately 16,000 ICHEIC claimants in 63 countries who are Holocaust survivors or their heirs.
"The Department is pleased to be part of this historic effort," said Serio, who also serves as Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) International Holocaust Commission Task Force. "Under Governor Pataki's leadership and in conjunction with ICHEIC and the NAIC, we have worked steadfastly to ensure that the rightful intended recipients of insurance policy proceeds receive what they should have been given decades ago. This humanitarian payment program is one step towards that end."
Israel Singer, Chairman of the World Jewish Congress, said, "We would have never reached this day without the efforts of Governor Patakis Administration, who initiated the office that continues to serve victims in the 50 states. It is truly an undertaking in which he has seen to it that a measure of justice is done under his stewardship. It is important to note the work of former Insurance Superintendent Neil Levin, who started this process with us. We have been successful in the banking area only because the Governor instructed his Banking Superintendents to work with us. This is a patchwork of efforts to make justice happen at this late date."
The Superintendent was joined by: Gideon Taylor, Executive Vice President, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; Mara Rudman, Chief Operating Officer, International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims; Israel Singer, President, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Chairman of the World Jewish Congress; and Roman Kent, Chairman of American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors.
The $16 million will be paid to approximately 5,000 recipients in the U.S., 5,000 recipients in Israel and thousands of additional recipients around the globe. The vast majority of these recipients are Holocaust survivors and will receive humanitarian payments of $1,000 on a per claimant basis. Of the 16,000 receiving payments, 1,069 recipients reside in New York State.
ICHEIC is making these payments from its Humanitarian Fund to which all of its member companies and the German Foundation, "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future," have contributed. These payments are the first in a series of ICHEIC payments to be distributed throughout the spring and summer. A total $132 million is being allocated over a 10-year period, with $15 million disbursed in 2003. More funds will be allocated each year for the next decade.
The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims was established in 1998 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in conjunction with several European insurance companies, European regulators, representatives of several Jewish organizations, and the State of Israel. ICHEIC is charged with establishing a just process that will expeditiously address the issue of unpaid insurance policies issued to victims of the Holocaust.
ICHEIC has received in excess of $500 million to be used for the payment of claims and for humanitarian purposes.