Claims Processing Office Accomplishments
June of 1997, Governor George E. Pataki acted on the suggestions
of former Superintendent of Banks Neil
Levin and created an office with the sole purpose of assisting
Holocaust survivors and their heirs in recovering assets wrongfully
held by Swiss banks. The result was the establishment of the Holocaust
Claims Processing Office (HCPO). Never before had a government office
existed solely to assist Holocaust survivors and their heirs recover
assets. The mission of the Office expanded quickly to include accepting
Holocaust-era claims against European banks, claims against insurance
companies on unpaid policies and claims seeking the recovery of
lost or looted art. The Office accepts claims from anywhere in the
world, and there are no fees for its services.
the Office's inception, it has responded to approximately 9,400
inquiries resulting in 4,720 claims from 45 states and 34 countries.
As of 2001, 2,300 are bank claims, 2,300 are insurance claims, and
120 are art claims.
The HCPO staff are
experts in banking, law, economics, finance, political science,
archives, history, and art history. In addition, the staff is fluent
in multiple languages to better serve their international claimants.
In the year 2001
alone, the Office helped recover approximately $3.5 million in offers
to claimants seeking proceeds from Holocaust-era insurance policies.
It also approached a $1 million mark in offers to claimants seeking
return of Holocaust-era bank accounts.
one of its most notable accomplishments for 2001 was the recovery
and return of three paintings to the Littman heirs, one of the very
first claimants to file a claim with the HCPO shortly after it opened.