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First European Insurer Agrees to Resolve Outstanding Claims of Holocaust Victims
- Zurich Insurance Signs Memorandum of Understanding Establishing Historic International Commission -

August 13, 1998

Governor George E. Pataki and Superintendent Neil D. Levin, vice chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) International Holocaust Commission Task Force, today announced that the Zurich Insurance Company is the first European company to join state insurance regulators in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU leads the way for the swift establishment of a historic International Commission.

The new independent commission will be charged with ensuring that unpaid claims of Holocaust victims are expeditiously paid. US Senator Alfonse D’Amato first proposed the idea of establishing an international commission at a congressional hearing in February.

"Today’s breakthrough is further evidence that our aggressive efforts in the fight to secure justice for Holocaust survivors and their heirs are paying off," Governor Pataki said. "The world is focused on recovering the assets of those who have been denied restitution for far too long and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal until these families receive what is owed to them."

US Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato said, "It is rewarding to see how far we’ve come in our search for justice for Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Yesterday, I announced the historic $1.25 billion settlement with the Swiss Banks. Today’s commitment from Zurich to expeditiously resolve claims sends a strong message to other insurance companies and will go a long way in getting these outstanding claims paid once and for all. Now that the Swiss Banks have made compensation, it is time for the insurance companies to do the same."

Superintendent Neil D. Levin said, "Today’s announcement is a milestone in our effort to hold insurance companies accountable to the thousands of Holocaust victims and their families. I am pleased that New York has helped bring together the 50 state insurance commissioners in the pursuit of long-overdue justice."

The MOU is the culmination of negotiations among the NAIC’s International Holocaust Commission task force, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, and Zurich Insurance. It is also the result the result of the April 8 Memorandum of Intent, which established the framework for the recovery of insurance assets by an independent international commission.

As outlined in the MOU, the International Commission will be comprised of 13 representatives and an appointed chairperson. The commission will work to resolve all claims issues in two years. By signing the MOU, Zurich agrees to do the following:

  • Cooperate fully with the International Commission to expeditiously resolve all unpaid claims;
  • Provide full access to all of their relevant books, files, records and archives;
  • Contribute to the establishment of a humanitarian fund; and
  • Help pay for the investigation and audits by the commission.

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