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Four More European Insurers Agree to Resolve Outstanding Claims of Holocaust Victims
- Allianz, Axa, Basler Leben, Winterthur Sign Memorandum of Understanding Establishing Historic International Commission -

New York, August 25, 1998

[New York State Insurance Department] Superintendent Neil D. Levin, Vice Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) International Holocaust Commission Task Force, today announced that four more European insurance companies – Allianz, Axa, Basler Leben, and Winterthur -- have agreed to join state insurance regulators and the World Jewish Restitution Organization in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The MOU, first signed by Zurich Insurance two weeks ago, leads the way for the swift establishment of an historic International Commission. Last week, Generali, Italy’s largest insurer, agreed to sign the MOU pending approval from their board August 28. In addition, Generali has agreed to pay $100 million to survivors as part of its settlement.

The new independent commission will ensure that unpaid claims of Holocaust victims are expeditiously resolved and paid. U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato first proposed the idea of establishing an international commission to resolve unpaid claims at a congressional hearing in February.

Governor George E. Pataki said, "Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed a measure of moral justice and restitution from the Swiss Government, Swiss Banks, and now, cooperation from the European insurance companies. We have pledged time and time again to secure justice for Holocaust survivors and their heirs and as promised, we have used every tool available to us to help ensure that these families receive what is owed to them."

US Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato said, "This is another step on the path to justice. Following the Swiss banks, the European insurance companies are beginning to cooperate in our efforts to obtain compensation for those holocaust survivors and their heirs who need and deserve it the most. We will continue working for justice and this is another important step in that effort."

Superintendent Neil D. Levin said, "We are pleased that Allianz, Axa, Basler Leben, and Winterthur are following Zurich’s lead and will fully cooperate with our efforts. This means that an international commission will have the full support of the key European insurers and more importantly, this means that moral and material restitution will finally be made."

The MOU is the culmination of negotiations among the NAIC’s International Holocaust Commission task force, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, and the European insurance companies. It is also the result of the April 8 Memorandum of Intent (MOI), which established the framework for the recovery of insurance assets by an independent International Commission. The April 8 MOI was signed at the offices of Superintendent Levin by Allianz, Axa, Generali, and Zurich.

As outlined in the MOU, the International Commission will be comprised of 12 representatives and an appointed chairperson. The commission will work to resolve all claims issues within two years. By signing the MOU, the European insurance companies agree 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.

The NAIC task force will now focus on designating the commission members to get the International Commission up and running as soon as possible.


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