Monday, November 21, 2011

Holocaust insurance settlement: Update

It's been over 4 years since we've had any news about efforts by survivors in their efforts to collect on Holocaust-era life insurance benefits. At the time, Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had introduced legislation to help move those efforts along.

Skip ahead 4 years, and Ms Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is holding hearings in Congress aimed at enabling survivors and their families to "sue European companies such as Allianz AG, a German insurance giant, in state courts for unpaid life insurance policies sold before World War II."

The seemingly insurmountable problem, of course, is that life insurance companies require death certificates in order to adjudicate claims. Obviously, these are not going to be forthcoming in the cases of those massacred in the Holocaust. As Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen asks, "[c]an you imagine anything more outrageous than asking for a death certificate for someone murdered in Auschwitz?"


Of course, there's a twist here:

"[T]he American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith and the World Jewish Congress ... argued at a 2010 congressional hearing that the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims was created to address worldwide claims, and that re-engaging in court could unrealistically raise the expectations of survivors."

I'm reminded of that classic punchline: "what could it hurt?"
blog comments powered by Disqus