Holocaust survivors still seeking life insurance payouts
A fascinating, and of course tragic, after-affect of the Holocaust have been lingering life insurance claims. Many victims had purchased life insurance policies, but their survivors often never received benefits. The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims was established in the 1990s and has reportedly paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to claimants. However, according to an article in the Miami Herald, lawyers for survivor's groups contend the actual amount owed is likely far greater. They are trying to change laws that prevent the claims from being heard by US courts:
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, met with some of the survivors, but has not scheduled a crucial hearing needed to consider the legislation. He has told key lawmakers he wants to review it more before making any decision.
The proposed bipartisan bill - sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. - would give thousands of survivors the right to sue Germany's Allianz SE, Italy's Assicurazioni Generali and other major European companies in U.S. courts to recover the value of life insurance policies bought before World War II. It would also force those companies to disclose lists of policies held by Jews during that era.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of survivors have been denied access to the U.S. courts because the federal government has said that the claims system under an international Holocaust commission is the only way for them to be compensated for their losses.
My sense is that this will be an uphill battle.