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International Holocaust Era Insurance Commission Launches Worldwide Outreach to Unpaid Policy Claimants

Eagleburger Unveils Claims Procedure for Holders of Unpaid Holocaust Era Policies

Former US Secretary of State, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, today announced that the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) has initiated the process to resolve the unpaid insurance claims of Holocaust victims, survivors, their heirs and beneficiaries for life, education and dowry policies issued between 1920 and 1945. Eagleburger also explained the details of a comprehensive worldwide effort to inform potential claimants of the claims procedures.

"Out direct responsibility is to pay insurance claims belonging to Holocaust era victims throughout the world," said Eagleburger. "Cooperation among insurance companies, Jewish groups, insurance regulators and government entities has resulted in an unprecedented process to swiftly investigate and pay legitimate claims." In order to address the complexity of the claims, the participating insurance companies have agreed, among other things, to relaxed standards of proof. An independent auditing process has been established to review relevant records and archives.

The insurance companies that have joined the ICHEIC include Allianz AG, AXA, Generali, Winterthur Leben, Zurich Financial Services, and their subsidiaries. Claims relating to policies issued by insurance companies that are not part of the ICHEIC will be forwarded to those companies for review with the request that they honor those claims in accordance with the ICHEIC standards. A separate Humanitarian Fund, established by the ICHEIC, will address claims for policies issued by companies no longer is existence.

In addition to providing a streamlined claims process, the ICHEIC is launching an aggressive, global effort to inform and assist potential claimants.

"Last week I launched our effort with a letter to more than 10,000 Jewish and survivor organizations worldwide," Eagleburger stated, "alerting them to the claims process and asking them to help us locate and assist any of their constituents who may have unpaid insurance claims."

The initial outreach program will, over the next four months, involve 70 countries, utilizing paid advertising in mainstream and Jewish publications, press conferences and other media activities, as well as work through Jewish religious, social, and cultural organizations. Advertisements will direct potential claimants to seek complete information on the claims process by calling toll-free help lines, writing to special mail centers, or accessing a multi-lingual site on the World Wide Web. Trained live operators will be available at the toll-free numbers to answer questions or assist in completing the necessary paperwork. In addition, the ICHEIC has begun to train in-country outreach coordinators in the United States and Israel. Over the next six weeks that program will be expanded to Eastern and Western Europe, areas of the Former Soviet Union, and Latin America.

Individuals who believe they may have unpaid insurance claims should write International Commission, PO Box 1163, Wall Street Station, New York, NY 10268 USA, or visit the ICHEIC web site at to receive complete information on the claims process and a claim form. In the United States, individuals may also call toll free 1-800-957-3203. In Canada, the English toll free telephone line is 1-800-496-1974. The Canadian French toll free telephone line is 1-800-498-2091.

Founded in 1998, the ICHEIC is an international body established to investigate and resolve Holocaust-era insurance claims. The ICHEIC is comprised of U.S. insurance commissioners, representatives of the State of Israel, international Jewish and Holocaust survivor organizations, and representatives of major European insurance companies. Observers include the U.S. Department of State, some other affected world governments, and European and Israeli insurance regulators. Eagleburger serves as the ICHEIC's chairman.

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