Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims: Background and Proposed Legislation [Updated March 17, 2008] [open pdf - 255KB]
From the Summary: "In November 1998, following several high-profile class-action lawsuits against European insurance companies alleged never to have honored hundreds of thousands of Holocaust-era insurance policies, U.S. insurance regulators, six European insurers, international Jewish organizations, and the State of Israel agreed to establish the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC). ICHEIC was tasked with identifying policyholders and administering payment of these policies. It ended its claims process in March 2007, having facilitated the payment of just over $300 million to 47,353 claimants. An additional $190 million was allocated to a 'humanitarian fund' for Holocaust survivors and Holocaust education and remembrance. Throughout its existence, ICHEIC was criticized, including by some Members of Congress, for delays in its claims process, for conducting its activities with a lack of transparency, and for allegedly honoring an inadequate number of claims. Although they acknowledge initial delays in the claims process, ICHEIC supporters -- among them the Bush Administration and European governments -- argue that the process was fair and comprehensive, especially given the unprecedented legal and historical complexities of the task. […] This report aims to inform consideration of H.R. 1746 and possible alternatives by providing: background on Holocaust-era compensation and restitution issues; an overview of ICHEIC, including criticism and support of its claims process and Administration policy on ICHEIC; and an overview of litigation on Holocaust-era insurance claims and the proposed legislation. It will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34348