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Italian firm approves agreement

ROME, Aug. 30 (JTA) — The board of directors of Italy’s largest insurance firm has approved an agreement made earlier this month to pay $100 million as part of a settlement of Holocaust-era claims. The board of Assicurazioni Generali made its agreement conditional upon the acceptance of the settlement by all other parties involved in the negotiations — including the relatives of survivors and the Jewish groups who participated in the talks. The board added that it would work with an international commission to probe survivors’ claims that European insurers refused payments on policies taken out by Jews who perished in the Holocaust. In a series of hearings by U.S. state insurance regulators earlier this year, numerous witnesses charged that European insurance companies have been stalling for 50 years to avoid payment on policies taken out by Jews in prewar years. Before reaching the settlement, Generali was one of 16 insurers facing a class-action lawsuit suit for $16 billion filed on behalf of survivors. Lawyers for the survivors estimate that the lawsuit, now pending in New York federal court, could affect 10,000 claimants and involve billions of dollars in damages.

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