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Italian Firm Retreats from Settlement

Italy’s largest insurance company has backed away from an agreement to pay $100 million to families of policy holders who died in the Holocaust.

Under the agreement reached last month with lawyers for Holocaust survivors, Assicurazioni Generali said it would pay that money provided Holocaust survivors and their heirs relinquish all claims against the company.

But U.S. insurance regulators who have been working to resolve Holocaust-era insurance claims want assurances that the payment does not eliminate Generali’s total liabilities, which some officials believe could reach into the billions of dollars.

Generali is one of six European insurance companies that have been stung by class-action lawsuits as part of a 2-year-old effort to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for life or property insurance policies that were never paid out.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding in August that calls for the creation of an international commission to resolve Holocaust-era insurance claims.

Generali is the only insurer to have negotiated a settlement to these claims, but the company said if an agreement cannot be finalized it may instead settle claims under a framework established by the commission.

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