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Judge approves Generali settlement

A federal judge in New York approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against an Italian insurer accused of failing to pay tens of thousands of Holocaust-era claims. The settlement of the case against Assicurazioni Generali will extend the deadline to file claims against the company until March 31. A modification to an earlier version of the settlement would require the company to process claims based on information recovered from a soon-to-be-opened German archive. The archive, opened to survivors for this purpose, will enable them to receive information from as recently as August 2006.Samuel Dubbin, a Miami lawyer who has challenged the settlement, called that change an “improvement” but still criticized the settlement for failing to require Generali to open its records for inspection. “To put the burden on survivors and heirs to guess whether or not their families had policies is unacceptable,” Dubbin said. “The absence of a true accounting and full disclosure of Generali information makes this settlement unacceptable from the standpoint of history, morality and the financial obligations Generali abandoned toward their Jewish customers.” According to news reports, Generali distributed a statement before the hearing calling the settlement “an important step in its longstanding commitment to bring fair closure to the Holocaust-era claims process.” Dubbin has not decided whether to appeal the ruling.