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Dutch insurers lobbying against U.S. Holocaust Insurance Act

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THE HAGUE (JTA) — Several Dutch insurance companies are lobbying against a bill to be reintroduced in the U.S. Congress that would allow individual Holocaust survivors to sue insurance firms.

The insurance giants Aegon and ING, as well as the Dutch Association of Insurers, have “lobbied jointly dozens of times” against various versions of the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act, the Amsterdam-based daily De Telegraaf reported last week.

Also known as the Tom Lantos Justice for Holocaust Survivors Act, the bill has been introduced a number of times over the years but been stymied by process. The measure is written to allow survivors with unpaid insurance claims to sue insurance companies — and perhaps more important, force the companies to release a full list of unclaimed policies from that era.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the bill’s longtime champion, is set to reintroduce the measure in the coming weeks.

American survivors are now prevented from suing on their own by court rulings that said their claims must be settled in talks with the federal government.

According to De Telegraaf, the information on the Dutch insurers’ attempts to block the bill is based on figures and documents published on the website of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nongovernmental organization that “tracks money in U.S. politics.”

An unnamed spokesperson for Dutch insurance companies is quoted by De Telegraaf as saying, “It’s not that we don’t want to pay, but the bill does more harm than good. There are good mechanisms in place for evaluating claims and the bill would just mean more money for lawyers.”

 

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