WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (JTA) After nearly two years of work, the international commission seeking to settle unpaid Holocaust-era insurance claims launched a global effort Tuesday to reach out to Jews who may have claims against European insurance companies.
Lawrence Eagleburger, the former U.S. secretary of state who chairs the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, said people who believe their relatives bought life, education or dowry insurance policies with any company between 1920 and 1945 but never received the proceeds are eligible to file a claim with the commission.
The commission so far has been joined by only five insurance companies, but the commission is seeking to add more and will ask all companies to process claims. The companies are: Allianz of Germany; Assicurazioni Generali of Italy; Axa of France; and Zurich Financial Services and Winterthur Insurance, both of Switzerland.
Claimants can file an application even if they do not know the name of the company under which the policy was held.
Eagleburger said the commission would spend nearly $9 million worldwide on publicity and on processing the claims. He added that 10,000 Jewish organizations around the world have been enlisted to help those who want to file a claim.
Individuals can obtain a claims packet by: writing to the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims at P.O. Box 1163, Wall Street Station, N.Y., NY 10268 USA; visiting the Web site at www.icheic.org; or calling 1-800-957-3203. All claims must be filed by Feb. 1, 2002, and are promised to be resolved within two years of filing.