Congress moves on insurance issue


U.S. lawmakers want to force Holocaust-era insurance
companies to disclose lists of their insured to Holocaust
survivors. The Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2007, introduced by Rep.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), seeks to supersede international agreements brokered by the State
Department to settle insurance claims through the International
Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

The proposed legislation asserts that ICHEIC, which officially ends its 9-year efforts this week, “did not make sufficient effort to
investigate” or compile the names of Holocaust-era insureds or the claims due
to survivors. The measure would require insurers to disclose comprehensive
lists of those they insured during the Hitler era. The legislation also
authorizes federal lawsuits to recover monies from insurers, thus overruling ICHEIC’s
authority, and a variety of adverse Supreme Court rulings that have denied
survivors the right to sue.

The bill was spurred by survivors groups following revelations
in the Jewish media that the secret International Tracing Service archive in
Bad Arolsen, Germany, contains thousands of uninvestigated documents relating to
insurance and corporate complicity.

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