New effort to settle Holocaust insurance claims

Holocaust survivors and heirs are the focus of a

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For information or claim forms, call (800) 957-3203.

worldwide insurance claim effort launched on Feb. 15. The program is being sponsored by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) and is designed to reach out to people who may be the beneficiaries of life insurance policies taken out prior to and during World War II.

Elements of the plan include the launch of a nationwide toll-free number with information and assistance, plus the opening of a central office for the investigation and payment of Holocaust claims. There is no charge to file a claim, but all claims must be filed by Feb. 1, 2002.

Five European insurance companies are taking part in the effort: Allianz, Assicurazioni Generali, Axa, Winterthur Swiss Insurance, and Zurich Financial Services. Those companies have already deposited a total of $90 million earmarked for the claim-fund effort. Several other companies were also asked to join — including Aegon, CGU, Gerling, Munich Re, Sorema, Royal & Sun Alliance, and Swiss Life — but they either refused or did not respond to the commission's request.

For additional information, or to receive claim forms, call (800) 957-3203, see the commission's Web site, or write to ICHEIC, P.O. Box 1163, Wall Street Station, New York, NY 10268. Many states also offer assistance through their own departments of insurance. Contact information is available through Insure.com's "Insurance in your state" menu, located at the top of this page.

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