Wasserman Schultz: Restore Rights of Holocaust-era Insurance Policy Beneficiaries

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Washington, November 25, 2019 | comments
Wasserman Schultz has filed bipartisan legislation to restore the rights of Holocaust-era insurance beneficiaries to help recover billions in unclaimed payments left behind amid the chaos and destruction after World War II.
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Wasserman Schultz: Restore Rights of Holocaust-era Insurance Policy Beneficiaries

Washington DC – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) has filed bipartisan legislation to restore the rights of Holocaust-era insurance beneficiaries to help recover billions in unclaimed payments left behind amid the chaos and destruction after World War II.

Due to federal court rulings and a failure by insurance companies to adequately publish the names of recipients and pay these claims, 97 percent of the approximately 800,000 policies held in 1938 have yet to be honored. The insurers’ unreasonable demands that death certificates and original policy paperwork be produced is all but impossible for survivors who, at the time, had just survived death camps, forced relocations, torture and death marches.   

“Victims of the Holocaust and their families should be compensated for unpaid policies that were specifically set aside for times of trouble – not to enhance the profit margins for the insurance companies,” Wasserman Schultz said. “This legislation would provide the critically important financial support to these victims who were forced to endure the worst that humanity has inflicted on a people.”  

The Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2019 was introduced Friday by Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-1). A Senate companion bill was recently introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). Specifically, the Wasserman Schultz and Zeldin legislation would:

·         Validate state laws requiring insurers to publish policy holder information;

·         Establish a federal cause of action in U.S. courts to ensure Holocaust survivors and heirs have access to U.S. courts;

·         Provide a 10-year period of time for cases to be brought after the date of enactment.

“Preventing Holocaust survivors and their families from collecting on documented policies is truly outrageous and cruel, but allowing these global insurance corporations to hold on to this unjust enrichment is an offensive re-victimization that cannot be allowed to stand,” Wasserman Schultz said.

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