Three quarters of a century after the murder of family members in the Nazi death camps, Holocaust survivors continue their battle with insurance companies to have their money returned to them, and the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA hoped to draw the attention of Obama to the cause, in Miami during his visit.
Insurance companies that include AXA, Allianz, and Generali all continue to refuse to hand over payments for the insurance policies of holocaust survivors – and the descendents of those who had been sent to the death camps – unless paperwork such as the insurance policies or the individual’s death certificate can be produced; regardless of how impossible that documentation might be to obtain by those who had experienced the Holocaust.
According to the Foundation’s attorney from Coral Gables, Sam Dubbin, “They actively solicited and obtained business from the Jewish community and turned their backs on them.” He then went on to explain that “They collected their premium and never paid the beneficiaries.”
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According to the Jewish Political Studies Review, in 1998, at the time of the formation of the International Commission for Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, there were over 800,000 families who were still awaiting payment. In 2003, they estimated that a conservative value for those claims would be approximately $19 billion. The next year, the Commission stopped taking new claims and appeals. By 2007, only 48,000 claimants had been paid, at a total of about $306.24 million.
Both the George W. Bush and the Obama administrations have stated that the Holocaust survivors cannot file lawsuits against the insurers. However, the House of Representatives and the Senate are currently facing active controversial federal Bills (HR 890 and SB 466) which could reverse this decision.
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