Insurance Claims Resolution Process

A new claims process was established to provide persons with an opportunity to make claims concerning WWII-era insurance policies issued by Participating Insurance Carriers. The deadlines to file insurance claims with the CRT have passed. However, to view, download or print information on the Insurance Claims Process, please click on one of the following:


Attention: The above previously published lists of names of Account Owners and names of Power of Attorney Holders appear on this website for informational purposes only. Please note that all deadlines to file claims with the Claims Resolution Tribunal have passed. Please check this website periodically for updates.

Introduction to the Insurance Claims Resolution Process
The Swiss Banks Settlement Insurance Claims Process provides Nazi Victims and their heirs the opportunity to have claims concerning policies purchased from certain insurance companies (the "Participating Companies") between 1920 and 1945 adjudicated by an independent and impartial body, the Claims Resolution Tribunal (the "Tribunal"). This page introduces the Insurance Claims Process and describes how it is related to the Global Settlement reached in the Holocaust Victim Assets class action litigation in the United States.
The Insurance Claims Resolution Process and the Global Settlement
The insurance claims resolution process derives from three important documents: (1) the Settlement Agreement in the Holocaust Victim Assets class action litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Judge Edward R. Korman presiding (the "Court"); (2) the Final Order and Judgment of the Court approving the Settlement Agreement of July 26, 2000 (as corrected on August 2, 2000); and (3) the Plan of Allocation and Distribution proposed by Special Master Judah Gribetz and approved by Judge Korman on November 22, 2000. Under this Agreement, up to $50 million has been set aside for the payment of unpaid Holocaust-era Swiss insurance claims. For a list of the Participating Insurance Carriers, please click here.
How Insurance Claims are Processed
The Court has charged Special Masters Paul Volcker and Michael Bradfield, with administering the Swiss Bank Settlement Insurance Claims Resolution Process. The forum for the processing of insurance claims is the CRT. The Settlement Agreement provides relief to Claimants who can demonstrate that they are the legitimate owners of or heirs to unpaid insurance policies issued prior to or during the Second World War by the Participating Companies. Claimants are also required to demonstrate that policyholders or policyholders' heirs were Victims or Targets of Nazi persecution. A Victim or Target of Nazi Persecution is defined as any individual, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, unincorporated association, community, congregation, group, organization, or other entity persecuted or targeted for persecution by the Nazi Regime because they were or were believed to be Jewish, Romani, Jehovah's Witness, homosexual, or physically or mentally disabled or handicapped.
Once the claim has been evaluated, the Tribunal decides whether the record before the Tribunal supports a monetary award. Awards are based on either the net cash surrender value of the policy (the value of the policy adjusted to reflect the amount for which the policy could have been redeemed at the relevant time) or death benefit of the policy, whichever is greater. The value of policies is adjusted by a standard factor to make them equivalent to present-day values.
EXHIBIT 1 - Participating Insurance Carriers
 
Group 1: Swiss Re
Participating
Insurance Carriers:
Swiss Reinsurance Company, including:
Union Reinsurance Company (a former affiliate merged into Swiss Reinsurance Company)

European Reinsurance Company Switzerland General Reinsurance Company

Vita Kotwica (Polish Affiliate nationalized after World War II)
 
Group 2: Swiss Life
 
Participating
Insurance Carriers:
Swiss Life Insurance and Pension Company, including the following:
  • Schweizerische Rentenanstalt, Mnchen (German Branch)
    Zwitserleven, Amstelveen (Dutch Branch)
    Swiss Life (Belgium),
    Bruxelles (Belgium Branch)
  • Sociיtי suisse, Paris (French Branch)
    Including portfolios acquired from the following companies:
  • Le Phיnix (Spain) Basler (France) Lloyd Continental
    Vie La Nationale vie (Paris) Condor (Bruxelles)
  • Gan vie (Bruxelles)
EXHIBIT 1A - Released Affiliates of Participating Insurance Carriers1
 
Group 1: Swiss Re
Released Affiliates of Participating Insurance Carriers: Schweiz Allgemeine Versicherungsgesellschaft M&G Re (The Mercantile and General Reinsurance Company plc) Palatine Insurance Company, Ltd. Bavarian Re (Bayerische Rckversicherung Aktiengesellschaft)
Group 2: Swiss Life
Released Affiliates of Participating Insurance Carriers: Swiss Life (Luxembourg) Swiss Life (Italia) S.p.A. Swiss Life (Italia) S.p.A Infortuni e Malattie Swiss Life (Espana) Swiss Life (UK) Group "La Suisse" Vie "La Suisse" Accidents Swiss Life Direct

1Based on reasonable due diligence, the Participating Insurance Carriers believe that the released affiliates listed on this Exhibit 1A will not be subject to Policy Claims under the Claims Processing Guidelines. However, in the event that a claimant names a listed affiliate, the Participating Insurance Carrier will search, pursuant to the Guidelines, for relevant documents.

Insurance Claims-Frequently Asked Questions
(An updated version of "Insurance Claims-Frequently Asked Questions," including information about the 2005 List of Published Names of Holocaust-Era Insurance Policyholders and the related claim opportunity will be available shortly on this page. Please check this website periodically for updates.)

This section answers questions that claimants may have about the Insurance Claims Process for claims concerning WWII-era insurance policies issued to Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution by certain Swiss insurance companies that are Releasees under the Settlement. It also provides answers to frequently asked questions about the filing of claims.

A. BACKGROUND

1. What is the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation?
(For the judgment concerning the Holocaust Victims Asset Litigation, see www.swissbankclaims.com)

In late 1996 and early 1997, a series of class action law suits were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against certain Swiss banks, alleging that the Swiss banks collaborated with and aided the Nazi Regime by knowingly retaining and concealing assets of Holocaust Victims and by accepting and laundering illegally obtained Nazi loot and profits of slave labor. In the course of these lawsuits, the parties commenced settlement discussions.

In August 1998, the parties reached an agreement to settle the lawsuits for US $1.25 billion that was signed on January 26, 1999 ("Global Settlement"). In exchange for the settlement amount paid by the Swiss banks ("Settlement Fund"), the plaintiffs and class members agreed to release and forever discharge the Swiss banks, the Swiss Government, and Swiss industry from, among other things, any and all claims relating to the Holocaust, the Second World War, and its prelude and aftermath.

The Settlement then was amended to provide for an Insurance Claims Process for claims concerning WWII-era insurance policies issued to Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution by certain Swiss insurance companies that are Releasees under the Global Settlement.

On August 9, 2000, the presiding Judge, Edward R. Korman determined that the proposed settlement of the class action, including the Amendment providing for the Insurance Claims Process, was fair, reasonable and adequate and granted it final approval.

2. What insurance claims are covered and released by the Settlement?

The Settlement provides a mechanism to resolve claims relating to direct insurance policies or guarantees ("Policies") issued by Participating Insurance Carriers to Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution under which a policyholder, beneficiary, or heir is entitled to payment ("Policy Claims") or that were looted by the Nazi Regime ("Looted Asset Claims").

The Participating Insurance Carriers are members of the Swiss Life Group and the Swiss Re Group that may have issued Policies to Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution and are listed in Exhibit 1, which can be viewed by clicking here. European affiliates of Swiss Life Group and Swiss Re Group that are not believed to have issued such policies are listed on Exhibit 1A, which can be viewed by clicking here. All of the companies listed on Exhibits 1 and 1A are Releasees under the Settlement.

3. What funds will be used to pay Policy Claims?

A total of $50 million, split between the Participating Insurance Carriers and the Settlement, will be available to satisfy Policy Claims. The Participating Insurance Carriers will pay half of each valid Policy Claim (up to an aggregate of $25 million), and the other half will be paid from the $1.25 billion Settlement amount. Based on a careful analysis of the available information, the parties believe that the $50 million amount should be adequate to cover all valid Policy Claims. In the unlikely event that the sum of all valid Policy Claims exceeds $50 million, the excess may be paid from the $1.25 billion Settlement amount or the $50 million may be split pro rata among the valid Policy Claims.

4. Who will adjudicate Policy Claims and Looted Asset Claims?

In order to provide a fair, speedy, and equitable resolution of Policy Claims and insurance-related Looted Asset Claims, the Tribunal has been given authority to receive and adjudicate Policy Claims.

The Tribunal is an independent body established by ICEP in 1997. Initially, the Tribunal's mandate was to adjudicate claims of entitlement to approximately 5,570 foreign dormant accounts that had been published in two lists by the Swiss banks in 1997.

On December 8, 2000, Judge Korman appointed Mr. Paul Volcker and Mr. Michael Bradfield, for Chairman and Counsel, respectively, of the ICEP, as Special Masters, to organize and supervise the Tribunal.

5. What are the functions of the Tribunal?

The Tribunal's task is to process individual Policy Claims. In this regard, the Tribunal determines whether each particular claimant has plausibly demonstrated that the policyholder, beneficiary, or insured was a Victim or Target of Nazi Persecution and that the claimant should now be considered the rightful beneficiary.

The Tribunal then evaluates the validity of the claim based on whether there is documentary evidence that demonstrates that (a) a Participating Insurance Carrier issued the Policy, and (b) the Policy has not already been paid to the policyholder, beneficiary, or rightful heir. In many instances where there is no evidence that a policy was paid, the policy will be treated as unpaid.

6. Why is the Tribunal located in Switzerland?

The Tribunal has its offices in Switzerland because that is where the many relevant documents are located.

7. Is the Tribunal a Swiss Tribunal?

No. The Tribunal is an international tribunal. Its attorneys and staff are from many different countries all over the world.

B. ISSUES RELATING TO ADJUDICATION OF CLAIMS

8. How will my insurance claim be processed and evaluated under the Settlement?

The Tribunal will process insurance claims in accordance with Amendment No. 2 to the Settlement.

At the start of the process, claims that are on their face not eligible for compensation under the Settlement will be identified. If a Claims Form is not filled out properly, the claimant will receive a telephone call or other contact requesting the necessary information or clarification so that the claim may proceed. Next, the relevant Participating Insurance Carriers will search their files, at their own expense, for any documents related to a claim. The official Swiss insurance supervisory authority will monitor the search process to ensure that the Participating Insurance Carriers are in compliance with their search obligations.

The Participating Insurance Carriers will provide the documents they find concerning Policy Claims to the Tribunal, which will use them to evaluate claims. The Participating Insurance Carriers will submit claims and documents concerning policies sold by non-Swiss affiliates and branches, and policies that were looted by the Nazis, to the appropriate national foundation initiative, e.g., German policies to the German Foundation Initiative, "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future," for such foundations to use to resolve claims concerning those policies.

The CRT will evaluate the validity of the remaining claims based on whether the claimant is entitled to the proceeds of the policy and whether there is documentary evidence that demonstrates that (a) a Participating Insurance Carrier issued the Policy, and (b) the Policy has not already been paid to the policyholder, beneficiary, or rightful heir. In many instances where there is no evidence that a policy was paid, the policy will be treated as unpaid.

Policy Claims found valid will be paid at either (a) the net cash surrender value, which is the policy value adjusted to reflect the amount for which the policy could have been redeemed at the relevant time, increased to today's value by a reasonable multiple, or (b) in cases in which the insured perished in the Holocaust, the death benefit, which is greater than the net cash surrender value, increased to today's value by a reasonable multiple. If there is no evidence of policy value, claimants still will receive the estimated net cash surrender value or the death benefit, which will be calculated by reference to comparable policies issued during the relevant time frame.

9. On which issues will the Tribunal focus?

The Tribunal will focus on whether there is documentary evidence that demonstrates that (a) a Participating Insurance Carrier issued the Policy, and (b) the Policy has not already been paid to the policyholder, beneficiary, or rightful heir. In many instances where there is no evidence that a policy was paid, the policy will be treated as unpaid.

The mere fact that you or your relative and the policyholder have the same or a similar last name is not enough, by itself, to support a claim.

10. What if the insurance company that issued the Policy for which I am claiming is not on the list of Participating Insurance Carriers?

Only Policies issued by Participating Insurance Carriers 1, or by affiliates of Participating Insurance Carriers are eligible for resolution through the Swiss Settlement insurance claims process. If the company that issued the Policy is not on these lists, your claim may be eligible for resolution through the ICHEIC or the German Foundation Initiation.

11. What if I believe I am entitled to the proceeds of a Policy, but the policyholder, beneficiary and insured were not Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution?

The Tribunal's jurisdiction is limited to the adjudication of claims to Policies as which the policyholder, beneficiary, or insured were Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution. Hence, the Tribunal does not have the authority to treat claims to other Policies.

12. How will the Tribunal determine if my relative and the policyholder, beneficiary, or insured are the same person?

When a claimant files a claim to the proceeds of a Policy that the Tribunal determines to be admissible, the Tribunal will compare information provided by the claimant about the person he or she believes is a policyholder, beneficiary or insured with documents and information provided by the Participating Insurance Carriers to help the Tribunal make a determination and award.

13. If my claim is successful, will I get the full amount of the Policy Proceeds?

Awards will be based on the net cash surrender value of the policy, which is the policy value adjusted to reflect the amount for which the policy could have been redeemed at the relevant time, or death benefit of the policy, which is greater. Awards will be grossed-up to today's values.

The Participating Insurance Carriers will pay half of each valid Policy Claim (up to an aggregate of $25 million), and the other half will be paid from the $1.25 billion Settlement amount. Based on a careful analysis of the available information, the parties believe that the $50 million amount should be adequate to cover all valid Policy Claims. In the unlikely event that the sum of all valid Policy Claims exceeds $50 million, the excess may be paid from the $1.25 billion Settlement amount or the $50 million may be split pro rata among the valid Policy Claims.

14. If the Tribunal approves my claim, can I collect the money directly from the Participating Insurance Carrier?

No. The Global Settlement releases the Participating Insurance Carriers from claims of Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution and their heirs. Therefore, the Tribunal will not issue decisions enforceable against the Participating Insurance Carrier, but will issue Certificates of Validity redeemable for payment from an account funded from the Settlement Fund.

15. Do I have the right to appeal the Tribunal's decision about my claim?

Claimants whose claims are denied on the merits may appeal the decision within sixty days of receiving the decision, provided that they are able to identify an error in the earlier ruling or to provide relevant new evidence.