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Sen. Nelson introduces Holocaust insurance claims bill (concl.)

In our last post, we were talking about the "Restoration of Legal Rights for Claimants under Holocaust-Era Insurance Policies Act of 2011" introduced by Florida's senior U.S. Senator, Bill Nelson. Holocaust survivors groups have sought this kind of relief for years. The issue, of course, is denied and delayed life insurance payments from Holocaust-era policies. The last post covered the basic provisions of the bill.

Insurance companies that find themselves potentially on the hook for these claims have cited the "floodgates" theory. That is, by allowing these claims to move forward, Congress or the courts will open the floodgates of litigation. Insurance companies will be bombarded with lawsuits mounted by scam artists and unprincipled lawyers.

Like most legislation, the bill includes language that limits its application -- closing the floodgates.

Beneficiary

As expected, a beneficiary under the proposed law is either an insured or a named beneficiary of a covered policy. A beneficiary is also the insured's or named beneficiary's heir, assignee or legal representative. These insurance policies were issued during the Holocaust more than 60 years ago. Both the insured and named beneficiary could well have died in the intervening years, so the bill preserves the rights of their survivors or heirs to pursue the insurance payments.

Covered policy

Clearly, not just any insurance policy issued during World War II qualifies under the proposed law. Policies must meet two criteria to qualify. First, they must have been in effect between January 31, 1933 and December 31, 1945. And, second, the policy must have been issued to a person domiciled in any Nazi-occupied area or in Switzerland.

Insurer

Insurance companies and their successors (Company A was taken over by Company B in 1965; Company B is the successor) are included. The definition also includes related companies, so classified under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Effective date

The bill would become law on the day President Obama signs it. It would cover any claim brought at any time, regardless of the effective date of the act.

Source: U.S. Senate Bill 466, Restoration of Legal Rights for Claimants under Holocaust-Era Insurance Policies Act of 2011, as introduced 3/2/11

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