July 24, 2024
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Dutch Insurers Lobby Against Lantos Bill

The Hague—Several Dutch insurance companies are lobbying against the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act which has once again been introduced in Congress. The bill had been introduced previously, a number of times in years past, under pressure from a group of survivors led by lawyer Sam Dubbin of Florida. It seeks the granting of permission to file individual civil action suits against insurance companies for unpaid insurance policies.

The bill is known as the Tom Lantos Justice for Holocaust Survivors Act, but as Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Lantos knew that passage of the bill would break international treaties with Israel and Germany as well as other countries. Just months before he died, he received a letter from the Germans saying that if the bill passes it would cause much grief at the negotiating table. The matter of unpaid insurance policies was intended to be resolved by the creation of the International Committee for Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC), but many survivors were unhappy at the formulas that were used to distribute compensation. The treaties, which have gone before the Supreme Court, now prevent survivors from suing on their own.

Roman Kent, treasurer of the Claims Conference, does not want the bill to pass. He told JLBC, “This bill would only enrich lawyers who would drag the cases through the courts for years, and would not benefit the survivors at all, even if they live long enough to be compensated.  Europe’s privacy laws on these matters are more stringent than those in the U.S. and cases would take a long time to resolve.”

By Jeanette Friedman

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