October 24, 2002                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Morrison announces deadline extension for Holocaust-era insurance claims Claims must be filed by March 31, 2003


      State Auditor John Morrison today announced that the deadline for Holocaust survivors and their heirs to file insurance claims with the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) to obtain benefits from any Holocaust-era insurance policies has been extended to March 31, 2003.
      "The decision to extend the deadline reflects the international commission's priority to ensure that victims of the Holocaust have their valid insurance claims honored," said Morrison, Montana's insurance commissioner. "The additional time frame enables insurance companies to fulfill these commitments."
      ICHEIC reached the agreement to extend the deadline with the German Foundation, "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future," which receives funds to pay claims from the German insurance industry. As part of the agreement, the foundation is to provide $100 million for delinquent Holocaust-era insurance claims and $175 million for humanitarian aid to Holocaust survivors and heirs.
      ICHEIC will work to establish a database based on a list of 5 million policyholders who had policies written by German companies during and before World War II. Also, ICHEIC plans to establish what would be the largest database naming Jewish individuals in Germany during the Holocaust era, which can be used to cross-reference insurance claims.
      "Publishing the information in both databases might inspire more individuals to come forward with claims," Morrison said. "As Montana's insurance commissioner, it is my goal to ensure that any insurance claims of Holocaust victims and their heirs are resolved fairly and expeditiously, with consideration given to the special circumstances related to the Holocaust."
       The National Association of Insurance Commissioners established ICHEIC in 1998 in conjunction with several European insurance companies, European regulators, representatives of several Jewish organizations and the State of Israel. The Foundation was established in July 2000. This agreement brings the two parties together to resolve issues raised by unpaid insurance policies in the German market.
      Any victim of the Holocaust or heir of a victim, who was a policyholder or beneficiary of an unpaid insurance policy issued between 1920 and 1945, should file a claim.
      Individuals who believe they may have unpaid insurance claims can request a claims packet in one of the following ways:
      1) Contact Montana Insurance Commissioner John Morrison at 1-800-332-6148.
      2) Visit the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims Web site at www.ICHEIC.org or call (800) 957-3203.
      3) Write the International Commission at P.O. Box 1163, Wall Street Station, New York, NY 10268.