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tv   Hearing on Holocaust- Era Insurance Claims  CSPAN  September 21, 2019 12:45am-2:01am EDT

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next couple of weeks and months on both of to move forward with impeachment. they think the deadline for that is basically at the end of the year. >> political .com she is on twitter at sarah and farris. thank you for the update. assuming thank you for having me. >> legislation maybe need it to process on holocaust insurance claims. senate judiciary committee. it's about an hour and 15 minutes. >> all background noise. [background sounds] >> today's hearing is going to
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be holocaust era insurance claims. what to do that went out. difficult topic in many ways but i am glad we are having that hearing. senator feinstein, i really i want to opening statement, i will defer to you. >> percival thank you mr. chairman. for holding this hearing. today we are discussing holocaust era insurance claims. it's interesting before and during the second world war, many europeans purchased insurance policies to protect their assets and loved ones. while many of these individuals perished as victims of the holocaust, those who survived and the heirs of those who did not have sent attempted to collect the proceeds from those policies. however, beneficiaries have
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found it difficult to collect on these policies. because the paperwork had often been left behind or destroyed during the genocide. to remedy this and justice, american insurance regulators, european insurance companies, the state of israel, and jewish and survivor organizations in 1998, established by check. it is ich eic. the international commission on holocaust era insurance claims. the mandate very interesting was twofold. first i checked and identified holocaust victims. who purchase the insurance policies and second, i checked would administer the repayment of those payments using relaxed standards of proof. so the claimants who lacked documentation or face other barriers to repayment could
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still receive some measure of justice. i checked actually facilitated the payment of over $300 million to almost 48000 holocaust survivors. there heirs and the families of holocaust victims i checked paid an additional 1,609,000,000 towards humanitarian programs benefiting holocaust survivors. all of this was done at no cost to the claimants. to maximize the amount of compensation that went to survivors and eras of victims. the i checked process here is the rub ended in 2007 and since then, some european insurance have continued to play claims voluntarily and the new york state insurance department has helped process the claims of individuals who missed icheic
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deadline the state department on president clinton mr. chairman, bush and obama, argued in court that i check was the exclusive process for resolving your coast era insurance claims several jewish and survivors groups including the american gathering of jewish holocaust survivors and the international also supported icheic and the ongoing new york state process as the best way to resolve those claims. the question before us today, is both of the icheic process and the ability to submit newly discovered claims to the new york state department of financial services works. some of the witnesses on our panel, argue that new legislation is necessary. so i very much thank you for
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calling this hearing. i think it's a very interesting issue and need to be interesting what happens. so thank you. >> i am glad i defer to you, that made perfect sense. thank you very much. senator scott, we will to the community and i look forward to hearing from you. >> good morning and thank you for holding this important hearing today. let's we will david normal son, the president of the holocaust survivors in florida. when he was born in czechoslovakia in 1920 and was sent to auschwitz in 1924. dave and i'm grateful you could join us here today to testify on this important topic. so we can make sure there holocaust survivors like yourselves, receive the help you need absolutely deserve. pq also to the entire panel of witnesses who appear today and for all of those who work to make sure we honor the memory of millions of holocaust victims and that we do everything in our power to support of survivors
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and their families. folic acid is more than history lesson. it is the stark reminder that evil and hate exists in this world. as governor of florida, when he took a stand against discrimination and prohibited state agencies and local governments from contacting the company his boycotting israel. because israel should never be a partisan issue. as us senator i will continue to support israel and take action against those who should do those on. i memory of all of those who suffered was never we can. every generation must heed the call to action in face of evil. this is the holocaust enduring lesson have been kind. thank you for the opportunity to be here. >> thank you very much senator scott. you have come to me several times about the importance of the hearing and i'm glad we are able to get a schedule and appreciate your passion. the harvard feelies.
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>> come forward please. >> back ground noises. [background sounds] great. so thank you all for coming and we have on our panel today, mr. barrett weevil, congressional research. to get that right. loophole. they will. congressional research service. you say your name sir. testing. normal scene. okay thank you. holocaust survivors of miami
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florida. director newly your state financial. mr. stewart, former us investor as special advisor and holocaust issues that the us department. and will start with here. >> mr. chairman. thank you for having me here today. my name is baron, i'm a specialist in financial services at the congressional research service. just for members of the audience who might not be familiar with the irs, we are division of the library of congress. our role is to provide objective, nonpartisan research and analysis to congress and it takes no position on the desirability of any specific policy or advocate for policy outcome. i have provided some written testimony with increased detail about the issues that we are
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talking about today and i'd also like to recognize my co-author paul from crs who contributed greatly to the written testimony. my specialty is crs is interested in so i am going to talk start off talking a little bit about pre-world war ii insurance markets and get into the efforts to my comps compensation after the fact. and finish in talking about policy evaluations that are at significant issue today. so pre-world war ii and central and eastern europe interest at that time was not only designed to compensate in the inventive but death of a loved one that had significant asset allocation accumulation properties. policies typically ran for 20 years. at the end of the policy of the person were still alive, they would receive the value at the time. they could have surrender value before hand. so these were very significant assets of the jewish population and further populations in the area.
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there is specific policy by the nazi government to attempt to expropriate these and other assets through the prewar and worktime. post-world war ii, there were aphids particularly in west germany at the time to provide compensation and restitution from people who had suffered after people would have these assets taken from them. these efforts though for many people feel short. and this is especially the case in the eastern part of europe. it was on soviet domination where companies at the nationalized and in some cases private insurance were in most cases didn't exist following the communist takeover. and so, generally recognized that for that part of europe, there was little to no compensation. in the 1980s, the issues came before again on both insurance and in areas like slave labor with bank accounts room a variety of international efforts to address this with icheic being the mode that was chosen
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in the insurance realm. now icheic was very much at individual actualized claims driven process. they attempted to identify potential claimants to seek out claims to adjudicate claims with the reduced standard. and to get resources to pay off those claims or provided primarily from various european companies. the contrasting approach, which has been significant source of the criticism that is, by check, could be seen as sort of a macro top-down approach. to consider how much insurance and assets might've been outstanding, in central and eastern europe at the time it into judge both of or not the icheic process has done a good job in writing and paying off some value of this. as feinstein mentioned, about $300 million have paid in claims by icheic, another hundred
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169 million other compensation and this of course our values from the early part of the two thousands, if if you just sent to the present day, you get a full but higher depending on what rates you use. estimates for the president value of unpaid holocaust insurance claims and your range from approximately 2 billion to about $25 billion in current day values. as an economist, i would say that there are a variety of economic tools that you can use to find in these numbers. but significantly, as you drill down to have the numbers developed, you very quickly come to very normative judgments of with the proper and what to use and what accounts have been paid or unpaid claim in the light. so i can go into greater detail in terms of how some of these numbers are developed if members of the committee are interested. but i think what i probably
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leave on is simply that significant judgment in this in normative judgment and how you do this that the economic tools really only get you so far in determining what the right answer is. and so with that, i will finish my testimony. i look forward to any questions you might have. >> mr. normal scene,. >> my name is david. i was born in czechoslovakia in 1928. my father, was self employed business. selling beer and wine and liquor and cigarettes. the business was part of by the house. in 1944, we were all deported to the ghetto. and then to ostrich and with no
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windows but they put into buckets. one was for a bathroom and was for was for drinking. my parents and my four brothers, my sister, grandfather, and i am the only member of my family to survive. because my time is limited here, i give you my deposition about the hungarian goal train, the case to tell you how i survived. believe me, i was lucky. now let's talk about the insurance. i remember that was on our house, the said it wasn't insurance by generality. the course we have no documents
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for obvious reasons. when we came home, there was nothing left in the house. in 98, we worked out insurance commission the lesson, for a state law to make the companies publish all of the names and allow survivors to go to court. they wouldn't cello. that was when the companies came up with the idea of icheic. because treasure from the states. everyone told us icheic was not binding unless you agreed to a settlement. so with all of those promises, i applied and they say they cannot find my father's name. they sent me a check for thousand dollars as human payment.
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survivors with the idea of payments, instead of the actual note that her parents set aside in case of trouble. so why i was also in shock that the us government took away our right to go to an american court. remember, the contracts, not charity. how would the state and justice department people in this judges feel if they would lose everything and then their own government says they could not even go to an american court. in the government said they couldn't even go to court. like every other american citizen, they wouldn't stand for it. we won't either. i am here to thanks you to change that sadly, you might
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hear from some jewish groups that are against congress passing the law. they are not, i repeat they are not holocaust survivors. they do not represent survivors in any way. i have more bad news. half of the holocaust survivors live in poverty and cannot afford basic necessities of life. even though germany gives more money every year and still not nearly enough. that is not mentioned that our insurance rights have been taken away. most survivors are poor and suffering anyway. besides having from the german ambassador that they would never threaten to read funds firm survivors. because of laws that insurance.
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thousands of survivors suffered and died. in misery over these past 15 years and it was so unnecessary. 25 billion is what the companies go. we believe all politics should be honored in full value and the rest should be used to help survivors in need. that went out action by congress, the insurance companies will be the heirs of the victims of the holocaust. this unacceptable, i am 90 years old. about to turn 91. for the past 30 years i have visited hundreds of classrooms, not only in florida, speaking to students and adults about my experience. i do this for now because i enjoy telling the stories about,
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they are mostly very sad, i do this because i believe that all people have an obligation to become educators of about the holocaust. to remember and to make a personal commitment and do everything they can to never let such atrocities happen again. not to the jewish people and not to anyone else. in amending with, i am more than wheeling to stay after this hearing and talk to anybody as i like to thanks or talk about all of the stories that i told you. thank you very much. >> thank you sir thank you very very much. >> my name is sam devon, counselor to the holocaust.
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we thank you for holding the hearing for members for coming here. this morning i am saddened to report that colleagues, one of the groups founding members passed away over the weekend. alex was a remarkable man. a survivor of the camel, who rebuild his life to earn tim and enemies as a producer of the abc wild world of sports and his retirement, spent countless hours educating schoolchildren and advocating for holocaust survivors. legislation is necessary to restore survivors rights to pursue claims in us courts against global insurers who failed to honor policies they sold to holocaust dems. the supreme court in the second circuit and generality, held that survivor rights were preempted based upon an executive branch quote policy that holocaust survivors, should be limited in their ability to recover unpaid insurance policies. limited to the eye check
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commission. the basis of the policy was press releases in congressional testimony. no treaty and no act of congress and no executive order, with any preemptive effect. as the dissenters of said, this is strong on the supremacy clause. only congress which was excluded from all of the snake cannot restore survivors right and correct the major historic injustice. the about us bake three major arguments. first of the peace. the insurance were promised legal peace if they participated in eye check. this it's not true. number one icheic itself is always understandably voluntary unless the claimant accepted an offer of payment. in the minutes show that. number two, the us government never promised insurance companies for litigation. the executive agreement for jiminy specifically negates the argument the states the united states does not suggest that is policy interest concerning the foundation and themselves provide an independent basis for dismissal of claims. number three, the clinton administration his of senator einstein i like to make sure
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here's what i'm good say because the clinton admin station negotiated that when they went to court. they basically said especially the agreement does not preclude individuals from filing. they're not beneficiary eye check and the clinton administration said that the united states has not undertaken a duty to achieve legal piece for insurance coatings against state litigation and regulations. the second major argument, if on this make is that legislation would undermine negotiations with germany and others first assistance to the survivors. known as ours slain specifically while they should read be able to retain billions of dollars that they owed to jewish customers from contracts to induce germany of all countries, to provide assistance to the holocaust invert customers. it's completely inverted there.
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they explicity rejected it. when he wrote, while we continue to oppose 1746 and any similar bills, germany has never threatened to respond by cutting benefits to survivors and we have no intention to do so in the future. and whatever benefits the opponents claim to have created by destroying survivors insurance rates, the big picture is awful. and it's not disputed that half of all holocaust survivors are living it near poverty and never received anywhere close to the care they need for peace and dignity in their final years. after a decade of incremental healthcare increases, members of the senate on aging, made this statement that evidence before them proved that levels of claims confronts would lead only 25 percent of the current needs of the published survivors. that was in 2014 after a depth decade from doubling in germany overtime. emergency care services it's not
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funding has not increased at all. one of the exhibits we gave you, is the chart that measures what would be the need for an average survivor of 15 hours and 20 hours of $20. in germany provided. the red represents the amount of un- provided care for destitute survivors and it's in the billions every year for the past 15 years. so the regime of giving the insurance companies immunity in order to supposedly provide all these benefits has resulted into tens of thousands of survivors suffering and dying with the care they need. finally let me just a guess. is present near claims processing office is concerned, this is in the exact same argument was made in 2008 when the opponents defeated legislation sponsored by tom months, the only survivor to ever serve in congress. four years after that, new york claims office settled six claims for $70000. and they have never published
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any other information since that. the problem is of course that i check itself was not an appropriate mechanism because it was flawed in many ways. i hope you thanks questions about that because i see my time is running out. but there is a lot of specifics that you need to understand. in addition i would submit that the provided a letter from harry rose, child to german survivors, who found the names on the eye check list of german companies and went to the holocaust in new york and the results are something you need to see because it's not pretty and the bottom line is the holocaust survivor should not be second class citizens on us law and the company should not be immune to pay the money they owe and both of his 2 billion or 25 million which i believe is the correct number that money belongs to the victims and the families and of the rest can go to survivors and needs that would be a great thing for congress to accomplish. diane one thing.
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there are some jewish groups that oppose this legislation. i'm authorized to announce that the jewish federation leaks of north american at they are no longer going to oppose this legislation. that major groups including the simon center, the 1939 society of los angeles, the us sure foundation, the organization of america, and stephen cousin, chairman of us foundation have all submitted letters it was they maintain support for what survivors are trying to achieve. >> good morning. thank you for the opportunity to view. for you today. is that better. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and share my knowledge on the
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important issue of holocaust era insurance claims. as director of the holocaust claims processing office, the unit has been state department of financial services i am pleased to be able to provide insight to our efforts to provide some measure to the painful chapter in world history. for 22 years, the state of new york has been at the forefront of ensuring that just resolution of men's resolved claims for access loss to not seek persecution. 291997, established the hp seo. claim is paid no fees for the services nor to the office take those percentage of the value of the recovery. we try to help alleviate any cost on bureaucratic hardships and trying to pursue claims on their own. since its inception from the office has assisted over 2400 individuals. from 43 states the district of columbia and the 26 countries, and making claims for insurance policies.
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today, the combined total of offers extended to h cpm claimants the most of more than $178 million, $34 million of which is compensation for insurance policies. in response to the conflicts major of the restitution claims of the acp seo applies a four step method. first they undertake historical research to collaborate and conceptualize information specifically regarding the insurance industries in prewar europe. the result of which have shown the journey with the largest prewar insurance market in continental europe, also had the most comprehensive compensation programs. in contrast, poland, the country with the largest number of victims of nazi persecution, played a relatively minor role in the industry. realistic expectations of what health policy specific information can be found, in both archives and company records, must take this backdrop into account. since 1998, hundreds of thousands of potential policyholder names, for both company records and public archives have been published online.
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the office uses this information in conjunction with research and domestic international public and private archives to obtain documentary evidence. this is proving critical to resolving claims. second, the they determine to file a claim. many of present day company or process is responsible for the policy in question. for claims for policies issued by companies still in existence, finding the appropriate successor is relatively straight orbit. over others, determining the successor is more complex. indeed in many cases there is no present-day successor. third, relying on relaxed standards of proof claims are submitted to all available venues. on these commonly accepted evidentiary standards, which are not astringent as is generally imposed by courts, a claim cannot be rejected on the grounds that the claimant lacks complete documentary evidence. implementation of international agreements, the hc pio transferred thousands of claims to a variety of processes.
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in march 2007, with a closing of ichiek, its member companies as well as members of the german associations, reiterated their commitment to continue to review and process claims and write checks relaxed standards of proof. in addition, companies generally continue to apply standards off of they are no longer obligated to do so since the closing of my check. the hp seo continues to deal with directly with the insurance company to successfully resolve outstanding claims. the fourth and final step in the hc pio process, involves evaluating decisions to ensure that they adhere to agreed-upon processing guidelines. like the missing property research for, no two claims are alike. each requires conscientious individual attention and painstaking efforts. a task greatly helped by increased archive and library copy operation in the company his continued willingness to review claims. restitution can be difficult. however they have successfully brought closer to victims and
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their heirs. hep has approach to claims resolution choses it is possible to retain assets lost in the e era. no cost to claimants. in closing, permit me to suggest that as we strive to achieve our common goals to settle claims for holocaust era assets, as sensibly and as quickly as possible, it behooves us all to manage claimants expectations and not raise an exaggerated sense of what might be accomplished through litigation. thank you again for the opportunity to discuss the hc pio. i would be happy to address any questions you may have. >> german graham. thank you for holding the hearing and your continued interest in the welfare of survivors. i am testifying in my personal capacity today. i would thanks that a full statement be made part of the record. from further providing justice
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from families of victims and preserving the memory and lessons of the holocaust for succeeding generations, has been a central part of my life for four us administrations. and beyond in my voluntary negotiations for the jewish claims confronts. i played a central role in the creation of the us holocaust memorial museum during the carter administration. and the clinton administration i negotiated $8 billion of recoveries. first west, and french account slave and enforced labors and german and austrian companies. restitution of nazi through the washington principles on not nazi art negotiated over 40 countries. the return of communal and real property. the payment of insurance policies. and most recently the deportation of jews in the french growing. in my work, with claims confronts, we then increase monthly tensions worldwide when
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i started in 2009, there were 34 million euros. this coming year, 500 million euros. we have now provided 247 home care coverage didn't exist before. we've covered up new program for child survivors. beef dramatically increased tensions. none of this is enough but it is dramatic. my patient for justice and memory holocaust. man may express in negotiating and for the ministration major international agreements. this leaves me to say to you respectively. any legislation similar to what was considered last year, which would provide a cause of action against european insurance companies in us courts for holocaust policies, would have potentially catastrophic negative effects. first in unprecedented ways it would undermine legally binding
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national executive agreements and going back almost 20 years. with german and austrian governments and with their private companies. ending with the german companies there were a thousand german companies who participated in the payment of 10 billion euros 5 billion dollars. these have been in place again for almost 20 years. in return, for these large payments from both germany and some $800 million from austria, the companies were given what we call legal fees. these agreements for each for some of the toughest most renowned cause action lawyers all over the country. i've agreed to dismiss their suits in return for the payment of 10 billion deutschmark his $5 billion in settlements. and with holocaust survivor groups as well. we did not remove the right to sue.
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we could not. what we did say and what we have done, is that if suits were brought, contrary to these agreements, the us government would initiate a statement of interest staying that it had been and was and is in the national security interest of the united states to resolve claims in a nonlitigation context. the us supreme court in the ca case, and judge michael mackenzie, later attorney general on president bush. in the general holy case. both indicated that these were appropriate uses of presidential authority and indeed the generality case dealt precisely with the insurance issue. imagine the chaos of allowing new suits on these circumstances. second, it would complicate future holocaust negotiation since the word of the us
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government could not be trusted and believe me, there are still many things that need to be done in the holocaust era. art in many property issues as well. imagine how the credibility of the united states would be affected when on the just act of two properly passed which requires the state department in november, to give a report card on health all the countries of the declaration and negotiated with 46 countries. and we are judging them on both of they have met their obligations. and here we would be withdrawing from international obligations that we reached. third, any legislation would be contract to long-standing bag patterson policy to reserve and resolve holocaust related claims by the narrow litigation. negotiating claims processes that went out the cost supports the lawyers and with
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dramatically lower burdens of proof than any federal court would require. it would lead to beneficiaries holocaust era insurance policies to a cruel fate. the pursuing lengthy costly and almost certainly prove list litigation. the claim is facing high standards of proof in federal courts. and no legal defenses. instead of using the low levels of proof on the ichiek process. fourth, it would undermine the work of the state insurance commissioners. the 1998, voluntarily took the lead in creating ichiek so long with european insurers jewish organizations, the state of israel, all of whom were members and that leadership of ichiek and many of you know, i'm sure senator graham, you must have with larry larry eagle berger.
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larry tirelessly worked as the head of ichiek for ten years. it was strongly supported by secretary set state madam albright. and deputy secretary of state richard in the bush administration. i can assure you, larry eagle berger is as tough as anyone possible. when he would not have ever permitted european insurers to fall the wool over his eyes. by the time icheic closed its doors in 2007, its insurance companies paid $306 million to 48000 victims. they used relaxed standards of proof lower than any you escort would demand. please understand half of the claims did not even have the name of the insurance company because the documents didn't exist. they were able to match over 16000 claims they had no names of insurance companies through a very tedious process.
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and when they couldn't find any evidence, they ended up making humanitarian payments as will. there is no court anywhere that would accept this low burden of proof. their work was overseeing not just by larry. provided all of the member organizations of a check and including esteemed individuals like the former bank for the state of israel, the holocaust survivor. who specifically involved himself in the valuation of an interest insurance policies. the health cost survivor groups and the american insurance commissioners closely reviewed the european procedures on the individual claims. offer their own reports. >> mr. messer, leonid rev up. >> fine the claims deadline was extended six times. for the last, congress has held
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eight hearings, this is the ninth. at a time, it is decided not to go forward with legislation for many of the reasons i mentioned. the legislation was also in the face of opposition from every american jewish organization and from major holocaust survivor organizations. the american gathering of jewish survivors, the world jewish federation of child survivors, committee, and many more. i do have suggestions of what this committee could do. constructively. require european insurance doing business here to submit periodic reports to the us government. on the claims processing post icheic to make sure they are combating with the promise to continue to resolve claims with these low standards of assurance. in addition, they could look at why if any claims were resolved our weekly denied, why those
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were done. they can memorialize and 519,000 names of potential holocaust survivors so that they finney future claims can be brought, can be brought on these lower standards and they can use anise group, and the grief covered on procedures that no court would ever allow to be done. thank you very much. >> thank you. if you look at the number, the pot of money for a lack of better way of staying it. all of the people that paid in to the insurance system before the nazis destroyed the system, and some are between 2,000,000,025,000,000,000. is that what you are staying. twenty-five billion. >> a lot of the money is paid out before the war. because part of it was.
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>> how much was taken. >> but you have is estimates for the unpaid value of the assets. some between i think you can legitimately say between two and 25 billion dollars. >> we do combine new york in this international system is recovered less than 500 million, is that right. >> i would boost that. that number is from ten plus years ago. sofi just for the time period, you would probably get to around 700 to 800. >> taking the most generous number of ten billion and not 25 billion. the current system is basically recaptured less than half. is that correct.
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>> that is the most generous temp interpretation. >> it's not working for my.of view. if you believe there is up to 25 billion dollars of uncompensated claims owed. in the current system is generated 700 million, then somebody needs to look at something else. >> i would add that when they talk about the particular holistic argument that they didn't want to disappoint survivors, if they lose in court. we respectfully disagree. those who survive, and the other leaders of the organization, who represents out thousands of survivors around the country, they should not be treated like children and they shouldn't be lectured to about disappointment. >> how do you respond to my observation that whatever process we have in place, did the claims route, that the money
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recovered is woefully inadequate given the pot of money available. >> i just agree respectfully. no one knows precisely with the number is. but let me give you this figure okay. germany has paid. >> you'd disagree with the 225. >> thus the total sum, we don't of them are of jewish people who had insurance. no one knows. i know the total european and senator, please, germany had the largest percentage of insured for 2 percent of the whole european market. jews were less than half of 1 percent. poland had three and half million jews and almost no insurance. germany has paid on its own, 80
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million dollars since the end of the war. a significant part of that was for insurance policies not counted in these. thank assets and the like, in the 50s and 60s, the dutch and french and the germans had their own insurance payments. so we do accumulate all of those costs the ichiek process, plus what's happened post icheic and you get a very substantial number. but the fact is no one can give you including crs they say that, an accurate figure of what number of victims had insurance and how large this policies were and if we subject those claimants to a court procedure, 20 years of agreement, >> is the disconnect here between the numbers when he has given me and i don't know what percentage of germany was jewish, that paid into an insurance system, i
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don't know if there was no insurance in poland, and go through every other nation do not see occupation people were denied not only their art in their houses and everything else, now talking about insurance, but i find it hard to believe that 700 million dollars. >> the 25 billion is the estimate of the jewish policies. not all of germany. this kite were two for icheic. when he went into the records of european insurance. >> how did when he arrive at that number? >> the jewish population was known. and based on the data, they applied the propensity. that was unanimously accepted by ichiek. all of the academics on all of the people are staying. >> i don't need to go over with the ichiek proved evaluated pot of money to be 25 billion.
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>> they evaluated the money to be estimated on worth about 600 million unpaid at the end of the war for jews. they never actually put a value on that what mr. zell about did, due yeah let's use a 30 year bond yield is the multiplier. is very conservative. no insurance co. whatever you accept that. based upon that, in 2007 when i should finish, the 600 million paid in 193800 north so much more money. and today it's worth 25 million. >> we shouldn't be loose with the facts. icheic never accepted a 25 billion dollar evaluation. they did their own report. the commission on report by mr. ron wright who was a north dakota insurance commissioner. they got nowhere near that. >> will figure that out.
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>> mr. dubin, it is my understanding that even though icheic process is, beneficiaries can still pursue claims through the new york state department of financial services. do you know of those that have done this. >> yes, i do. i can give you one example harry rose. for miami. when he is the child of two. when he went on to the ichiek website in 2011, and so the name of his mother and his grandparents as having had german policies. by 2011, a check was close. so when he went to the new york claims processing office. the latest names appeared on the ichiek website from germany, was that the german association germany got special permission to do their own thing and icheic. instead of having the company his publisher names, feel of the german insurance association to
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filter them and publish them on the website. so the german association is the one who knows how the names got on the website so when the apply to the new york processing department was said they read shift to germany into the wealth and all of that and it took four months and then they went to the german association who claimed they had no idea both of names came from. there they sit with the name there in the first place. so the problem with processing office at the same problem with icheic. there is no authority and no subpoena of power there is no compulsion. the companies can do with they want and mr. rose, his parents and his mother could come from the well life that they had insurance. if there was no way to enforce the companies to complain. so the remedy to this is what. >> legislation and validating the state laws requiring the combination of polish names, which the indicates. >> so that it is no requirement that the names have to be published. >> is all voluntary.
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25 percent of german names is all that was published in eastern europe. when he is the guy who did the research into the industry. so even though they were names that were published and even though people who found their families names on that list, were denied claims by ichiek. i've got a long list of cases that i can show you including one of your constituents larry leavy. his great-grandparents were from italy. they headed general policy and though many escaped, the great-grandparents of the business and they stayed. they were hidden in a conflict and they were betrayed and they went to auschwitz. this story is in the package i give you. there is a policy that was enforced yet that policy never appeared on the ichiek website. never. data research on the family went and dug it out and demanded the generality produce information of filing they admitted that yes there was a policy in the name of the great-grandmother. there was even published. so all these so-called wonderful elements icheic, while insulting
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them in the payment of 3 percent of the money. because it's was conceptually arid >> so what are you suggesting. legislation that would validate publication and names. a new federal cause of action allowing survivors and errors to bring in new claimant to court. sort of model on the iranian terrorism model where when congress in the course get around, congress can come in and fix it. and a ten year period of time in order for the victims of getting access to the information to bring those claims. and believe me, to talk about long theories of time, when the stills passes and the companies know that they're going to have to pay the attorney fees are the other side, 6 percent compounded interest in all that, they're going to cooperate cooperate and settle. it will be a completely different world. today immunity is one word that they just keep getting pushed around and disrespected. >> i would thanks you to put the request of the specifically what
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you know asking for in writing. send it to this committee. so that we might look at it. >> is basically the bill you cosponsored in 2011 with senator nelson and senator rubio with a couple of minor minor changes but i will if i might, that draft legislation is what we are seeking. >> thank you. >> center may i respond to pit senator feinstein. >> says that conclusion on my check. the german companies paid hundred and 30 claims. as generality in itself is paid almost 500 worth 12 million dollars. if the committee wishes, it certainly can require the publication of all of the lists and it can have hearings about why individual cases were not resolved. on relax and respect for goodness sakes don't rip off an international or to international agreements.
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>> yes of course. you have the right to do it. yes we do. >> but the supreme court has resolved it. >> i am very familiar with the facts. soon thank you mr. chairman. >> miserable, but steps were taken to ensure that the eye checks decisions were fair and unbiased. when he talked about the process and how you arrived. >> i can talk about the evaluation process and the steps that went into the specifics of generating the economic numbers. in terms of actual claims processing, would probably have to defer it to some of the other members of this panel. >> when he would talk a little bit about the process that you observed. >> sure in terms of the overall economic state commission specific report. led by insurance commissions for north dakota. basically walk-through made
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estimates essentially only we need to do to estimate essentially how much of the asset value of this in insurance might be outstanding. that includes the percentage of the jewish population in the amount of insurance outstanding the perfect density of the jewish population current values as of. and so they did not publish an official ichiek number for this. we do talk about this range between two and 2.5, the ichiek numbers in the range that they put out the current day numbers was somewhere between 1.5 and to about four to 4.5. in order to get to 25, basically what you know significantly doing is to some degree re- adjudicating the german compensation postwar. so you know reevaluating and policies that were compensated
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in german scheme postwar and staying essentially those policies were not enough. >> so we have the north dakota insurance commissioner, right, and the french that were involved in this process. where other stakeholders involved in scrutinizing. >> this was basically a report that was done by the ichiek commission. so my thank you. do you believe that the ichiek paid a fair amount in their some fibers and policy for lawyers. >> i really have no basis to make that judgment. >> anything could be made to the current new york process. >> i'm not familiar enough with the new york process. i would differ. >> mr. dubin, thoughts again going back to what you recommending to congress,. >> my recommendation is that the company should come clean. and it should be a compulsory process because voluntary process of icheic, was a disaster.
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i can give you a lot of other examples. for example they claimed that they had on us. all the audits did was determine both of or not the companies did what they said they were going to do. every single one was qualified with the following statement. our opinion it's not in any way to guarantee to the conduct of the insurer in respect to any particular insurance policy or claim thereon any time any particular circumstance. we talked about relaxed standard of proof. that did not occur in fact icheic with greater burdens on survivors than the courts would. generality was allowed to deny claims if they said that those policies were not in their system in 1936. as they said they agonized their system in 1936 and now they acknowledge the policies have been sold. now in a court in the state of florida in most states, where policy is established, the burden is on the insurer to prove what happened to it. icheic and to live that burden and literally put the burden on
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the survivors to disprove that the insurance companies that all that i check allowed them to make. this former superintendent of new york, when he resigned because when he was said when he was told to deny claims when people could not produce documentation and so that was the emphasis is liberal standards approved. therefore recommendation is a lot that forces the companies to produce and forces them to be accountable in the us legal system and believe me, as i quoted before it's not violating any agreements. it is just giving survivors rights that they should've had all so long. >> understand survivors and family should go through this new york process. with the state of new york. then would be reasonable that brother state to also go through other states. your recommendation would be to.
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>> respectfully but they did in new york was an effective. they simply had to accept whatever the company say. that's a good example of what happened when mr. rose. i was fascinated to see what was going to happen when he may this claim. you've got the documents here in these books. it was delayed delays delays and excuses than at the end the gdp put the names of the list in the first place, said we don't know where the games came from. site months later, rose's mom was alive at the time, and was unable to validate to her that they were going to get compensated for that. but there were policies with the mothers and grandparents names on it in the companies if that law passed, the companies would have to publish that information and then we could get to the bottom of it. >> so it's who's processing and more emphasis on changing the process. >> of establishing legal requirements and accountability with there be actual accounting to be ability. no one is supervising her, estate statement by new york
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that this process for waiting for claims and asking them to be made, it wasn't working. that was in the new york. >> thank you for your input. >> mr. donovan, supreme court in that 2003 ruling that the clinton administration support for the commission preempted california effort to improve claims transparency. the dissent however emphasized that no clear declaration pre- exception existed. some argue that congress should be concerned about the supreme court's interpretation about preemption in that case. do you agree. >> i agree. the preemption decision was unprecedented.
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>> anybody else on the panel but not necessarily all of you and those who want to add to it. does anyone else want to add to preemption and both of the supreme court got it right or strong. >> i had one thing. we obtained normalcy to the justice department for documents relating to the insurance issue. they provided documents and wanted some of them were memorandum which were also included in this packet. about how they should respond to the second circuit and in response to the generality case. these justice department are very intelligent and there also very right in with the absorbed at the time was even in cases with the united states has filed a statement of interest, there was considerable tension between the position of foreign policy requires dismissal of an action in the express recognition of the foundation agreement that the agreement itself does not
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provide an independent basis for dismissal. if they supported generality anyway. >> you asked others in the panel. >> first of all it's not only the supreme court. by majority. when he said this was the proper use of executive order. it was also in a separate case by judge mckay see, later attorney general or president bush. in the general quality case said the exact same thing. going back to 1799, the us has always had executive agreements to resolve claims. and these have always been upheld as an appropriate use of presidential authority. hi test the fight many times before congress like 12 times. on these very agreements. they were supported by large majorities. in many others, on both sides of the house and senate, we were
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applauded for negotiating these agreements. when going to court would've been so indefeasibly difficult. so the supreme court was right, judgment case when he was right and going back to the beginning of this republic, presidents had the authority to negotiate these kinds of agreements. that is not really true. >> it's not really true. in those days there was sovereign immunity and people could see those foreign governments. the us government then basically collected those claims and then made executive agreements of people could get some compensation. in the days with the iranian hostage situation, they said there was some congressional authority to do that and only the emergent same thing the hostages out of iran really justified assignment of claims by the us government in that case. but the mini court, said that
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what is missing here is congress and congress has every right to come in and change this if it disagrees with the outcome of that decision. that is the final line of the case. >> anyone it was to comment on from the commission indicates a total of distribution of 300 million and 31000 claimants at a 48000. received payments and were offered a one time humanitarian payment of $1000 to congress be satisfied or concerned with majors of justice and why. >> i can tell you from this mr mr. what is being said and my experience of survivors. the receive of the $1000 check that said this is the humanitarian payment because we think you have some kind of a story. that was an insult to holocaust survivors. this basically calling them liars. and to now include those 34000
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$1000 checks in the gross amount of compensation that i checked provided, is the misdirection. it's a ruse because it paid 14000 claims in a played 3400 340001000 dollar payments. those were not settlements on insurance. >> the claimants who receive these payments, did not complain. there it's not been any mass complaint that they were mass complaints. more than half the cases they didn't even know the names of the insurance companies. in high checked through very exhaustive research was able to match up over 16000 names. it's only the thousand dollar payments came when there was no ability to name. when there was no documentation. >> is the corrected name defamation leak was withdrawn.
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>> when he authorized me to say yes, not objecting to the legislation. >> that's news to us. they have said on the letter last year. >> gotcha. senator holly. >> can you just walk me through the standards of proof that the commission that the insurance companies generally require to approve a claim and what you think of the appropriateness of the standards. >> you mean in the ichiek process. yes according to the little bit of data that exists, and mostly what we have is people who were denied. we have boats of people, survivor of the ss lewis, his father told him before when he died that when he had insurance with aliens. mr. hollander asked for that policy after the war and was told it had already been paid out. when he applied to ichiek. his dad his name is on the list
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in about ten of his aunts and uncles were on the list. icheic told him that they had already paid his father that the policy they could not give him information about his as apples and most when he could give them the names and birth dates of his as apples. when he was 12 years old. that's what icheic demanded. they didn't send him any documents. after icheic close, german embassy provided mr. calling her with some information including the repayment repurchase document. was david dated november 9th 1938. that was the day his father was taken to pocomoke. that's the kind of treatment the survivors scott and icheic. >> i just want to make a clarification. while the name of my office had processed, we do not adjudicate claims. when we say process, we act as a facilitator and i gather caterers to claimants.
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we don't actually settle the claim ourselves or make decisions on the particular case. we act as a voice claimants. we do research for them and try to find as much documentation for them and instantiating their claims. we help them with genealogy research. to help them explain their family connection to an insured for example. i just wanted to clarify that aspect of our office. and if i may interject something about the relaxed standards of proof, companies don't require that you provide policy information. they will take those letter from 19304 that says i remember we do bought this policy. and they will investigate within their own records for any evidence of the policy and they will make payments on policies when they don't specific details of the policies and just say a record that the policy was purchased even when they don't have the date of purchase for
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these values of the purchase policies. they can still make a claim. i'd be happy to submit additional information about what relaxed standards entails. >> if a private right of action were to be created, would be better interview to leave this to state law to determine or should there be a single national standard interview. >> a single national right of access. in the legislation that we are proposing, would provide the rule of decision with either the state law the farm or a federal general common law. which is like when they are using in the net iranian terror litigation. >> the state law is obviously the decision will vary. >> the plaintiff would have the option. they would have the right to use that if it might be more favorable. >> there has to be a federal statute to reopen the right of access to courts. >> finally, we thanks you this,
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thank you for appearing here today. i'm just wondering if there is anything else you feel congress and this committee need to understand about the challenges that holocaust survivors and their descendents face and vindicating their insurance claims and receiving their due compensation. >> not only me. all the people that i dealt with. they come to the idea with most of them. it hurts us then and it still hurts us today. my friend was an opposer name korea, when he came home and when he couldn't go to an american court. i passed the thing but i became
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a father. they took away our rights. to go to an american court. let me just say one thing. the gentleman mentioned that germany gave a big increase. so i want to tell the senate had something to do that because i came to a gal and she worked with me and since she just went to the state. told her that she had to do one more thing passed a resolution in congress that germany it's not doing what they promised that they would do. and she said how about the two senators. senator nelson, and senator rubio. so i talked to them and the senator will tell you that a
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past unanimous in both houses. and we got the biggest increase from germany then then we got in all of these years. >> thank you all we've just been informed any defamation leak is still opposes legislations of the information provided it's not correct. >> we just got an e-mail if you want to follow up on it. >> that's different than what we told us and what the president told mr. greenberg. >> we will find all about that. all in on this. tell me about the process where the companies are not required to disclose. what is your biggest problem there. over that again please. >> they only publish the names they wanted to so as a result that the information provided. >> is voluntary, or the names. what do you suggest we change that. >> stabilizes companies to publish the names of the policy
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holders. >> and also you will said that the burden has been shifted in the claims processes. >> for example with generally claims, argued that database in 1936, was complete and that any claim policy that wasn't on the database had been paid or lapsed or something like that. so icheic accepted that. as a basis for family claims. so if you didn't have a family name on the list, but there was generally a policy, the burden is on the insurer. labs or payment, they didn't have to do that. >> give me an example of the case where they were seeing the family had been paid but it was on. >> earp, a survivor, on the ssa
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when they were sent back to europe. his parents and sister were sent to the place. when he knew when he had not only is policy. all when he is acknowledged there had been a policy we need asked that after the work. there was a token payment from germany. but it had nothing to do with the fact that when he was on only is. so then when he applied to icheic when icheic up and up 2050 are players later. icheic said that your dad was paid. but they did it probably fight him with any documents. what can when he do. when he had no documents and even though there was an ichiek process, when he had no basis to appeal because when he had to take that at base value. we later got documents because the different survivor organizations said making a little bit of trouble for people, the german embassy got the documents. there is a so-called repayment document that says that on november 9th 1938, his dad cash in the policy.
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when he was taken to buchenwald that day. the odds that when he was stopped and the way to buchenwald to cash in his policy is preposterous. >> the family have the money or zero. >> they would not be able to access that money. >> thank you very much. would take this on advisement and see what we can do. thank you very much. [background sounds] [background sounds]
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