NU Online News Service, Sept. 19, 4:58 p.m. – After months of negotiation, an agreement has been reached that will provide a minimum of U.S$275 million for insurance claims against German insurance companies and for humanitarian purposes arising from deaths during World War II.

A total of $100 million will be released for valid insurance claims and $175 million will be released for humanitarian purposes.

The agreement follows negotiations among the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, the German Foundation, Jewish groups, insurance companies and a group of insurance regulators led by Illinois Insurance Director Nat Shapo.

“This agreement allows us to be true to the survivors and fully effectuate commitments made to them. It memorializes that commitment,” says Shapo, who is secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

Other state insurance departments that worked on the agreement include California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

The agreement, which is expected to be signed and become effective in the next few weeks, reflects agreement on two points that had been contentious.

Those points include a decision not to charge companies’ administrative cost for administering claims to funds that would otherwise go to victims, Shapo says.

A second point, he adds, is the creation of a strong administrative process to develop lists to make sure all potential claims can be investigated.

Names will be checked for variations in spelling, and a new list of Jewish residents in Germany during the National Socialist era will be compiled.

Also, the claims deadline, originally set for Sept. 30, has been extended to March 31, 2003.

The agreement also includes provisions to monitor the claims process and creation of a reserve if current funds for reserves prove inadequate.