NU Online News Service, Nov. 5, 2004, 5:03 p.m. EST

A group set up to help consumers file claims involving Holocaust-era insurance policies has made $2.3 million in offers to 128 Holocaust survivors and heirs.[@@]

Most of the potential beneficiaries live in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas and the Czech Republic, according to the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, London.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., established ICHEIC in 1998 together with European insurance companies, European regulators and representatives from Jewish organizations.

Insurers and regulators set up the commission in response to complaints about difficulties related to insurance policies that were in effect in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

Some survivors, beneficiaries and heirs reported having problems with claims on the Holocaust-era insurance policies.

ICHEIC is disbursing the $2.3 million on behalf of European insurance companies that were nationalized or liquidated after World War II and for which there are no present-day successors, according to New York state insurance regulators.

“ICHEIC anticipates that another, larger offer from its humanitarian fund will be made in the spring of 2005 to claimants seeking payment on similar policies,” New York regulators say in a statement about the current $2.3 million round of ICHEIC offers.

New York officials helped spark interest in resolving Holocaust-era claims by setting up a Holocaust Claims Processing Office in 1997.

Some Holocaust survivors and supporters have accused ICHEIC of being slow and inefficient, but ICHEIC defenders have emphasized the difficulty of processing incomplete claims involving insurance policies that are more than 60 years old.