New York Life Insurance Company wants to help the heirs of about 1,000 Greek life insurance policyholders who bought policies while living in the Ottoman Empire before 1915.
New York Life, New York, will be publishing notices in national and international newspapers about the claims review process so that heirs can submit claims relating to these policies, the company says.
The company says it also will contribute $1 million to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to help the descendants of the many Greek refugees who ended up in the diocese as a result of the upheaval.
The total value of the voluntary program will be at least $12 million, New York Life estimates.
New York Life executives note that the company became aware of the issue while looking into questions surrounding life insurance policies sold to Armenians who died in the Ottoman Empire between 1914 and 1918.
“The company became aware that Greek policyowners were evidently victims of the same violence in the Ottoman Empire,” New York Life spokesman William Werfelman says.
The company has paid benefits to heirs of about 2,300 Armenians policyholders as a result of the review of Ottoman-era claims, Werfelman says.
“We will offer heirs to the Greek policies the same benefits as those provided to persons claiming under the Armenian policies,” Werfelman says.
New York Life believes it paid benefits to beneficiaries of about half of the 2,000 Ottoman Greek policies in effect around 1915, but the company “received no claims and thus paid no benefits or cash value on 1,000 other Greek policies,” Werfelman says.
New York Life will multiply the face amount of a policy by 10 when paying benefits to rightful heirs to the policy proceeds, Werfelman says.
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The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America plans to use the $1 million it will be getting to endow a chair for the study of Hellenism in Pontus and Asia Minor at its Holy Cross Theological Seminary in Brookline, Mass., New York Life says.