For Release: March 7, 2000
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CHUCK QUACKENBUSH SUBPOENAS MUNICH RE OFFICIALS TO INVESTIGATE EFFORTS TO RESOLVE HOLOCAUST-ERA INSURANCE CLAIMS
Company Ordered to Appear at Investigatory Hearing
SAN FRANCISCO -- California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush today announced that Munich Reinsurance Company has been served a subpoena directing company officials to appear at an investigatory hearing on March 20, 2000.
"This hearing is the result of continued obfuscation and deliberate foot-dragging on the part of Munich Re. Their refusal to give the Department complete and unfettered access to their policyholder lists is unacceptable and contrary to the stipulation they signed with the Department," said Commissioner Quackenbush.
The subpoena requires the company to send officials who are most knowledgeable of: those policies issued by Munich Re or by any affiliate of
Munich Re; reinsurance agreements which assumed obligations relating to
Holocaust-era insurance policies; the existence and location of records and files; and all analyses prepared by the company regarding liability to Holocaust-era policyholders.
"Munich Re has remained on the sidelines for many months now -- failing to act as they stipulated to in September to provide important policyholder lists, and refusing to join the International Commission," said Commissioner Quackenbush.
"With the eyes of more than 20,000 Holocaust survivors in California on them, Munich Re has had the opportunity to step up and do the right thing. Unfortunately, they’ve selected the path of evasion and excuse-making. The reality is that if they are indeed committed to the moral address of unpaid claims, then they should join the International Commission," said Commissioner Quackenbush. "They also must obey California’s laws. Further, they must adhere to the stipulation that they freely signed last Fall to produce the information on policyholders and Holocaust-era claims processes or we will press forward to enforce all possible sanctions."
On September 21 of last year, Munich Re signed a stipulation with the Department of Insurance, promising to provide all reinsurance treaties and policyholder listings. But, on January 6, 2000 Munich Re flatly denied its obligation to produce actual copies of reinsurance treaties or the Victoria (a Munich Re affiliate) lists.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) has since held two hearings before a DOI Administrative Law Judge and Munich Re has still been unwilling to fulfill the agreements they made with the Commissioner. On February 23, 2000, Administrative Law Judge Michael Jacobs ruled that despite its withdrawal from the State of California, Munich Re is under the jurisdiction of the California Insurance Commissioner.