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CONSUMERS: 2002 PRESS RELEASE

For Release: January 16, 2002

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER HARRY W. LOW REMINDS HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND HEIRS OF CLAIM FILING DEADLINE        

SACRAMENTO – California Insurance Commissioner Harry W. Low today reminded California Holocaust survivors and their heirs that time is running out to file insurance claims with the International Holocaust Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC).

"The deadline for filing claims is February 15, 2002. That is just one short month away and I strongly encourage all Californians who think they may be entitled to benefits from a Holocaust-era insurance policy to submit their claims to ICHEIC by that date," said Commissioner Low.

ICHEIC expects that current member insurance companies will submit additional names to the list. In addition, new companies are expected to submit lists as part of the ICHEC process. For claims against such policies that are not currently listed, the claims deadline will be extended. Please check the ICHEIC website (www.icheic.org) or the California Department of Insurance website (www.insurance.ca.gov) or call Rachelle Gunther 415-538-4359 for updates on the extension of the claims deadline for new policyholder names to be added to the lists.

ICHEIC claim forms can be obtained by calling the International Commission toll-free at (800) 957-3203 in the United States or from the ICHEIC website at www.icheic.org or from the Department at 800-927-4357 or 415-538-4359.

To date, ICHEIC has received more than 20,000 claims from the U.S., 4,864 of which are from California. California is home to the most Holocaust survivors in the U.S. after New York.

Commissioner Low said it is essential that potential claimants contact ICHEIC immediately to preserve their rights. ICHEIC requires participating companies to produce available lists of Holocaust-era policyholders. Low said such lists are still being produced by ICHEIC companies and additional lists are expected should an agreement be reached with the non-ICHEIC companies through the German Foundation. ICHEIC has posted thousands of names on its website and continues to update its lists as more names become available.

"Lists are essential to an effective claims process. Companies must continue to produce available names of Holocaust-era policyholders and ICHEIC must honor any claims that result from such lists," Commissioner Low added.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in cooperation with several European insurance companies, European regulators, representatives of several Jewish organizations, and the State of Israel, established ICHEIC in 1998 to develop a just claims process for unpaid insurance policies issued to victims of the Holocaust. ICHEIC established a two-year window for the filing of claims, as well as relaxed standards of proof to provide claims payments without full documentation. Provisions are also in place to provide benefits for those with claims against companies no longer in existence or companies that were nationalized under communism.

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