SW Legal studies in Business

Holocaust Era Claims Against Insurance Company Must Go To International Commission
Description

Appeals court held that when the President agreed to allow an international commission to handle claims made against companies that failed to make good on insurance policies that should have covered losses related to the Holocaust, the commission became the exclusive remedy for claims against the companies.

Topic International Law
Key Words

Holocaust Victims; Insurance; Claims; Public Policy

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Plaintiffs are beneficiaries of insurance policies purchased by their ancestors from Assicurazioni Generali, an Italian insurance company that operated in Europe before the Holocaust. Plaintiffs sued for breach of the insurance contracts, based on Generali's refusal to pay benefits under the policies. Due to certain agreements after World War II, such suit could not be filed for many years. In 2000, the U.S. agreed with Germany to establish a foundation that would compensate certain victims who suffered losses at the hands of the Germans during the war. Whenever a German company was sued in U.S. court, based on a Holocaust-era claim, the U.S. government would inform the court that the matter should be referred to the foundation (International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims; ICHEIC) as the exclusive forum and remedy for the resolution of all such claims arising from the Nazi era. France and Austria adopted a similar agreement with Germany, but there was no agreement with Italy. Plaintiffs sued the Italian-based Generali in U.S. court. The district court dismissed the suit; claimants appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The laws supporting the litigation of the plaintiffs' benefits claims were preempted by executive branch policy favoring resolution of claims by the ICHEIC. Hence, the district court was correct to deny the claims. Although Italy was not a party to the agreement with Germany, the U.S. had determined that all such claims filed in the U.S. would be subject to ICHEIC resolution as the exclusive remedy.

Citation In re Assicurazioni Generali, S.P.A.,---F.3d--- (2010 WL 143415, 2nd Cir., 2010)

Back to International Law Listings

©1997-2010  SW Legal Studies in Business. All Rights Reserved.