Jewish policyholders who were robbed of their life insurance and funeral insurance policies, can apply to the Stichting Individuele Verzekeringsaanspraken Sjoa (Sjoa Foundation For Individual Insurance Claims, also called SIVS) for five more years. In the past twenty years, the Foundation already paid EUR 8.4 million to them and their survivors. Due to the proven need and the international opinion that the handling of Jewish war claims should not end, the Dutch Association of Insurers has decided to keep ‘the counter ‘open for a longer period of time.
The robbery of life insurance and funeral policies was part of the systematic persecution of the Jewish population by the occupier. After the Jews had to surrender their bank balances, cash and securities to the German ‘robbery bank’ Liro, they also had to give up their insurance policies as of May 1942. Legal redress took place after the war, but not everything was settled. The Dutch Association of Insurers and the Central Jewish Board agreed on an arrangement for this in 1999.
Part of the arrangement was the establishment of a foundation specifically for the settlement of the remaining unpaid life insurance policies. SIVS investigates individual applications of policyholders and their survivors and the independent board of the foundation takes a decision. Currently, 20 years later, the foundation states that about 97 per cent of the applications has been handled. A total of almost 20,500 applications was submitted, more than 14,000 payments were made relating to 2,179 policies of approximately EUR 3,900 per policy. Nevertheless, applications continue to come in. The applications are mainly from the Netherlands (60%), Israel (16%) and the United States (12%).
SIVS works on the basis of a list of names with approximately 2,000 life insurance policies that have probably not been paid. This list is the result of research in the archives of insurance companies. In the years ahead, SIVS will mainly focus on investigating these policies and will add new names to the list where relevant.
Ronny Naftaniel, vice chairman of the Central Jewish Board says: "The way in which the Dutch Association of Insurers has worked to do justice to the survivors of the Jewish policyholders in the Second World War is exemplary and impressive. We are pleased that the Association wants to continue this work in the next five years, certainly considering the applications which are still received and accepted.”
The chairman of SIVS, Ernst Numann, states: “We are allowed to do important and rewarding work. In doing this work, we are constantly aware of the underlying tragedy. The many personal reactions that we receive about our decisions confirm that we execute a special task.”
Despite the fact that SIVS will continue to handle applications for five more years, the foundation requests that people submit possible applications as soon as possible. At this moment, there is still sufficient capacity to handle the applications in a reasonable period of time. People who are interested to know if they may be entitlement to a benefit payment, can visit the website of the foundation. Here is a list with names of insured persons whose policy was probably not (fully) settled. Also our statement regarding the Holocaust insurance claims and the Accountability Act is published.
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