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U.S. Department of State

Department Stuart E. Eizenstat, Under Secretary
for Economic, Business,and Agricultural Affairs,
U.S. Department of State

Remarks to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, New York City, September 14, 1998
(as read by J. D. Bindanagel, Director of the Washington Conference
on Holocaust-era Assets, U.S. Department of State)

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[It is my pleasure to bring to you greetings and remarks from Under Secretary Eizenstat who is on his way to Tokyo and thus could not be here today to address personally this very important meeting of the NAIC. He asked me to read the statement he would have given.]

We at the U.S. Department of State share fully the goals of the NAIC, the World Jewish Congress, the Claims Conference, and the insurers who have come together to resolve issues surrounding Holocaust-era insurance claims. We have been working closely with the leadership of the NAIC -- including Glenn Pomeroy, Neil Levin, and others -- for the past several months to facilitate the Association's efforts to join forces and resolve Holocaust-era insurance claims, most recently at the Prague Seminar on insurance.

We at the U.S. Department of State have been involved in Holocaust-era insurance issues since the fall of 1997. We have been impressed with the cooperative spirit with which all the participants have approached this critical issue.

I note in this regard that Glenn Pomeroy and Neil Levin have worked tirelessly, selflessly, and professionally to create a cooperative, non-confrontational international process that brings together all the parties.

We appreciate the willingness of the insurance companies and the survivor organizations to work together to research the history of Holocaust-era insurance claims, to compensate promptly Holocaust survivors whose policies were not paid, and to provide assistance to survivors in need.

Together, you have established a constructive approach for dealing with this very complex and sensitive issue. We look forward to continuing to work with you in this important endeavor.

We hope that such cooperative efforts will help bring some closure to one of the great tragedies of the 20th century -- the terrible legacy of the Holocaust. This is yet another historical effort, as we prepare to close the 20th century, to try to rectify the mistakes of the past and to provide some measure of belated justice to Holocaust victims, survivors, and their heirs. The NAIC's efforts have been instrumental in helping to achieve this noble objective.

Thanks to the efforts and leadership of J. D. Bindenagel, we, along with the NAIC and others, had a very successful discussion of Holocaust-era insurance issues in Prague last week among participants who had never come together before to address the remaining injustices from unresolved insurance claims. We have encouraged the governments of central and eastern Europe to cooperate with the NAIC's efforts.

I wish to praise the work of the NAIC Task Force, especially your president, Glenn Pomeroy, and New York Commissioner Neil Levin, as well as other insurance commissioners from the NAIC and their staff.

We in the Department of State recognize the regulatory responsibilities of the state insurance commissioners and support the NAIC's leadership in creating an international commission with European insurance regulators and private insurance companies as an excellent way to resolve these issues. We support the cooperative efforts among European and American insurance regulators, insurance companies, survivor organizations, and governments to resolve Holocaust-era insurance claims.

We believe that the success of cooperative efforts such as the Prague Seminar will help make it possible to achieve results that can form an important part of the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, beginning on November 30th. The Washington Conference will focus significantly on the issue of insurance. We hope it will illuminate the issues involved and help point the way to solutions. The participation of the NAIC will be critical in making the conference a success.

[End of Document]

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