The Stichting Individuele Verzekeringsaanspraken Sjoa (Sjoa Foundation For Individual Insurance Claims) originated from the agreement concluded by the Dutch Association of Insurers (DAI) and the Dutch Central Jewish Board (CJO) in November 1999.
The Sjoa Foundation was set up in order to assess and honour requests for payment of Jewish life insurance policies that had not been paid out after the Second World War. The objective is to find out whether people are entitled to a payment. A sum of DFL 20 million was reserved for this purpose. The Sjoa Foundation will handle requests submitted before 1 January 2010.
The Sjoa Foundation has been handling requests since 2000. At that time a list of approximately 750 policyholders/insured persons of unclaimed policies was published on the Internet.
The Sjoa Foundation secretariat researches traceable policies and reports the results to the Board of Directors, which then makes the decisions to allocate payouts to rightful claimants.
In addition, if policy details are unavailable, the Sjoa Foundation sends lists of names to all relevant Dutch life insurance companies associated with the DAI, which then go through their records, as far as they are still available, and report their findings to the Sjoa Foundation.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors comprises:
- Mr. M.R. Wijnholt, LLM., chairman
- Mr. E.J. Numann, LL.M., secretary
- Mr. J. de Ruiter, LL.M., treasurer
The Board of Directors met eight times in 2003. During these Board Meetings 395 reports relating to 713 policies were among the matters discussed.
The Objections Committee comprises:
- Mr. H.L.J. Roelvink, LL.M., chairman
- Mrs. A.S. van Leeuwen, LL.M.
- Mr. F.N. Meijer, LL.M.
- Mrs. M.A. Pach, LL.M.
Mr. W.Th.M. van der Velden is secretary of the Objections Committee and Mr. M.M.H. Timmermans, M.A. substitute secretary.
In 2003 seven appeals were lodged of which one was retracted. The Objections Committee made six recommendations of which two were in favour of the applicants and four received a negative ruling.
A secretariat was set up in 2000 to carry out the activities of the Sjoa Foundation.
The secretariat comprises eight staff members:
- Mr. H.T.C.J. van der Well, project manager
- Mrs. J.T.H.M. Groenewegen, staff member
- Mr. J.M. Bas, researcher
- Mr. H.M. Breedeveld, researcher
- Mr.. D.R.W. Reijerse, LL.M., researcher
- Mrs. M. Schaeffer, M.A., researcher
- Mr. J.A. Schaffers, researcher
- Mr. M.M.H. Timmermans, M.A., researcher
The number of staff dropped in 2003 from 5.6 FTEs to 4.4 FTEs and averaged 5.1 FTEs over the whole year (2002: 5.4).
The DAI bears the Sjoa Foundation’s implementation costs.
2,395 (2002: 2,730) applications were submitted in 2003, an average of 200 a month. A total of 11,661 applications had been submitted by the end of 2003.
The applications can be divided into three categories:
- Requests that relate to a name on the Internet list with policies that have probably not been paid out (6%);
- Requests that mention an insurance company or a policy number (7%);
- Requests with no information about an insurance company (87%).
The applications received in 2003 can be broken down as follows:
- Category 1: 125 (5%)
- Category 2: 312 (13%)
- Category 3: 1,958 (82%)
Requests in categories 1 and 2 were given priority this year, as these categories are most likely to result in a payment.
- In category 1, the percentage of settled requests in 2003 increased from 65% to 90%.
- In category 2, the percentage of settled requests in 2003 increased from 65% to 78%.
- In category 3, the percentage of settled requests in 2003 increased from 31% to 36%.
In 2003, four lists (2002: 2) containing 1,733 (2002: 875) names were sent to the insurance companies for investigation.
The applicants (in total 2,533) come mainly from the Netherlands (61%) but also from Israel (17%) and the United States (11%).
In 2003 1,609 (2002: 967) requests were settled, bringing the total of settled requests to 4,863 (2002: 3,254), or 42% (2002: 35%) of the total.
In 2003, a total of 212 (2002: 177) policies were paid out to 1,259 (2002: 620) rightful claimants in the amount of € 957,160 (2002: € 895,367). Three of these payments were payments in arrears.
The amounts of the payments in 2003 were as follows:
|Onder € 1.000,-||1070|
|€ 1.000,- tot € 5.000,-||157|
|€ 5.000,- tot € 10.000,-||17|
|€ 10.000,- tot €. 20.000,-||9|
|€ 20.000,- tot € 30.000,-||2|
|Boven € 30.000,-||1|
The largest payment was € 117,955; the average payment was € 762.
At the end of 2003 a total of 486 policies had been paid out to 2,098 rightful claimants in the amount of € 2,250,207.51.
The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC), also referred to as the Eagleburger Committee after its chairman, was established in 1998. This Commission is made up of insurance regulators from the United States, representatives of Israeli and Jewish organisations, and insurance companies.
In 2001 the Sjoa Foundation and the ICHEIC reached an agreement about how to handle requests submitted to the ICHEIC which concern Dutch insurance companies. The agreement was that our Foundation would handle all these claims and any payments would take place in accordance with the agreement reached between the Dutch Association of Insurers and the Dutch Central Jewish Board. The ICHEIC’s main requirement was to have a procedure established for lodging objections.
In 2003 some 200 (2002: 300) ICHEIC requests were received. Registering these requests was very labour-intensive as the names and data provided were often wrong, misspelled and/or incomplete. In some cases the connection with the Netherlands was not clear. Each ICHEIC request can contain up to three different names (policyholder, insured and beneficiary).
The deadline for filing requests with the ICHEIC was 31 December 2003. Application forms already filled in could be handed in until the end of March 2004.
At the end of 2003 a total of 1,103 ICHEIC requests were received by the Sjoa Foundation, of which 94% were undocumented.
In 2003 we sent 380 letters containing decisions of the Board of Directors to the ICHEIC with the following results:
- 276 – no information found
- 68 – information about settled policies
- 26 – payments
- 8 – not taken into consideration
- 2 – withdrawals
List of names
In 2003 the Sjoa Foundation worked in close collaboration with Dutch life insurance companies to prepare a supplementary list of names to be published on the Internet relating to policies probably still unpaid.
The audit conducted by Ernst & Young in 2002 on the instructions of the Pensioen- en Verzekeringskamer (the pensions and insurance supervisory board of the Netherlands) identified 117 unpaid policies.
In 2003 the Sjoa Foundation examined names and addresses of policyholders/insured parties supplied by the insurance companies in order to establish their correct identities. The Foundation examined the records of an insurance company more closely, looking for any information on unpaid policies. Some information on as yet unknown Jewish war policies was found, but closer inspection must still determine whether they have been paid out or not.
This process delayed the publication of names on the Internet, which will now take place in 2004. Approximately 1500 new names will be published, mostly related to national insurance policies with insured values under DFL 500. These policies were not often confiscated by the Nazis and therefore did not qualify for restoration of rights.
The Hague, 15 June 2004
|mr. M.R. Wijnholt
|mr. E.J. Numann
|mr. J. de Ruiter