The Stichting Individuele Verzekeringsaanspraken Sjoa (Sjoa Foundation For Individual Insurance Claims, hereinafter ‘the Sjoa Foundation’) 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 applications 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 NLG 20 million (€ 9 million) was reserved for this purpose. The Sjoa Foundation will handle applications submitted before 1 January 2010.
The Sjoa Foundation has been handling applications 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.
As the Sjoa Foundation has now reached the halfway point of its existence, it is time to draw up a mid-term review.
The first year was characterised by a great number of submitted applications, particularly after the first Internet list was published. At the time, the secretariat was not prepared for this volume of applications. In the subsequent years the secretariat was expanded and restructured. Staff increased sixfold and clear procedures were introduced to deal with the applications.
Between 2001 and 2004 there was a consistently high number of applications, well over 2000 a year. It was only in 2004 that the number of applications started to drop. For the first time that year more applications were dealt with than were received. This was also because priority had initially been given to the most potentially successful, and therefore most labour-intensive applications. By the end of 2004, these had largely (91%) been settled. In total, 54% of the number of applications was dealt with.
As of 2001 the number of payouts rose sharply. In 2002 and 2003 this also led to a significant increase of the sums paid out. This dropped in 2004, due to the fact that many sums paid out in 2004 related to smaller inheritance shares of policies that had partially been paid out already.
The trend of a decreasing number of submitted applications and an increasing number of settled applications will be brought to a halt in 2005 by the registration of the ICHEIC applications received in the second half of 2004 (see paragraph 7) and the increase in number of applications as a result of the new list of names.
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 2004. During these Board Meetings 303 (2003: 395) reports relating to 603 (2003:713) 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 2004 ten (2003: 7) appeals were lodged of which one was retracted. The Objections Committee made four recommendations of which one was in favour of the applicants and three received a negative ruling. Five appeals are still under consideration.
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 2004 from 5 FTEs to 4.9 FTEs and averaged 5 FTEs over the whole year (2003: 5.1).
The costs of the Foundation are borne by the members of the DAI, who are historically involved in this matter.
This year, 882 (2003: 2,395) applications were submitted, an average of 74 a month.
A total of 12,543 applications had been submitted by the end of 2004.
At the end of 2004 there was still a backlog with regard to entering ICHEIC applications in the regular administration. Some 200 ICHEIC applications still had to be registered. This amounts to approx. 600 regular applications. This means 1480 applications in 2004, approx. 123 a month.
The applications can be divided into three categories:
- Applications that relate to a name on the Internet list with policies that have probably not been paid out (6%);
- Applications that mention an insurance company or a policy number (8%);
- Applications with no information about an insurance company (86%).
The applications received in 2004 can be broken down as follows:
- Category 1: 88 (10%)
- Category 2: 221 (25%)
- Category 3: 573 (65%)
These percentages are distorted as a result of the ICHEIC applications that were not included, which all belong to category 3. When we include the ICHEIC applications, the percentages come to 6%, 15% and 79% for the three respective categories. The increase of applications in category 2 relates to information about policies that emerged during research.
During the first quarter of 2004, applications in categories 1 and 2 were given priority, as these categories are most likely to result in a payment.
From April 2004 on priority was given to applications in category 3.
- In category 1, the percentage of settled applications in 2004 rose from 90% to 91%.
- In category 2, the percentage of settled applications in 2004 rose from 78% to 84%.
- In category 3, the percentage of settled applications in 2004 rose from 36% to 48%.
In 2003 1,852 (2003: 1,609) applications were settled, bringing the total of settled applications to 6,714 (2003: 4,863), or 54% (2003: 42%) of the total.
In 2004, nine lists (2003: 4) containing 1,089 (2003: 1,733) names were sent to the insurance companies for investigation.
In consultation with the companies, it was decided to use smaller lists as this is much easier for them to process.
The applicants (in total 2,682) are mainly from the Netherlands (61%) but also from Israel (17%) and the United States (11%). The percentages are the same as in 2003.
In 2004, a total of 102 (2003: 212) policies were paid out to 1,153 (2002: 1,257) rightful claimants in the amount of € 358,175 (2003: € 957,160). Three payments in arrears were made.
At the end of 2004 a total of 588 policies had been paid out to 3,252 rightful claimants.
The amounts of the payments per individual in 2004 were as follows:
|Onder € 1.000,-||1075|
|€ 1.000,- tot € 5.000,-||64|
|€ 5.000,- tot € 10.000,-||13|
|€ 10.000,- tot € 20.000,-||1|
|€ 20.000,- tot € 30.000,-||0|
|Boven € 30.000,-||0|
The largest payment was € 11,460; the average payment was € 310.
At the end of 2004 a total amount of € 2,607,338 has been paid.
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 agreement on how to handle applications submitted to the ICHEIC concerning 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 2004, 599 (2003: 200) ICHEIC applications were received. Registering these applications 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 application can contain up to three different names (policyholder, insured and beneficiary).
Before these applications are entered in the regular registration, separate files are made and personal details are checked and supplemented where necessary.
The deadline for filing applications with the ICHEIC was 31 December 2003. Application forms already filled in could be handed in until the end of March 2004.
Our Foundation still received a large number of applications in the second half of 2004. At the end of 2004 not all ICHEIC applications had yet been entered in the regular registration. Approx. 200 applications had to be registered.
At the end of 2004 a total of 1,702 ICHEIC applications were received by the Sjoa Foundation, of which 95% were undocumented. Of these, 489 have been fully or partially settled.
- 206 – no information found
- 74 – information about settled policies
- 10 – payments
- 1 – not taken into consideration
- 0 – withdrawals
CHEIC has undertaken to settle all applications by the end of 2005. In 2005, ICHEIC applications will therefore be given priority.
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 that are 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 another 117 unpaid policies.
In 2003 and 2004 the Sjoa Foundation examined names and addresses of policyholders/insured parties supplied by the insurance companies in order to establish their correct identities. In 2004, the Foundation examined the records of one insurance company more closely, in search of information Jewish war policies that had been found.
At the end of December 1,369 new names were put on the Internet list; these related to 1,362 policies. Some people had more than one policy and in a number of cases both the name of the policyholder and the insured person were included.
This was given publicity through a press release and advertisement in the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad (Jewish weekly).
Most of these policies concern so-called volksverzekeringen (industrial insurances) with an insured value under NLG 500. Often these policies were not included in the restoration of rights and recovery of stolen property.
The Hague, 17 May 2005
|mr. M.R. Wijnholt
|mr. E.J. Numann
|mr. J. de Ruiter