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. Some 1,369 names were added to this list at the end of 2004.
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.
The first year was characterized 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 six fold 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 to an average of 1,500 in the years 2004/2005. 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.
The publication of new names on the Internet in December 2004 led to an increase in the number of applications, but no more new ICHEIC applications were submitted since 2006. (See paragraph 7)
In 2006 and 2007 the number of new applications dropped considerably to a level of 400 – 500 per year.
Since 2001 there has been a rise in the number of payouts and the total sums paid out.
The Board of Directors comprised:
- E.J. Numann, LLM., chairman
- P. Neleman, LL.M., secretary
- J. de Ruiter, LL.M., treasurer
The Board of Directors met seven times in 2007 (2006: 7). During these Board Meetings 209 (2006: 240) reports relating to 489 (2006: 531) policies were among the matters discussed.
The Objections Committee comprises:
- H.L.J. Roelvink, LL.M., chairman
- A.S. van Leeuwen, LL.M.
- F.N. Meijer, LL.M.
- M.A. Pach, LL.M.
W.Th.M. van der Velden is secretary of the Objections Committee and M.M.H. Timmermans, M.A. substitute secretary.
In 2007, five (2006: 7) appeals were lodged with the Objections Committee and settled. Three appeals from 2006 were also settled. Of these eight appeals, there were six settled with a negative ruling and two were settled in favour of the applicant.
A secretariat was set up in 2000 to carry out the activities of the Sjoa Foundation.
The secretariat comprises six staff members:
- H.T.C.J. (Henk) van der Well, project manager
- J.T.H.M. (Josée) Groenewegen, staff member
- J.M. (Matthijs) Bas, researcher
- D.R.W. (David) Reijerse, LL.M., researcher
- J.A. (Jos) Schaffers, M.A., researcher
- M.M.H. (Matthijs) Timmermans, M.A., researcher
Jos Schaffers left as per March, 1, 2007.
The number of staff in 2007 averaged 4.1 FTEs over the whole year (2006 4.7 FTEs).
The costs of the Foundation are borne by the members of the DAI, who are historically involved in this matter.
This year, 435 (2006: 510) applications were submitted, an average of 36 a month.
A total of 15,622 applications had been submitted by the end of 2007.
In this diagram the numbers for the years 2004 and 2005 have been adjusted. At the end of 2004 there was still a backlog with regard to entering ICHEIC applications in the regular administration. Some 200 ICHEIC applications had still to be registered. This registration took place in early 2005.
Presuming that 200 ICHEIC applications are equivalent to approximately 500 regular applications, it can be assumed that the number of applications for the year 2004 was 1,408 (instead of 882) and for 2005 1,608 (instead of 2,134).
The applications can be divided into three categories:
- 1. Applications that relate to a name on the Internet list with policies that have probably not been paid out (10% – 2006: 9%);
- 2. Applications that mention an insurance company or a policy number (9% – 2006: 9%);
- Applications with no information about an insurance company (81% – 2006: 82%).
The applications received in 2007 can be broken down as follows:2007 2006 2005
- Category 1: 151 (35%) 162 (32%) 474 (22%)
- Category 2: 58 (13%) 125 (24%) 212 (10%)
- Category 3: 226 (52%) 223 (44%) 1,448 (68%)
Due to the publication in December 2004 of 1,369 new names on our internet list, the number of applications in category 1 has increased considerably. This effect was particularly noticeable in the first half of 2005, when 87% of the applications in category I was received.
During 2007, applications in categories 1 and 3 were given priority.
- In category 1, the percentage of settled applications in 2006 rose from 67% to 75%.
- In category 2, the percentage of settled applications in 2006 rose from 86% to 90%.
- In category 3, the percentage of settled applications in 2006 rose from 67% to 78%.
In 2007, 1,859 (200: 2,022) applications were settled, bringing the total of settled applications to 12,285 (2006: 10,426), or 79% (2006: 69%) of the total.
An overview of the number of applications received compared to the number of applications settled, after correction for the number of applications still pending from 2004 and 2005, is given below.
In 2007, eight lists (2006: 8) containing 533 (2006: 1,131) names were sent to the insurance companies for investigation.
The applicants (in total 3.001) are mainly from the Netherlands, namely 57% (2005: 57%), but also 18% fromIsrael (2005: 18%) and 13 % from theUnited States (2005: 13%). These percentages are fairly stable.
The amounts of the payments per individual in 2007 were as follows:
|Under € 1,000||709|
|€ 1,000 to € 5,000||66|
|€ 5,000 to € 10,000||8|
|€ 10,000 to €. 20,000||7|
|€ 20,000 to € 30,000||2|
|Over € 30,000||6|
The largest payment was € 125,465; the average payment was € 1,006 (2006: € 654).At the end of 2007 total amount of € 4,927,493 has been paid.
The following pertains to the contribution of the current insurance companies in relation to the number of paid out policies and payments.
The seven main insurance companies and their most significant legal predecessors are:
- Algemeene Friesche Levensverzekering-Maatschappij
- Eerste Nederlandsche Verzekering-Maatschappij op het leven, tegen invaliditeit en ongelukken
- De Olveh van 1879
- N.V. Levensverzekering-Maatschappij
- Nillmij van 1859
- Hollandsche Sociëteit van Levensverzekeringen
- N.V. Amsterdamsche Maatschappij van Levensverzekering (Amstleven)
- Nationaal Spaarfonds
- Utrechtse Levensverzekering Maatschappij N.V
- Hollandsche Algemeene Verzekerings-Bank (HAV Bank)
- Gresham Life Assurance Society Ltd.
- Rotterdamsche Onderlinge Maatschappij van Levensverzekeringen
- De Nederlanden van 1870
- De Oude Haagsche van 1836
- De Nederlandsche Spaarkas
- Nationale Levensverzekering-Bank
- De Nederlanden van 1845
- Rotterdamsche Verzekering Sociëteiten (RVS)
- De Centrale Arbeiders Verzekerings- en Depositobank (which incorporated the Nederlandsche Handelsreizigers Vereeniging N.V. NHRV) Zürich Leven
SNS Reaal, which was responsible for 600 ‘Centrale’ policies on the Internet list published in 2000, still has the largest percentage of paid out policies, but it saw this percentage decrease from 40% in 2005 to 34% in 2006 and 32% in 2007.
Fortis ASR, responsible for about 950 outstanding policies (mostly issued by ‘HAV Bank’) of those on the Internet list published in 2004, saw its percentage increase from 16% in 2005 to 23% in 2006 and 28% in 2007.
In relation to the amounts paid out, we see that Nationale-Nederlanden is responsible for the biggest share, namely 45% (2006: 48%). Their policies were mainly capital sum insurances.
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 was made up of insurance regulators from theUnited States, representatives of Israeli and Jewish organizations, and insurance companies. DAI was a member of ICHEIC.
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 interest factors agreed to by the Dutch Association of Insurers and the Dutch Central Jewish Board.
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. Many took this opportunity and during 2004 almost 600 applications were received by us. 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 were entered in the regular registration, separate files were made and personal details were checked and supplemented where necessary.
At the end of 2004 not all ICHEIC applications had yet been entered in the regular registration. Approximately 200 applications had to be registered. This took place in the beginning of 2005.
Subsequently these applications were given priority and sent to the insurance companies for research. In 2005 all the names relating to ICHEIC applications were sent to the companies.
In 2006 the last eleven ICHEIC applications were received. These were the result oaf a comparison from our registration with that of ICHEIC, and it appeared that these 11 applications were not in our registration.
At the end of 2006 a total of 1,756 ICHEIC applications were received by the Sjoa Foundation, of which 95% were undocumented. At the end of 2007 these applications have all been settled.
In 2007 we sent 20 (2006: 484) letters containing decisions of the Board of Directors to the ICHEIC with the following results:
- 0 – no information found
- 10 – information about settled policies
- 10 – payments
- 0 – not taken into consideration
- 0 – withdrawals
ICHEIC met for the last time on 20 March 2007 in Washington and was dissolved. Only a small staff remained active for a few months to finalise the current affairs.
In that same month a number of members of the House of Representatives of the American Congress, dissatisfied with the results of ICHEIC, introduced a new bill. This bill, called the ‘Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act (H.R. 1746)’, is intended to make it possible to start lawsuits in the USA against insurers. The bill is also aimed at forcing the insurers to publish information about all insurances that were in force between 1933 and 1945. By the end of 2007 this bill was still under consideration by the House of Representatives.
The Hague, 24 April 2008
|J. de Ruiter