Text: H.R.1210 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/11/2003)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1210 Introduced in House (IH)]







108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1210

To provide for the establishment of the Holocaust Insurance Registry by 
 the Archivist of the United States and to require certain disclosures 
               by insurers to the Secretary of Commerce.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 11, 2003

 Mr. Waxman (for himself, Mr. Engel, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Crowley, Mr. 
    Israel, Mr. Dicks, Ms. Watson, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Hastings of 
Florida, Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Owens, Ms. Berkley, Mr. Berman, Mr. Sherman, 
 Mr. Weiner, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Frost, Mrs. Capps, Mr. 
Wexler, Mr. Deutsch, Mrs. Maloney, Mr. Visclosky, Mrs. McCarthy of New 
York, Mr. Towns, Mr. Nadler, Ms. Millender-McDonald, Ms. Slaughter, Mr. 
Case, Mr. McNulty, Ms. Lofgren, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Kucinich, 
    Mr. Schiff, Mr. Farr, Mr. Faleomavaega, Ms. Solis, Mr. Frank of 
Massachusetts, and Mrs. Lowey) introduced the following bill; which was 
referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the 
    Committee on Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently 
   determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such 
 provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide for the establishment of the Holocaust Insurance Registry by 
 the Archivist of the United States and to require certain disclosures 
               by insurers to the Secretary of Commerce.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief 
Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
            (1) The Holocaust, including the murder of 6,000,000 
        European Jews, the systematic destruction of families and 
        communities, and the wholesale theft of their assets, was one 
        of the most tragic crimes in modern history.
            (2) When Holocaust survivors or heirs of Holocaust victims 
        presented claims to insurance companies after World War II, 
        many were rejected because the claimants did not have death 
        certificates or physical possession of policy documents that 
        had been confiscated by the Nazis.
            (3) In many instances, insurance company records are the 
        only proof of the existence of insurance policies belonging to 
        Holocaust victims.
            (4) Holocaust survivors and their descendants have been 
        fighting for decades to persuade insurance companies to settle 
        unpaid insurance claims.
            (5) In 1998, the International Commission on Holocaust Era 
        Insurance Claims (in this section referred to as the 
        ``ICHEIC'') was established by the National Association of 
        Insurance Commissioners in cooperation with several European 
        insurance companies, European regulators, and survivor 
        advocates to expeditiously address the issue of unpaid 
        insurance policies issued to Holocaust victims.
            (6) On July 17, 2000, the United States and Germany signed 
        an Executive Agreement in support of the German Foundation 
        ``Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future'', which 
        designated the ICHEIC to resolve all Holocaust-era insurance 
        policies issued by German companies and their subsidiaries.
            (7) On January 17, 2001, the United States and Austria 
        signed an Executive Agreement, which designated the ICHEIC to 
        resolve all Holocaust-era insurance policies issued by Austrian 
        companies and their subsidiaries.
            (8) More than 5 years after the establishment of ICHEIC, 
        companies holding Holocaust-era insurance policies continue to 
        withhold names on thousands of dormant accounts.
            (9) As of February, 2003, more than 80 percent of the 
        88,000 claims applications filed with the ICHEIC remained 
        unresolved because the claimants could not identify the company 
        holding the policy.
            (10) Insurance companies doing business in the United 
        States have a responsibility to ensure the disclosure of 
        insurance policies of Holocaust victims that they or their 
        related companies may have issued, to facilitate the rapid 
        resolution of questions concerning these policies, and to 
        eliminate the further victimization of policyholders and their 
        families.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide information 
about Holocaust-era insurance policies to Holocaust victims and their 
heirs and beneficiaries to enable them to expeditiously file their 
rightful claims under the policies.

SEC. 3. HOLOCAUST INSURANCE REGISTRY.

    (a) Establishment and Maintenance.--Chapter 21 of title 44, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``Sec. 2119. Holocaust Insurance Registry
    ``(a) Establishment.--The Archivist shall establish and maintain a 
collection of records that shall--
            ``(1) be known as the Holocaust Insurance Registry; and
            ``(2) consist of the information provided to the Archivist 
        under section 5 of the Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief Act 
        of 2003.
    ``(b) Public Accessibility.--The Archivist shall make all such 
information publicly accessible and searchable by means of the Internet 
and by any other means the Archivist deems appropriate.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 21 of title 44, United States Code, is amended by adding at the 
end the following:

``2119. Holocaust Insurance Registry.''.

SEC. 4. FULL DISCLOSURE OF HOLOCAUST-ERA POLICIES BY INSURERS.

    (a) Requirement.--An insurer shall cause to be filed with the 
Secretary of Commerce in accordance with subsection (b) the following 
information:
            (1) The first name, last name, date of birth, and domicile 
        of the policyholder of each covered policy issued by the 
        insurer or a related company of the insurer.
            (2) The name of the entity that issued the covered policy.
            (3) The name of the entity that is responsible for the 
        liabilities of the entity that issued the covered policy.
    (b) Proper Filing.--A filing under subsection (a) shall be made not 
later than the earlier of 90 days after the date of the enactment of 
this Act in an electronic format approved jointly by the Archivist of 
the United States and the Secretary of Commerce.

SEC. 5. PROVISION OF INFORMATION TO ARCHIVIST.

    The Secretary of Commerce shall provide to the Archivist of the 
United States any information filed with the Secretary under section 
4(a) promptly after the filing of such information.

SEC. 6. PENALTY.

    The Secretary of Commerce shall assess a civil penalty of not less 
than $5,000 for each day that an insurer fails to comply with the 
requirements of section 4, as determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 7. USE OF AMOUNTS RECEIVED AS CIVIL PENALTIES.

    To the extent or in the amounts provided in advance in 
appropriation Acts, the Archivist of the United States may use amounts 
received by the Government as civil penalties under section 6 to 
maintain the Holocaust Insurance Registry.

SEC. 8. NOTIFICATION.

    (a) Initial Notification.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
of the enactment of this Act and periodically afterward, the Secretary 
of Commerce shall notify each State's commissioner of insurance of the 
identity of each insurer that has failed to comply with the 
requirements of section 4 or has not satisfied any civil penalty for 
which the insurer is liable under section 6.
    (b) Requests by States.--On request by the commissioner of 
insurance of a State concerning an insurer operating in that State, the 
Secretary of Commerce shall inform the commissioner of insurance 
whether the insurer has failed to comply with the requirements of 
section 4 or has not satisfied any civil penalty for which the insurer 
is liable under section 6.

SEC. 9. STATE HOLOCAUST CLAIMS REPORTING STATUTES.

    (a) Preemption.--Nothing in this Act preempts the right of any 
State to adopt or enforce any State law requiring an insurer to 
disclose information regarding insurance policies that may have been 
confiscated or stolen from victims of Nazi persecution.
    (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that if any 
litigation challenging any State law described in subsection (a) is 
dismissed because the State's commissioner of insurance chooses to rely 
on this Act and therefore no longer seeks to enforce the State law, 
each party should bear its own legal fees and costs.

SEC. 10. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Commissioner of insurance.--The term ``commissioner of 
        insurance'' means the highest ranking officer of a State 
        responsible for regulating insurance.
            (2) Covered policy.--The term ``covered policy'' means any 
        life, dowry, education, or property insurance policy that was--
                    (A) in effect at any time after January 30, 1933, 
                and before December 31, 1945; and
                    (B) issued to a policyholder domiciled in any area 
                of the European Continent that was occupied or 
                controlled by Nazi Germany or by any ally or 
                sympathizer of Nazi Germany at any time during the 
                period described in subparagraph (A).
            (3) Insurer.--The term ``insurer'' means any person engaged 
        in the business of insurance in United States interstate or 
        foreign commerce, if the person or a related company of the 
        person issued a covered policy, regardless of when the related 
        company became a related company of the insurer.
            (4) Related company.--The term ``related company'' means an 
        affiliate, as that term is defined in section 104(g) of the 
        Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
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