H.R.1210 - Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief Act of 2003108th Congress (2003-2004)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Waxman, Henry A. [D-CA-30] (Introduced 03/11/2003)|
|Committees:||House - Financial Services; Government Reform|
|Latest Action:||House - 03/28/2003 Referred to the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises. (All Actions)|
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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. <all>