American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396, 13 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

had joined the ICHEIC, "with a view to publishing as comprehensive a list as possible of holders of insurance policies issued by German companies who may have been Holocaust victims," id., at L-147. Those efforts, which control release of information in ways that respect German privacy laws limiting publication of business records, have resulted in the recent release of the names of over 360,000 Holocaust victims owning life insurance policies issued by German insurers. See Treaster, Holocaust List Is Unsealed by Insurers, N. Y. Times, Apr. 29, 2003, section A, p. 26, col. 6.

The German Foundation pact has served as a model for similar agreements with Austria and France,3 and the United States Government continues to pursue comparable agreements with other countries. Reply Brief for Petitioners 6, n. 2.


While these international efforts were underway, California's Department of Insurance began its own enquiry into the issue of unpaid claims under Nazi-era insurance policies, prompting state legislation designed to force payment by defaulting insurers. In 1998, the state legislature made it an

3 Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of France Concerning Payments for Certain Losses Suffered During World War II, Jan. 18, 2001, 2001 WL 416465; Agreement between the Austrian Federal Government and the Government of the United States of America Concerning the Austrian Fund "Reconciliation, Peace and Cooperation," 40 Int'l Legal Materials 523 (2001); Agreement Relating to the Agreement of October 24, 2000, Concerning the Austrian Fund "Reconciliation, Peace and Cooperation," Jan. 23, 2001, 2001 WL 935261, Annex A, 2(n). Though the French agreement does not address insurance, the agreement with Austria does. Austria agreed to devote a $25 million fund for payment of claims processed according to the ICHEIC's procedures. See ibid. Austria also agreed to "make the lists of Holocaust era policy holders publicly accessible, to the extent available." Ibid. The United States Government agreed, in turn, that the settlement fund should be viewed as "the exclusive . . . forum" for the resolution of Holocaust-era claims asserted against the Austrian Government or Austrian companies. 40 Int'l Legal Materials, at 524.

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