Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 845
By: Nixon, Joe


Prior to and during the Holocaust, insurance companies sold policies to
individuals who subsequently became victims of the Holocaust.  Many of
these policies were lost or destroyed and still remain unpaid. Prior to the
77th Legislature, Holocaust survivors and their heirs, successors,
assignees, or beneficiaries attempted to collect on these policies;
however, the limitation period had expired.  House Bill 845 allows an
action to be brought against an insurer to recover on a claim arising out
of an insurance policy issued to a Holocaust victim and provides penalties
for insurers that deny a claim because of the age of the claim. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 845 amends the Insurance Code to authorize a Holocaust victim,
or the heir, beneficiary, assignee, or successor of a Holocaust victim who
resides in this state and has a claim arising out of an insurance policy
purchased or in effect in Europe before 1946 that was delivered, issued for
delivery, or renewed by an insurer to bring an action against an insurer
engaged in the business of insurance in this state to recover on that claim
in a court of competent jurisdiction in this state.  "Holocaust victim"
means a person who was killed or injured, or who lost real or personal
property or financial assets as the result of discriminatory laws,
policies, or actions directed against any discrete group of which the
person was a member during the period of 1920 to 1945, inclusive, in
Germany, areas occupied by Germany, or countries allied with Germany. The
bill prohibits the dismissal of such an action for failure to comply with
any applicable limitations period if the action is brought before December
31, 2012.  Failure by an insurer to comply with such a claim by denying the
claim on the grounds that it was not timely or by asserting a statute of
limitations constitutes a violation.  If the commissioner of insurance
(commissioner) considers it to be necessary, the bill authorizes the
commissioner to initiate an examination.  If the commissioner believes that
a violation by an insurer has occurred or is occurring, the bill authorizes
the commissioner to impose sanctions, issue a cease and desist order,
assess an administrative penalty, or refer the matter to the attorney
general for appropriate enforcement.  


May 28, 2001.