GLENDALE–Paul Krekorian–a leading candidate for the California State Assembly–Thursday demanded that California’s Insurance Commissioner investigate the life insurance claims of Californian descendants of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Krekorian said that American companies sold life insurance policies to thousands of Armenia’s prior to the Genocide–but then refused to pay benefits to the heirs of those who were murdered.
"California is home to more descendants of the victims of the Armenian Genocide than anyplace outside Armenia. We have an obligation to the victims of the Genocide to ensure that their heirs receive their rightful benefits," Krekorian said. "Our Insurance Commissioner must use the full power and authority of the State of California to demand that justice is done."
Krekorian noted that a class action lawsuit was recently filed in federal court by American descendants of Genocide victims against New York Life Insurance Company. According to the lawsuit–New York Life had sold 10,000 policies to Armenia’s by 1914–but it refused to pay insurance benefits when those policyholders were murdered in the Genocide because the heirs could not provide death certificates.
Krekorian said that the Insurance Commissioner should investigate whether the State of California should join in the existing litigation–or possibly initiate its own lawsuit.
"No amount of money can ever make up for the torture–starvation–murder and displacement suffered by the victims of the Armenian Genocide. No amount of money can ever make up for the Turkish government’s attempt to destroy a nation of people and then deny their crimes. But awarding these benefits to their rightful owners is one important step toward reconfirming the historical facts of the Genocide–and one important step toward achieving justice for the victims," Krekorian said.
Krekorian asked other Armenian-Americans to join him in demanding that the Insurance Commissioner investigate the claims and pursue justice. He said the community should express their views by writing to Insurance Commissioner Charles Quackenbush–300 Capitol Mall #1500–Sacramento–California 95814–or calling the Insurance Commissioner at (213) 346-6400 or (916) 492-3500.