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Consumers asked to boycot Transamerica

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Posted by tonyb on December 14, 1999 at 14:04:17:


NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The World Jewish Congress is planning to launch a boycott this week
against Transamerica insurance company because the firm's Dutch parent, Aegon NV, has refused to join
a panel probing the claims of Holocaust survivors, a source close to the issue said on Monday.

The WJC is planning to ask U.S. consumers to cancel their policies with San Francisco-based
Transamerica because of Aegon's failure to join the International Commission on Holocaust-Era
Insurance Claims. The panel is investigating claims that Europe's insurers robbed Holocaust survivors by
refusing to pay their policies after the Second World War.

Aegon , the world's seventh biggest insurer when measured in assets, has said on several occasions it
was willing to join the international commission, provided it received an understanding that it already had
paid all known claims. ``(But) they have not given us any firm commitment,'' said the source, who declined
to be named.

Aegon in July spent $10 billion to buy San Francisco-based Transamerica. The acquisition left it
vulnerable to U.S. sanctions that might be imposed by five state insurance regulators who serve on the
international commission. The Dutch insurance giant, along with other Dutch insurers, controlled 8.1
percent of the market in countries occupied by the Nazis, according to the WJC.

``This is not merely a Dutch problem because the Dutch insurers issued policies in Belgium, France,
Germany and Hungary,'' the WJC said. The Jewish advocacy group plans to launch its boycott by mailing 1
million postcards to its members and running newspaper advertisements. The action is expected to be
launched at midweek, when the international commission meets in London, where plans to announce
that its claims-handling process will begin in January, according to the source.

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