Holocaust survivors and their descendants have until Wednesday to file insurance claims against European companies that claimants accuse of denying valid policies after the records were destroyed in World War II.
To date, at least 3,483 California residents have filed such claims, according to the California Insurance Department.
The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims was created in 1998 to resolve such claims, and as of Dec. 12 had arranged for offers totaling $47 million in settlements.
California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has urged residents to file claims for "what is rightfully theirs."
After World War II, many European insurance companies refused claimants who did not have death certificates or copies of policies, even though such documents were often impossible to obtain for millions of Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps.
A 1999 state law required any insurer doing business in California to disclose information about policies sold in Europe from 1920 to 1945. Companies that refused could have lost their state licenses. But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the law, ruling 5 to 4 that it improperly interfered with foreign affairs.
Garamendi has been critical of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, calling for its chairman's resignation.
At a U.S. congressional hearing in September, the commission reported spending $56 million while obtaining offers of $35 million in claims payments.
After the filing deadline of Dec. 31, the commission will end its search for claimants and analyze the claims, deciding the validity and settlement of each.
To obtain a claim form, visit www.icheic.org or call the state Insurance Department at (800) 927-HELP.