Coming to terms with the past: Still a task for the German insurance industry and the German insurance law in the 21st century


The article shows that even in the 21st century it is still the task of the German insurance industry and German insurance law to come to terms with their own past during National Socialism. The focus here is particularly on cases in which German insurance companies have enriched themselves with Jewish customers because they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations towards them. On the latter issue an agreement was concluded providing for compensation payments in 2002, when the German insurance companies were faced with class actions of former customers in the USA.
The focus of the work is the misuse of insurance law for discrimination and expropriation of members of the Jewish faith. This subject is examined here on the basis of the insurance law treatment of the Reichspogromnacht in 1938. It is shown that on the one hand there was an abuse of the law through the setting of norms which were in contrary to the basic principles of a state governed by law (Rechtsstaat). E.g. these norms regulated that the insurance claims of members of the Jewish faith from this event were seized by the state.

Purner Stefan