(a) (1)The department shall develop and implement a coordinated approach to gather, review, and analyze the archives of insurers and other archives and records, using onsite teams and the oversight committee, to provide for research and investigation into insurance policies, unpaid insurance claims, and related matters of victims of the Holocaust or of the Nazi-controlled German government or its allies, and the beneficiaries and heirs of those victims, and for losses arising from the activities of the Nazi-controlled German government or its allies for insurance policies issued before and during World War II by insurers who have affiliates or subsidiaries authorized to do business in California. Information compiled shall
be placed in a centralized database for the retention of policy and claimant data, and the data shall be used to implement this section and Section 790.15.
(2) The department has an affirmative duty to play an independent role in representing the interests of Holocaust survivors where necessary, including the duty to carry out research, investigations, and advocacy. The department shall cooperate with, participate in, promote coordination with, and to the extent feasible and consistent with the purposes of this section, work jointly with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the international commission on Holocaust survivor claims or any other entity involved in the documentation, resolution, settlement, or distribution of insurance claims, including the documentation of unpaid claims and the distribution of proceeds, and the establishment and maintenance of a database to contain information relevant to claimants and
documents and historical information. The department shall work to recover information and records that will strengthen the claims of California residents.
(3) The department shall employ insurance archaeologists, economists, attorneys, accountants, and other specialists, in this country and in Europe, to implement this section. The department shall work jointly with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and other organizations for this purpose. The department’s cooperation with other states shall be for the purpose of advancing survivors’ claims while avoiding duplication of efforts, and shall be dependent upon contributions by other states.
(4) In order to ensure that Holocaust survivors receive the most aggressive and independent representation possible in pursuit of their historic claims, in contracting with accounting firms, law firms, economists, or others to
implement this section, the department shall, to the maximum extent possible, avoid any potential or actual conflict of interest by doing the following:
(A) Seek and give preference to firms that are entirely free of any associations with firms representing insurers and nations from which Holocaust survivors are seeking just treatment of their claims.
(B) If the department finds that it is necessary to contract with a firm or firms that have conflicts or potential conflicts of interest, those conflicts or potential conflicts of interest shall be disclosed to the commissioner, and the following requirements shall apply:
(i) The contract shall contain a provision that expresses a formal commitment on the part of the firm to aggressively pursue a maximum just settlement for Holocaust survivors and their families without
regard to any adverse impacts on insurers, affiliates of insurers, nations, or others that may have employed the firm or affiliates of the firm that is contracting with the commissioner to assist in carrying out the commissioner’s responsibilities under this section.
(ii) If any conflict or potential conflict exists between the firm, or an affiliate of the firm, and an insurer, an affiliate of an insurer, a nation or others directly or indirectly involving Holocaust claims, the firm shall disclose both the fact of the conflict or potential conflict, and all relevant information describing the nature of the conflict or potential conflict.
(iii)If a conflict or potential conflict exists between the firm, or an affiliate of the firm, and an insurer, an affiliate of an insurer, a nation, or others that does not directly or indirectly involve Holocaust claims, the firm shall disclose
the fact of the conflict or potential conflict and identify the source of the conflict or potential conflict, but need not describe the particular circumstances or facts that create the conflict or potential conflict.
(C) The department may take whatever special measures it deems necessary to avoid either the appearance or the reality of conflicts that may undermine public confidence in the integrity of the effort to secure justice for Holocaust survivors.
(b) The funding of the activities provided for by this section for the 1998–99 fiscal year shall be from funds transferred pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1523 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which funds are hereby appropriated to the commissioner for that purpose. The commissioner shall seek reimbursement of those funds as provided in subdivision (c).
Funding for subsequent
fiscal years shall be subject to the Budget Act and based on a plan submitted by the commissioner to the Legislature outlining the plan for reimbursement of expenses of the department by affected insurers.
Funds made available to implement this section shall be used to develop and implement a coordinated approach to gather, review, and analyze the archives of affected insurance groups, and other archives and records, using onsite teams and the oversight committee. These funds shall also be used to fund the necessary expenses of the Holocaust Era Insurance Claims Oversight Committee established in subdivision (d). The information compiled shall be placed in a centralized database for the retention of policy and claimant data, and that data shall be used by the department to implement this section.
(c) (1)Any funds recovered by the department for the purpose of reimbursing the
state for costs associated with investigation and enforcement actions under this section shall not be deposited in the Insurance Fund, but instead shall be delivered to the Controller for deposit into the General Fund.
(2) To the maximum extent possible, the department shall seek reimbursement for its costs incurred in implementing this section, including funds transferred pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1523 of the Code of Civil Procedure, from any settlements reached with affected insurers.
(d) (1)There is established a seven-member Holocaust Era Insurance Claims Oversight Committee, that shall be known as the oversight committee, and whose members shall be appointed as follows:
(A) Four members shall be appointed by the Governor.
(B) One member shall be appointed by the President pro Tempore of the Senate.
(C) One member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
(D) One member shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Insurance.
(2) The Governor shall designate one of his or her appointees as the chairperson of the committee.
(3) Each member of the committee shall serve at the pleasure of the authority that appointed him or her to serve on the committee.
(4) The oversight committee shall be composed of qualified individuals with experience in Holocaust claims cases, similar investigations, archival research, and international law. The oversight committee shall also include Holocaust survivors.
No member of the oversight committee shall have a potential or actual conflict of interest, or shall be employed by a person who has a potential or actual conflict of interest.
(5) The appointments shall be expedited because of the urgency due to survivors’ needs.
(6) The oversight committee shall have the following authority and shall do all of the following:
(A) Review and make recommendations concerning any insurance settlement negotiation or offer relating to a Holocaust era insurance claim in which the department is involved.
(B) Review and make recommendations to the commissioner on the priorities for expenditure of funds and use of resources by the department for Holocaust era insurance claims-related activities.
(C) Recommend whether a proposed settlement of a Holocaust era insurance claim submitted to the committee pursuant to paragraph (7) is equitable before the department finalizes the settlement agreement.
(7) The commissioner, in the event of a proposed settlement of any policy or group of policies relating to Holocaust era insurance claims, shall confer with the committee prior to the department finalizing the settlement agreement. The department may not finalize a proposed settlement of a Holocaust era insurance claim unless the committee, pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (6), recommends that the proposed settlement is equitable.