French Insurance Company Agrees to Pay $17 Million to Genocide Heirs

LOS ANGELES–The French Insurance Company Axa has agreed to pay $17 million to descendants of life insurance policyholders who perished during the Armenian genocide.

The unofficial announcement came on October 2 by prominent Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos–one of the attorneys–along with Vartkes Yeghiayan and Brian Kabateck who filed a class action lawsuit in a California federal court against Axa.

Though the judge in the case has not signed the deal–he has agreed to the $17 million settlement.

Geragos made the announcement during a USC Institute of Armenian Studies banquet honoring Federal Judge Dickran Tevrizian who mediated the settlement.

Of the $17 million–up to $11 million will go to the heirs of close to 11,000 life insurance policyholders; $3 million to various Armenian non-profits; and $3 million for attorneys fees. A French-Armenian non-profit will process and pay the claims–and will receive funds leftover after claiman’s are paid.

The Axa settlement follows a similar agreement with New York Life Insurance Company in early 2004. New York Life agreed to pay $20 million which was to be disbursed as follows: Up to $11 million for the heirs of 2,400 life insurance policyholders who perished during the Armenian genocide; $3 million for nine Armenian-American charitable and religious organizations; $2 million for administrative expenses; and $4 million for attorneys fees.

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