Insurance payout on Armenian deaths

Financial Times,, UK
Oct 14 2005

Insurance payout on Armenian deaths
By John Thornhill in Paris

Axa, the French insurance group, is to pay $17m to compensate the
descendants of victims of the Armenian killings of 1915.

The agreement follows a lengthy class action suit pursued by Armenian
groups in the US state of California.

Under the terms of the agreement, Axa will pay $11m (9.2m, £6.3m)
into a fund to compensate the descendants of Armenian victims who had
insurance policies with companies since acquired by the French group.
It has also agreed to pay $3m to Armenian charities based in France,
with another $3m for fees.

Armenian groups hailed the decision as an important step in their
campaign to force Turkey to recognise as genocide the killings of
about 1.5m Armenians during the break-up of the Ottoman empire.
France, home to an Armenian community of more than 400,000 people,
has already done so. A similar legal deal was reached in February
between Armenians and New York Life, with the US insurance group
paying out $20m.

In 1922 the president of the French company wrote to the French
Foreign Ministry acknowledging that most of those policyholders had
been killed by Turkish soldiers.

Armenian groups have strongly opposed Turkey’s accession to the
European Union until it recognises the genocide. But EU leaders
opened accession talks with Turkey this month. Armenians claim up to
1.5m people died in 1915-18. Turkey denies genocide, and admits only
that hundreds of thousands of both Armenians and Turks died, largely
as a result of civil war and famine.

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