The French insurance giant Axa has completed a settlement for a long-running case over compensation to relatives of Armenians massacred by forces from the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Under the terms of the agreement, Axa will set up a fund to compensate descendants of victims of the 1915 genocide who had life insurance provided by companies that today form part of Axa.

The relatives brought the case against Axa on the grounds that it had not paid the due premiums on the life policies taken out by Armenians prior to the massacres. The outcome of the class action law suit, which was filed in California, will see Axa pay a total of $17 million to the victims’ fund and Armenian charitable groups.

The suit is the second of its kind. Class counsel Vartkes Yeghiayan, Brian Kabateck and Mark Geragos – all of Armenian descent – are representing Armenian descendants in similar cases. Earlier this year in another class action, New York Life agreed to pay $20 million to descendants of Armenian policyholders killed during the genocide.

This is an example where dead men can’t speak but they can file lawsuits, said Mr Yeghiayan. It writes another chapter about persistence and hope. The resolution of the case helps the healing process.

Axa has yet to comment on the settlement.