Paris This is a decision that could have serious consequences for the legal assessment of the lockdown: Stéphane Manigold, a French operator of four restaurants, won against the insurer Axa in a case before the Paris Commercial Court.
The judge, in an interim order, asked the company to pay Manigold 45,000 euros in compensation for operating losses due to the state closure of all restaurants on March 14. An expert should measure the exact amount of the damage. Axa, on the other hand, wants to appeal.
Manigold had been trying to get Axa to meet his policy claims for two months. He has insured himself against operational losses due to a state-ordered closure of his restaurants. Axa offers this protection.
Nevertheless, the insurer refused to compensate the restaurant operator. To put it mildly, the reasoning is subtle: the French lockdown is not a closure of the restaurants. Rather, the state merely prohibited bars, cafes and restaurants from welcoming the public.
Manigold indicated that the effect was the same. The government has always said that restaurants should be closed to the public. The judge decided on Friday for the entrepreneur. “I am relieved that insurers have to stand by their obligations in this situation,” responded Manigold.
Insurance wants to appeal
However, the last word has not yet been spoken: “This decision is only provisional and made in a hurry.” Axa announced in a communiqué. One would appeal. Manigold had a specific contract, the content of which gave different interpretations. “In dialogue with our customers, we strive to find an amicable solution whenever the goodwill of both sides allows it,” continues Axa.
In the case of the restaurateur Manigold, the “friendly solution” offered by Axa was, however, the non-reimbursement of the losses, which is why the entrepreneur went to court. If Manigold wins the main proceedings, this could have significant financial consequences for Axa and other insurers, as a large number of restaurant operators have policies comparable to those of Manigold.
A French newspaper quotes an unspecified representative of the insurance industry who claims: “We will continue the legal proceedings, if necessary until the plaintiffs go bankrupt, then no reimbursement will be necessary.”
More: The corona crisis could cost the insurance industry more than $ 200 billion.