After a nationwide wave of lawsuits against insurers unwilling to pay, the Munich district court has awarded a complainant innkeeper the required amount in the millions for the first time.
Accordingly, the defendant insurance chamber has to pay the costs of 30 days of corona-related business closure to the leaseholder of the Munich Augustinerkeller, exactly 1.014 million euros.
Shortly before the so-called shutdown in March, the landlord, Christan Vogler, had taken out a company closure policy to protect himself against the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
Nevertheless, the insurance chamber does not want to pay because, in the company's opinion, the protection only applies to diseases and pathogens that are expressly mentioned in the contract.
Covid-19 is not one of them.
The court sees it differently: closings according to the Infection Protection Act are secured in the contract, said the presiding judge Susanne Laufenberg.
According to the judgment, whether or not Covid-19 is explicitly mentioned does not matter.
The responsibility for generally understandable contracts therefore lies with the insurer: "We are of the opinion that one cannot expect a policyholder to be familiar with the Infection Protection Act," said Laufenberg.
Insurance Chamber wants to appeal
But the decision is not final, the losing insurance chamber does not want to admit defeat: "After the written reasons for the judgment are available, we will carefully deal with them and use the possibilities of appeal," said the company.
Hundreds of similar lawsuits against several insurance companies are pending in the courts across Germany, including the market leader Allianz.
According to Vogler, the consequence of the Munich decision could be a second wave of lawsuits: Many landlords did not have the money to afford a lawsuit, said Vogler.
"We have now done preparatory work for them."
Many restaurateurs are threatened in their existence.
"Now finally there is a judge who says: What you are doing is wrong."