In Bordeaux, as elsewhere in New Aquitaine, small and large restaurants have been closed since containment. - UGO AMEZ / SIPA

Christian Durocher, a Girondin restaurateur who thought he was covered by his insurer in the event of an "epidemic", attacked Axa on Tuesday in summary proceedings before the Commercial Court of Bordeaux after the group's refusal to compensate him for losses related to the Covid-19 crisis.

The owner of the restaurant Chez Aldo, beach of Petit Nice, in Pyla-sur-Mer, had taken out an extension of the guarantee for losses following an administrative closure due in particular to a "contagious disease" or an "epidemic" . While it was to reopen in early April, when the tourist season began, it remained closed, as everywhere in the country.

The restaurateur accuses Axa of playing on words

Christian Durocher then asked for 30,000 euros in compensation from his insurer to cover two months of deadweight losses. Cold shower, because Axa refuses by opposing an exclusion clause in the contract: “I received a cynical letter from Axa which said that we were not covered, it is total contempt. "The insurance giant stresses that" operating losses are excluded from the guarantee when at the date of closure, at least one other establishment (...) is the subject (...) administrative closure for an identical cause ”, in the same department.

The restaurateur accuses his insurer of playing on words. For Me François Drageon, his lawyer, who has summoned Axa for interim measures (emergency procedure), this "clause has the effect of voiding the guarantee of its substance". "If the epidemic was to happen only in my house, then it had to be written! But an epidemic is general! ", He argued before the consular judges.

Operating losses estimated at 60 billion euros

On the contrary, the clause is "very clear," swept Axa's lawyer Pascal Ormen. "What we cover is the closure of the establishment, but not when all the establishments are closed at the same time, otherwise it would amount to covering the systemic risk," he argued at the hearing. And yes, "an epidemic can be measured on the scale of an establishment", he underlined by citing the case of legionellosis in a Clud Med.

Axa said on Tuesday that it had received "less than a dozen assignments by professionals who disagreed with the non-compensation decisions". For its part, in mid-April, the French insurance federation said it was unable to reimburse the operating losses of companies linked to the coronavirus epidemic, then estimated at 60 billion euros.

Read our file on the Covid-19

The decision will be made on June 23, after another expected in Lyon, Wednesday, in a similar case. Pending a hearing on the merits, Me François Drageon claims, him, a provision covering the loss of the net margin of the restaurateur.


Deconfinement: Between restaurateurs and insurers, the showdown around compensation is launched


Coronavirus: Court rules in favor of restaurateur against Axa, who refused to compensate his losses

  • Deconfinement
  • Covid 19
  • Society
  • Coronavirus