Coronavirus: insurer Axa ordered to compensate a restaurateur for its losses

Stéphane Manigold, president of the Éclore and Maison Rostang restaurant consortium, poses in front of “Le Bistrot d'à côté Flaubert” after his victory over his insurer Axa, in Paris, May 22, 2020. REUTERS / Christian Hartmann

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In a case that has caused a stir since mid-March and the start of confinement, the Paris Commercial Court ruled on Friday 22 May that the insurer Axa must compensate Stéphane Manigold in connection with the closings due to the coronavirus. Its so-called “business interruption” insurance contract did provide compensation in the event of involuntary administrative closure of one of its establishments. A victory that could become collective.


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French justice has ruled in favor of Stéphane Manigold in the dispute between him and his insurer. Unless ordered otherwise, Axa will therefore have to compensate the restaurateur for its "  operating losses  " linked to the administrative closure of one of its establishments due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is Maison Rostang, in Paris, which has two Michelin stars.

This type of insurance cover must compensate for the loss of turnover and allow the settlement of charges and overheads: taxes and levies, rents, staff compensation, loan interest ... Or about 70,000 euros for two months and a half losses, according to Stéphane Manigold.

A victory certainly in half-tone, since Axa appealed, but which could incite the entrepreneur to take legal action for its three other restaurants and 52 employees, whose overall turnover is close to 6 million euros.

Axa minimizes

The news could also encourage other restaurateurs to mobilize, if their insurance policy allows them to do so. This decision gives hope to all the restaurateurs in France who have the same contract, and who will go to see their insurer,  " Didier Chenet, president of the employers' association of hotel and restaurant independents, told AFP. (GNI), present alongside Mr. Manigold.

Axa has, in any event, downplayed the magnitude of this decision, ruling out any snowball effect on other restaurateurs , even in the event of a final defeat. There would have been no "  debate on the merits  " before the Commercial Court, justified to AFP Eric Le Maire, director of communication for the French branch of Axa. According to him, the court decision "  was taken urgently  ", also noting that the interim decision was by nature only provisional.

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