Since the confinement, many restaurateurs have asked their insurer Axa for compensation for having had to close their establishment.

Faced with the latter's refusal, some have taken their case to court to win their case.

Europe 1 carried out the investigation into these files which is based on a supposed vagueness in insurance contracts.  

There are the high-profile lawsuits and the more confidential out-of-court settlements.

Since the end of confinement, many restaurateurs have found their insurer in court: they are asking for compensation for the months of administrative closure suffered because of the coronavirus.

Many were insured against an epidemic but not against a pandemic.

However, some won their case, while others were dismissed by the courts.

While this Wednesday five new cases go before a Parisian judge, and 28 at the Bordeaux prosecutor's office on Friday, Europe 1 has decided to investigate these cases. 

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An economic argument for Axa ...

According to our information, Axa has concluded transactions in nearly 1,700 cases, out of 15,000 of the same type.

Specific cases which included, according to the plaintiffs lawyers, a vagueness on the conditions of compensation.

But these transactions represent only 10% of all cases that could pose a problem.

If a restaurant is forced to close by administrative decision it must be able to be compensated, unless another restaurant in the same department closes its doors for the same reasons: Axa only covers internal epidemics, such as contagion with salmonella, for example. example. 

"We cannot cover the pandemic risk, because it would be too important financially", explains at the microphone of Europe 1 Eric Lemaire, spokesperson for the insurer, according to whom "the losses of operations would represent 20 billion d 'euros per month in reimbursement. "

A situation that "many insurers could not handle."


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... but a vagueness in contracts for restaurateurs

An economic argument that has already hit the mark, since Axa has already won cases with this line of defense.

But this does not always work: on several occasions, the insurer has been ordered to reimburse restaurateurs.

Decisions which give hope to Fran├žois Drageon, lawyer for 28 restaurateurs awaiting judgment in Bordeaux, and which also make him say that the contracts are fine and very vague, contrary to what Axa assures.

"If Axa had wanted to limit his risk, it was necessary to say 'we guarantee epidemics except pandemic phenomenon' but it is not written. So, he cannot say that it is an uninsurable risk", explains- he at the microphone of Europe 1. Before letting go: "it's easy to rewrite the contracts once they have been signed and paid."

It is therefore on this vagueness that the restaurateurs intend to play in order to win their case, just like the Association des Caterers de France, which recently decided to take action against Axa.