Covid-19: setback for Axa against several restaurateurs

It is a fight of nearly two years that leads several restaurateurs insured with Axa. While the Covid-19 pandemic had cost them dearly, all impacted by the health measures put in place and forced to close, many had nevertheless taken out multi-risk insurance with guarantee for operating losses. But Axa refused to compensate them. From then on, the restorers had taken him to court. In total, 1,500 bosses had gone to court. Finally, at the end of 2021, the insurer had agreed to settle these cases amicably by compensating 15,000 restaurateurs thanks to an envelope of 300 million euros.

But as France Bleu relates, these compensations were sometimes five times lower than the losses observed, which is why some had refused them and decided to go to the end of the legal procedure. According to France Bleu Touraine, six restaurateurs from Tours won their case before the Commercial Court of Tours. The justice recognized the nullity of the cause of exclusion for six of them. But all is not over, and this is only the first round, according to their lawyer, Me Sajjad Hasnaoui-Dufrenne.

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What compensation?

Restaurant owners now want to be compensated for their losses. This “costing of operating losses will be the subject of legal expertise”. But for the lawyer, the recognition of this invalid clause is a victory. “It is indeed a good decision in the sense that the commercial court is telling us today ‘you have been right for two years’. But at the same time, we say to ourselves that it has been two years since Axa should have compensated the restaurateurs of their operating loss and that they did not do it”, retorts the lawyer.

If Axa wants to appeal, it can, but it will still have to compensate the restaurateurs. The six clients would have lost between 20,000 and 300,000 euros. At the end of 2021, another insurer, Crédit Mutuel, had also been ordered to reimburse restaurateurs for operating losses linked to Covid-19. Axa is also at the heart of a case in Gironde where a gardener denounces his practices. The insurer refuses to reimburse the damage caused by the bad weather in June. Already confronted with such a disaster in the past, the insured had nevertheless since taken out multi-risk insurance.

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