Vilavi turns the page Jacques Bouthier

Vilavi (ex-Assu 2000) dreams of a calmer future far from Jacques Bouthier. The founder and CEO of the brokerage group, who was indicted and imprisoned in an investigation for “trafficking in human beings” and “rape of minors” in particular, gave way to a new team. Michael Hörr, former brokerage commercial director of Allianz France from 2018 to 2021, has been appointed chairman of the group alongside two managing directors who have been with the group for longer, David Guyonnet and Amir Messadi.

In addition to this new governance, an enlarged management committee, which will bring together the cross-functional directors in charge of finance, human resources or IT around general management, will be set up in November and will be responsible for defining the policy general and corporate strategy.
Interest of SPVie Assurances

In terms of strategy, 2023 will rhyme with a change of shareholder for the group. While Jacques Bouthier, via his family holding company, holds 85% of the capital, a sale process will be well underway at the start of 2023 for a finalization at the end of next year, confirms Michael Hörr. “This sale process is not part of a logic of immediacy linked to economic difficulties, the company is doing well”, defends the new president. The remaining 15% of capital is held by employees.

Already, SPVie Assurances, the fourth wholesale broker in France which posted a turnover of 88 million euros at the end of 2021, has expressed its interest. “The Vilavi group is a nugget of French insurance which (…) must remain French”, affirms Jeremy Sebag, co-founder of the broker. “We also received other expressions of interest. Marrying a personal insurance player would also make it possible to have a good complement, ”explains Michael Hörr.

External ethics committee

This sale would allow Vilavi to turn the page on the Bouthier affair. The group had already changed its name to support the deployment of “an ambitious strategic plan and the complete redefinition of the broker’s raison d’être” in early 2022 after being the victim of a cyberattack in June 2021. If the attack left traces – data encryption for which the group did not pay a ransom -, such as “the loss of 20,000 customers”, he claims that there were no exfiltrations of data and s to be upgraded.

Like this event, Vilavi intends to do better after the Bouthier affair. The audit he had entrusted to Mazars, after testimonies from employees who said they were harassed, “did not reveal any system of organized harassment”, relates Michael Hörr. “We are going beyond that and are in the process of creating an external ethics committee, which will be made up of four personalities including a former director of human resources, a manager of a broker with a subsidiary in Morocco and a magistrate, and who will have full investigative power in the event of an internal alert”, adds the manager.

Access to professional risk insurance

For the moment, the main consequence of the affair is above all the decision of Groupama Paris-Val de Loire, one of its risk carriers with Generali, Allianz, Axa, Swiss Life, to end their relationship “gently” in the course of next year. In 2022, turnover should be lower than the 156 million euros of 2021. With 11 brands in insurance (Assu 2000, Euro-Assurance, etc.) credit (Ab Courtage, etc.) and heritage (Cheval Blanc Patrimoine, etc.), With 550,000 customers and 322 branches, Vilavi relies on the loyalty of its customers by offering products corresponding to the improvement of the risk profile and the conquest by opening up in particular to the insurance of professional risks.

For example, he will launch a cooperation with the broker + simple on the VTC and taxi market, with the hope of gaining a point of growth. “We will add other activities to have other sources of growth,” says Michael Hörr.

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