The Annecy commercial court ordered the insurance company Axa to compensate a hotelier-restaurateur for its operating losses linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, an unprecedented decision to date for an establishment of this type.
This is Axa's first conviction on the merits on the basis of a contract applicable to all hotel and restaurant owners, this contract being separate from that applicable to restaurant
owners," Me Quentin Mugnier told AFP on Wednesday. , advice from this hotelier-restaurateur from Les Gets resort (Haute-Savoie).
Read also: The freeze on insurance premiums does not satisfy restaurant owners
By this decision dated December 22, of which AFP obtained a copy, the court ordered Axa to pay a provision of 60,000 euros to the plaintiff while awaiting the final quantification of its operating losses via a legal expertise.
Initially, the insurer refused any compensation, highlighting a clause in the contract stipulating that the operating loss guarantee does not apply if the business interruption affects several establishments in the same region or at the national level.
The judges ruled that this clause should be considered "
an exclusion clause
" but that the insurer had not identified it as such.
An exclusion clause must be clearly visible in the contract, with a presentation in very visible characters, as required by the Insurance Code.
The court therefore ruled this clause null and void and decided that the “
operating loss following administrative closure
This decision “
potentially concerns all hotel and restaurant owners insured by Axa, ie a few thousand contracts on national territory
”, underlined Me Quentin Mugnier.
Axa France has indicated that it wants to "
appeal the judgment of the Annecy commercial court
It will be up to the Court of Appeal of Chambéry to decide,
" said the insurer.
The company adds that it remains "
concerned about the scale of the economic consequences that follow the administrative measures decided by the public authorities and has undertaken, through significant contributions, to support its policyholders as much as possible
Read also: The Covid-19 pandemic is costing Axa dearly
Since the start of the first confinement, many restaurant owners who are customers of the Axa company have taken it to court with contrasting decisions depending on the jurisdiction.
Some courts have condemned it while others have dismissed the plaintiffs.