Lockdown losses, in France Axa sentenced to compensate a restaurateur

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Servicethe company appealed

The judges recognized the applicability of a contract clause that provides for compensation in the event of an administrative closure imposed by the police or hygiene services. The company appealed. The decision could pave the way for many compensation claims also in Italy

by Giuseppe Chiellino

(ekaterina_belova – stock.adobe.com)

The judges recognized the applicability of a contract clause that provides for compensation in the event of an administrative closure imposed by the police or hygiene services. The company appealed. The decision could pave the way for many compensation claims also in Italy

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An order issued on the evening of Friday 22 May from Tribunal de Commerce of Paris (RG 2020017022 of 12.5.2020), has established that the insurance company Axa will have to compensate a Parisian businessman, St├ęphane Manigold, owner of four restaurants for the economic damage in terms of operating losses caused by the lockdown due to the pandemic. This is a decision that risks provoking, in France but not only, an avalanche of similar disputes between policyholders and insurance companies.

The operating loss clause

The entrepreneur has requested that his insurance company be sentenced to compensate for the losses suffered during the lockdown, pursuant to a clause of the contract that provides for compensation in the event of an administrative closure imposed by the police or hygiene services.

Axa had refused to pay its policyholder “believing that the French government decree of 14 March, which imposed the closure of public businesses for health reasons, did not constitute an administrative closure decision, contemplated as such by the contract” he explains Annamaria Tripicchio Rogier, Italian-French lawyer registered with the Court of Toulouse and Rome. According to the company, “the risk relating to losses resulting from the pandemic cannot be insured through the private insurance mechanism”.

The motivations of the judges

In giving reason to the Parisian businessman, owner of four restaurants in the French capital, the judges stated that “Axa does not adduce any legal order of public order which mentions the insurmountable nature of a consequence of a pandemic and therefore it was incumbent on Axa to exclude conventionally this risk. Instead, this risk was not excluded from the contract signed between the parties “, the lawyer always explains Tripicchio Rogier. “The ordinance – adds the lawyer – also considered imaginative, and therefore refused, Axa’s thesis that claimed that the application of the administrative closure clause must have as a generating event the preventive realization of an event guaranteed by way of losses ┬╗.

The insurance company was ordered to immediately pay the owner of the restaurants the amount of 45 thousand euros as an advance on the greater compensation that will be assessed by the accounting expert appointed on the basis of the same order.



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