The management policy of the French insurance company AXA has completely changed. General Manager Thomas Buber announced at a press conference that he has decided to pay compensation to all restaurants that have a contract with them, without exception. There are approximately 15,000 restaurants in France.According to the portal, AXA will pay 15% of the lost turnover, totaling approximately 300 million euros, an average of 20,000 euros per restaurant Blue Oyster.
Recall that AXA was the first insurance company in the world to openly clashed with restaurant owners when demanding compensation during the lockdown. AXA’s management subsequently claimed that it was not obliged to pay compensation because there was nothing in the contract it signed with the restaurant saying that they were insured under the lockdown and pandemic. Parisian restaurant owner Stephane Manigold was behind La Maison Rostang, Substance, Contraste and Le Bistrot d’à Côté Flaubert, sued the insurance company and won the dispute. The insurance company defended itself by saying that “restaurants are closed to the public”, which is different from “they have to close their doors.”
However, on May 22, 2020, a Paris court ruled that the restaurant was closed to the public due to a pandemic or any other reason, which means that it has the right to make up for the contractual losses. French restaurants are not the only restaurants facing insurance companies’ refusal to pay compensation. American chef Thomas Keller sued his insurance company for the same reason.
The court ordered AXA to comply with the terms of the contract and pay Manigold two and a half months of insured economic loss compensation (Manigold requires four months). This is a large sum, millions of euros. Many restaurant owners have joined Manigold’s initiative. Their main argument is that after years of insurance payments, they are entitled to compensation, regardless of the pandemic is not the cause stated in the contract, because no one knows what will happen, especially the political decision about the blockade cannot be influenced.
The AXA management rejected all arguments including the court order, but finally concluded that the conflict with the restaurant owner had caused too much damage to the company’s image. The company had a turnover of 97 billion euros and operating profit in the pandemic year. Is 4.3 billion.