Collective action launched to recover “operating losses” from insurance companies


A restaurant closed during the period of confinement, here in Paris. — Jacques Witt/SIPA

  • Since the beginning of the containment, many professionals have been trying to get compensation from their insurance companies for their operating losses.
  • The collective action platform MysmartCab created in Toulouse is launching an action to force insurers to grant the applications of professionals.

David Gerson runs two restaurants in the Blagnac airport area and, like everyone else, he had to stay closed for two months due to
Coronavirus. So on Wednesday, when his insurer called him to tell him he was going to make a gesture of solidarity, he could have jumped for joy. But the amount left him stunned.

“I have one of my establishments that has a turnover of 600,000 euros. The insurance company explained to me that the gesture of solidarity for this restaurant would be 500 euros and 280 euros for the other. That’s the reality, it’s appalling,” the businessman said.

In order to force his insurer to take charge of his “operating losses” as part of his contract, he decided to take part in the collective action launched by a group of lawyers, including Toulouse’s Christophe Lèguevaques.

“Today we find that a number of insurance companies treat their policyholders badly. Through the collective action we are launching, we want to show that the union is strength, that insurance companies have a good interest in negotiating with professionals to compensate for their losses related to the health crisis of Covid-19 if they do not want to be attacked in court,” argues the lawyer who has already embarked on this kind of procedure for Linky counters, Chlordécone or the
Levothyrox via platform

Before starting any proceedings, this time he prefers to install a balance of power to push the companies to negotiate. For according to him, there are thousands in this situation, in Occitania and elsewhere. Every professional who decides to commit, whether he is a restaurateur, osteopath, gym manager or even in the event, will have his insurance contracts deciphered and the amount of his potential compensation calculated in exchange for fees ranging from 90 to 400 euros.

Small facing the giants

“We will then make a transactional proposal to the companies in September, if they refuse to launch a collective procedure. Because if Michelin-starred chefs with a name can attack insurance companies and pay legal fees, it’s often harder for small restaurants that find themselves alone in front of a giant,” argues Christophe Lèguevaques.

This fight against insurance, he is not the only one to have engaged him. A Parisian restaurateur won a first victory against Axa, which refused to compensate for its losses related to the health crisis. A judgment in reference that will have to be confirmed on the merits.

The Toulouse lawyer, for his part, has another asset up his sleeve. If this does not work on the insurers’ side, he will turn to the state to urge him to declare a state of natural disaster, against which the companies would find it difficult to go. “This decree is based on a natural phenomenon, the virus is one, an abnormal intensity and consequences not necessarily insurable. In the light of the case law, the government cannot kick in the touch,” says Christophe Lèguevaques.

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