Axa has offered to provide €300m as settlement to cover the business interruption losses of French restaurant owners that were forced to close due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The insurer believes that the cost of the settlement would be offset by favourable Covid-19-linked developments in France and Europe this year.
The latest offer is expected to resolve the dispute between Axa and its restaurant clients, who were particularly hit by the Covid-19 storm and the subsequent lockdown.
Off late, the insurer has been at loggerheads with restaurant owners in France, who sought relief through their policies that covered losses due to “administrative closures” for different reasons.
Axa had previously turned down their claims citing a clause that excluded shutdowns because of a generalised health emergency.
The latest settlement by Axa France will cover 15,000 restaurant owners holding non-damage business interruption insurance.
Open from 21 June until 30 September 2021, the offer is expected to cover 15% of the turnover of the catering activity of the restaurateurs during the lockdown periods.
AXA France CEO Patrick Cohen said: “We regret the misunderstandings with some of our restaurant clients, especially given this sector was particularly hard hit during the sanitary crisis.
“As restaurants are finally allowed to welcome their customers again, we are taking this initiative so that everyone can look to the future and focus on the restart of economic activity.”
Axa called the offer an ‘amicable solution’, aimed at helping everyone to look towards the future in the current uncertain times.
At the same time, the company noted that it “remains convinced by the clarity of the guarantees of the contracts concerned, which do not cover collective administrative closures, as recognised in particular by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal this week”.
The insurer took a €1.5bn hit due to Covid-19 claims in the first half of 2020.