Lockdown Insurance Case

Lockdown Insurance Case

Lockdown Insurance Case

Re: the Legality of Insurers not to compensate Businesses for Losses due to the Lockdown Measures


Back to All Cases

Facts of the Case

  • Dates: May 22, 2020
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Court:
  • Case #:
  • Plaintiff: Stéphane Manigold
  • Plaintiff’s Lawyer:
  • Defendant: AXA insurance
  • Trial Type:
  • Judge:
  • Status: Decided
  • Verdict: for the Plaintiff

*updated Feb 6, 2022


Stéphane Manigold, owner of four restaurants (and president of restaurants consortium Eclore) in Paris brought a case against French insurer AXA, France’s biggest insurance group.He filed a lawsuit demanding that AXA cover his operating losses after a government order in mid-March to close bars and restaurants to try to slow the spread of the virus. [1]

AXA has a 13% market share among French craftsmen and merchants. AXA said it only had 200 contracts in its portfolio with French businesses in various sectors that provide business interruption guarantees when there is no physical damage involved. [2]



This case potentially puts the burden of financial loss/ compensation due to the corona measures onto the insurance companies.

It has global significance.


Plaintiff’s Argument

…More information is needed…


Defendant’s Argument

AXA had argued its policy did not cover business disruption caused by the health crisis. [1]

“The vast majority of AXA France contracts for catering professionals provide that a generalized event like the one we are experiencing today cannot bring into play the contractual guarantees,” AXA said in an emailed statement. [1]

Insurers argue that pandemic risk is excluded from operating loss insurance guarantees because it is not insurable. French insurers would otherwise have to compensate 20 billion euros per month for operating losses due to the lockdown, industry estimates show. [2]


Relevant Prior Judgements/ Cases

…More information is needed…



a Paris court ruled that the firm should pay Manigold two months’ worth of revenue losses caused by the virus pandemic. [1]

The court said that the administrative decision to close the restaurant qualified for insurance cover as a business interruption loss. [2]



Defendant’s Response:

AXA said on Tuesday May 22, 2020, it would meet the bulk of business interruption claims from some restaurant owners in France after it lost a court case that was seen as a potential precedent for coronavirus-related disputes across the world. [1]

AXA has said it will appeal the Paris ruling, but Chief Executive Thomas Buberl said on Tuesday the company was seeking an amicable solution and planned to meet the bulk of claims from restaurant owners whose contracts had some ambiguity in them. [1]

“These contracts represent less than 10 per cent out of total contracts with restaurant owners and I am confident that we will find a solution,” Buberl said. [1]

“We want to compensate a substantial part of these contracts, we want to do it quickly.” [1]

AXA also said it would provide a further 500 million euros ($546 million) in aid for small companies, on top the plans already announced by French insurers to invest 1.7 billion euros in domestic companies. [1]

Plaintiff’s Response:

Stephane Manigold, the owner of four Paris restaurants who brought the case against the French insurer, told Reuters that since the court decision his team had received calls from Britain, South Africa, Spain and the United States asking for details of his contract and the court’s ruling. [1]

“This decision in Paris has a global resonance,” he said. [1]

“This is a collective victory,” he told Reuters after the ruling. [2]

“This means that all companies with the same clause can appeal to their insurers,” Manigold’s lawyer, Anais Sauvagnac, said. [2]

  • In Britain, the financial regulator has also turned to the courts to try to get clarity on whether insurers should pay out coronavirus-related claims to small businesses. [1]
  • Some other French insurers have said they will pay out business interruption losses to some customers, depending on specific contracts. Generali France, for example, has said it will make payments to 600 hospitality businesses. [1]

“This decision … revives questions among many insured,” said a French lawyer, who advises insurers and brokers over contracts, of the Paris court decision. [1]

Further Research

Court Documents:
  • Read the Court Ruling
In the news:
  • …More information is needed…




source: ….


source: ….


source: ….



  1. French restaurant’s big win over insurance giant AXA could set precedent
  2. French court orders insurer AXA to pay restaurant’s COVID-19 losses



AXA, Buberl, France, Insurance, Lockdown, Manigold, Paris, Restaurant, revenue losses

Back to All Cases