French Insurers to Contribute $216M to Coronavirus Solidarity Fund for Businesses

March 23, 2020

French insurance lobby FFA said on Monday insurers would contribute up to 200 million euros ($216 million) to funds set up by the government to help companies deal with a significant drop in activity due to the coronavirus crisis.

French insurers have been in discussions with the government since last week over a plan to help businesses in a situation when many of them, such as bars or restaurants, are closed due to the country’s lockdown.

Almost all insurance contracts covering companies, such as business interruption, supply-chain breakdown, cancellation of events or failure to deliver, exclude epidemics, according to FFA.

The French finance ministry said on Monday it was waiting for innovative proposals from insurers to design an insurance product that would improve cover of major health risks in the future.

The industry is facing a risk of damage to its reputation in the event of widespread non-payment of business interruption claims, Moody’s ratings agency warned last week, as some policyholders may not be aware that infectious diseases were excluded.

($1 = 0.9271 euros) (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

Photograph: A man walks on an empty street near the Galeries Lafayette department store, in Paris, on Friday, March 20, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron said, for 15 days starting at noon on Tuesday, March 17, people will be allowed to leave the place they live only for necessary activities such as shopping for food, going to work or taking a walk. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thibault Camus.

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