Court of Cassation, Second Civil Chamber, 24 September 2020, no. 18-12.593 and 18-13.726

The Insurance Code establishes a principle known as the aggregation of claims, according to which “a set of loss events with the same technical cause is considered as a single loss event”. This is a legal fiction that allows a plurality of claims suffered by different persons to be considered as a single event. The judgment in question clarifies the contours of this notion in relation to the failure of an intermediary to comply with his obligation to inform and advise.


A person entrusts a financial investment advisor with a mandate to search for tax exemption offers, in order to make investments that could be advantageous to him. Following his advice, the principal decides to invest in photovoltaic energy but is subject to a tax procedure following this investment. He therefore decides to sue the intermediary for a failure to provide information and advice, on minimising the tax risk to which he exposed himself in making such an investment. In addition, other clients in the same situation also sued the intermediary.
The Court of Appeal ruled against the intermediary, considering that he had been negligent in the advice he gave to the investor. The intermediary’s liability insurer then appealed to the Court of Cassation, seeking to apply the principle of aggregation to the intermediary’s duty to provide advice, so that these claims would be treated as a single claim.
This qualification is of great importance for an insurer, as it could allow it to limit the total compensation for all victims to a single limit of indemnity.


The Court of cassation rejected the insurer’s appeal. The judges considered that the provisions of the Insurance Code enshrining the aggregation of claims “are not applicable to the liability incurred by a professional in the event of a breach of his obligations to inform and advise, as these obligations are separate in nature which excludes the existence of a technical cause that would make it possible to group them into a single loss event”.

CGPA comments

This decision was confirmed by a series of ten other rulings made by the Cour de cassation on 24 March 2021, reinforcing its wish to protect insureds. Such decisions have farreaching consequences, as they rule out the qualification of a serial claim in respect of an action for the breach of the professional duty to inform and advise. Thus, an insurance intermediary can be held liable several times over for the same advice given to different clients, which only reinforces the need for intermediaries to ensure they comply with their duties, and to document them as much as possible.
This decision has given rise to a fierce debate among academics, with many specialists arguing that if a policy is individual by nature, there is no text that specifies that the same applies to the duty to inform, which is supposed to be factual and therefore similar for all clients.