Vilavi turns the page on Jacques Bouthier

Vilavi (ex-Assu 2000) dreams of a quieter future far from Jacques Bouthier. The founder and CEO of the brokerage group, who was indicted and jailed in an investigation for “human trafficking” and “rape of minors” in particular, gave way to a new team. Michael Hörr, former commercial broking director of Allianz France from 2018 to 2021, has been appointed chairman of the group together with two long-serving managing directors of the group, David Guyonnet and Amir Messadi.

In addition to this new management, an extended management committee will be established in November, which will bring together the cross-functional directors responsible for finance, human resources or IT around the general management, and which will be responsible for defining the general policy and the company’s strategy.
Interest in SPVie Assurances

In terms of strategy, 2023 will coincide with a change of shareholders for the group. While Jacques Bouthier, via his family holding company, owns 85% of the capital, a sales process will be well underway at the beginning of 2023 with a view to completion at the end of next year, confirms Michael Hörr. “This sales process is not part of a logic of immediacy linked to financial difficulties, the company is doing well”, defends the new president. The remaining 15% of the capital is owned by employees.

Already, SPVie Assurances, the fourth wholesale broker in France, which had a turnover of 88 million euros at the end of 2021, has expressed its interest. “The Vilavi group is a golden nugget of French insurance which (…) must remain French”, affirms Jeremy Sebag, co-founder of the broker. “We also received other expressions of interest. Marrying a personal insurance player would also make it possible to get a good supplement,” explains Michael Hörr.

External ethics committee

This sale would allow Vilavi to turn the page on the Bouthier case. The group had already changed its name to support the deployment of “an ambitious strategic plan and the complete redefinition of the broker’s raison d’être” in early 2022 after being the victim of a cyber attack in June 2021. If the attack left a mark – data encryption , for which the group did not pay a ransom – such as “the loss of 20,000 customers”, he claims there were no exfiltrations of data and s to upgrade.

Like this event, Vilavi intends to do better after the Bouthier affair. The audit he had entrusted to Mazars, following the testimony of employees who said they were harassed, “did not reveal any system of organized harassment”, says Michael Hörr. “We are going further than that and are in the process of setting up an external ethics committee, which will consist of four personalities, including a former director of human resources, a manager of a broker with a subsidiary in Morocco and a judge, and who will have full investigative powers in the event of an internal alert”, adds the manager.

Access to professional risk insurance

For the moment, the main consequence of the affair is first of all the decision of Groupama Paris-Val de Loire, one of its risk carriers with Generali, Allianz, Axa, Swiss Life, to end their relationship “carefully” during the next year. In 2022, the turnover should be lower than the 156 million euros in 2021. With 11 brands in insurance (Assu 2000, Euro-Assurance, etc.), credit (Ab Courtage, etc.) and heritage (Cheval Blanc Patrimoine, etc.) With 550,000 customers and 322 branches, Vilavi depends on the loyalty of its customers by offering products that correspond to the improvement of the risk profile and the conquest by opening up especially the insurance of professional risks.

For example, he will launch a collaboration with broker + simple in the VTC and taxi market with the hope of getting a growth point. “We will add other activities to have other sources of growth,” says Michael Hörr.

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