The longtime business owner in Wheatley town center has said his insurance company will not be renewing his policy, meaning further uncertainty for him and others affected by an explosion last summer .
“It’s the fear of the unknown,” said Car Barn restaurant owner Barry Broadbent.
“It’s really hard to make a plan moving forward because without insurance obviously there’s just too much risk to get back into business.”
The explosion left most of downtown empty for more than six months. Some buildings were completely destroyed and drilling is underway in the area to find the source of the explosion, which is believed to have been caused by an abandoned gas well.
Many businesses were inside the evacuation zone and have not been able to reopen since the explosion.
Broadbent has operated the Car Barn at this location for 34 years. He said his insurance was due for renewal at the end of last month and they informed him that they would not be renewing the policy he has on his property and building. He said he spoke to a local broker who also tried to help him to no avail.
Let’s hope this isn’t the start of the dominoes falling.-Mike Renwick
“As far as property and buildings go, there’s nothing they’re interested in,” Broadbent said. “They just said they are not interested in providing insurance to my particular property as it is in the evacuation zone.”
Broadbent said his company had offered to sell him liability insurance, but that wouldn’t be of much use to him since no one is allowed in or out of the evacuation zone at this time.
He said he appreciated the government funding made available to the residents of Wheatley following the August 26 explosion.
“Thank goodness for them, because on the other side, we just haven’t had much support from insurers,” Broadbent said.
Broadbent talks about the night the explosion happened last summer:
Mike Renwick, president of Wheatley’s Business Improvement Association, said it was “completely ridiculous” for a company to refuse to insure a customer.
Renwick said he hadn’t heard of any other company that had the same issue, but was worried about what others might find out when their renewal time rolls around, including the assurance he has on the smoking room he manages, which is also closed. in the evacuation area.
“I hope this isn’t the start of the dominoes falling,” he said.
He said he couldn’t run his insurance without her.
“Technically and legally, you can’t run a business without insurance,” he said.
The provincial government, which is providing assistance to residents and businesses affected by the blast, said commercial insurance is not regulated in the province, so terms may vary depending on the policy or of the insurer used.
He said anyone who may have difficulty finding insurance can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)
CBC News contacted BAC about Wheatley, and a spokesperson provided a written response stating that where properties are exposed to significant risk, consumers may experience difficulty.
The organization, which represents Canada’s private insurance companies, also said it had an action plan that could help consumers in “difficult times”.
“IBC offers a free risk management advisory service through its Commercial Insurance Action Team to help companies improve their overall risk profile with the aim of obtaining insurance,” he said.