Kitchener-Waterloo·Updated

St. Jacobs vendor claims denied, insurance expert not surprised

Several vendors at the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market have been told their insurance doesn't cover damages to equipment or supplies, after a massive fire levelled the market's main building on Labour Day.
CBC News Posted: Sep 5, 2013 6:22 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 5, 2013 10:26 PM ET The remains of the main building at St. Jacobs Farmers' Market after a fire destroyed it early Monday morning. The remains of the main building at St. Jacobs Farmers' Market after a fire destroyed it early Labour Day morning. (Submitted by: Martin Eisenloeffel)

Several vendors at the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market have been told their insurance doesn't cover damages to equipment or supplies, after a massive fire levelled the market's main building on Labour Day.

But that doesn't come as a suprise to Glenn Planert, the co-ordinator of the Conestoga College Business Insurance Program and father of a St. Jacobs Farmers' Market vendor.

"The type of business insurance that we're talking about, this does happen," Glenn Planert told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Thursday.

The fire displaced 67 vendors, including Market Cupcakes, operated by Planert's daughter.

"In order to get into the market, my daughter did that two years ago, every vendor has to have $2 million liability coverage. So if they sell a bad product ... the market is protected and the individual is protected," Planert said.

Liability insurance not enough

"But then when you look at product or equipment, you have to insure that specifically and unfortunately because a lot of people don't understand anything about insurance, people will go 'Well, I have $2 million of liability insurance, I don't need anything else' and that's totally wrong."

Market Cupcakes had insurance but even that company wasn't fully covered.

Planert says insurance can be so complicated even experts like him can't always get it right.

"Life happens, you get a new piece of equipment and don't tell the insurance company, the market burns down, you don't recover for that. They have to know about it to insure it," explained Planert.

"I didn't update with our broker and she said 'Dad! You're the expert.' And that's the perfect example. It happens."

Some market vendors had no insurance at all, saying they were unable to get coverage or didn't believe it was necessary for business or religious reasons.

A fundraising drive co-ordinated through the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation was announced Wednesday to assist vendors in the aftermath of the fire.

Fire officials estimate the fire caused about $2 million in damage.

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