Insurance Helps Revitilization of Fire-Damaged Building


On April 7, 2010, the 10-story condo building located inside the converted Hotel Cambridge building at 483 Beacon Street was the site of a 9-alarm electrical fire. The fire caused approximately $3.5 million in damages and injured 5 people, including 2 firefighters.

The building had been built in 1895 and renovated into a condo building 1985, before Boston fire code required the installation of sprinklers. Because of this, the fire became very difficult for firefighters to combat.

The building had 69 condo units and 174 residents, all of whom made it out of the tragedy with their lives.

Since the fire, insurance claims were made and individual units as well as the building's systems were repaired and renovated. The main piping, electrical and heating systems were completely replaced inside the building. Unfortunately, this meant that residents were displaced for roughly one year, so as you might imagine, some have purchased other residences, some have moved to other cities and others may have changed their living lifestyle altogether.

Insurance played a critical role in the recovery process for both the building owner and the residents. The master insurance policy, if it was an "all-in" policy such as those that Brownstone Insurance writes, would pay for the damages to the building structure, including the walls of the units and any part of the building attached to those walls, and the building's systems, but not personal property. Hopefully, unit owners each had their own homeowner's policy which would reimburse them for their personal items.

The property management company could also be reimbursed for lost maintenance fees that they'd be unable to collect from tenants after the fire if they had a Maintenance Fees Endorsement. Brownstone Insurance offers such an endorsement, that reimburses up to $25,000. Additional maintenance fee coverage can also be purchased.

The policy's Demo and Increased Cost of Construction endorsement would also come into play following this fire. This coverage would pay for the building to be brought up to current building codes, and in this case, the building at 483 Beacon Street definitely needed renovations to make it safe and up to code.

If the property manager had Claims Expense coverage, they would also be reimbursed up to $2,500 for their handling of the claim process.

Without insurance, this beautiful, historic building may still be left standing empty and damaged.

Call us at (617) 236-6400 for a free review of your insurance coverage to make sure that you and your property are fully protected. Or, click here for a free, no-obligation quote that will be returned to you within 30-minutes!