Avalon at Edgewater is a luxury apartment complex in Edgewater, NJ. Residents paid several thousand dollars a month to live there and expected the best in everything – the best security, the best appointments in the unit, the best in life safety systems within the building, and the best maintenance work.
Today, Avalon at Edgewater is half a luxury apartment complex. The buildings were four stories, constructed of wood framing, covering a full city block, and situated overlooking the Hudson River and New York City. The community was a lovely place to live, and part of its charm was the visual appeal of the buildings, a vast improvement over the abandoned, contaminated Alcoa plant which once marred this prime waterfront real estate.
Occupancy was up, concerns were down, and residents, management, and investors alike thought things were going quite well. On January 21, however, everything went completely off the rails. Maintenance workers were performing plumbing repair in one of the units, soldering pipes with a blowtorch inside a wall. Once the wall caught fire, the entire four story building was doomed. The building’s fate was further sealed by the maintenance worker allegedly taking fifteen minutes to discuss the fire with his supervisor before calling 911. By then, there was no hope that anything but embers and charcoal would remain when the fire was finally put out.
You don’t just buy renters insurance to for the personal property coverage in case you negligently cause a loss to your own property. Renters insurance is crucial because you never know what the resident next door is doing in their apartment, nor what mistakes even a trained maintenance worker might make. Life is a series of intersections between you and many other people on a daily basis, and sometimes those intersections can have unplanned outcomes that cause significant loss.
The Renters Insurance Challenge is about getting more renters protected from tragedies such as this one, and every insurance professional can help lead the way to getting millions more Americans the protection they deserve.