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Lakeland Senior Center Without Insurance

More tragic news has unfolded for the Lakeland Senior Center board of directors, which oversees the Senior Center in Woodruff. They had no property insurance coverage for the center on theday fire destroyed it.The Senior Center’s insurance policy was cancelled seven weeks before the May 6 fire due to a lack  of premium payment, according to the center’s board president Brian Nerdahl said he and fellow board members are still in shock after learning from former Center Director Holly Schwartz that she had made only a partial premium payment. In a letter dated March 3, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company said they would cancel the policy March 17 because the full premium had not been paid.Board   members   are   still   trying   to   come   to   grips   with   the   lack   of   insurance.  

“Tragic,unbelievable!” Nerdahl said of the outcome.  Neither he nor any other board member knew that the policy had lapsed.The board Wednesday decided to let Schwartz go, Nerdahl said.“She opened the mail, she paid the bills,” he said. But apparently not the full amount. “She said she had made somewhat of a premium payment and thought that would have brought the policy back into force,” he explained.

But she did not read the letter’s contents closely enough, he said.“It was a horrible mistake on her part,” the board president said.The past due amount was just $287. The insurance company packaged the commercial line policy to cover property, liability and auto. The annual premium for the $1.4 million policy was $7,500,Nerdahl said. The board is now searching for an attorney specializing in insurance matters to help them sort out the mess, including whether the center received a proper notice of cancellation, he said. It has since obtained insurance coverage from another insurer.He said the board “needs to regroup” and decide if they want to rebuild at the same location.

They have temporary quarters at Hiawatha Mobile Home Park. “Our secretary is taking phone calls,” he said. First Merit Bank donated some office equipment.

The board is still waiting for a final report from the Woodruff Fire Chief, assisted by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, as to the cause of the fire that erupted shortly before 1am May 6.The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen, possibly 4­5 feet above the floor, Nerdahl said.“There was no cooking going on,” he said. Two refrigerators were being used, however.

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