October 23, 2012

Kennebec Ice sues its insurers over Hallowell collapse

The company says that its policies were inadequate to deal with the collapse.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – Kennebec Ice Arena Inc. is suing its insurance companies, claiming its policies were inadequate to deal with the collapse of the arena in Hallowell and its subsequent rebuilding.

click image to enlarge

This aerial photo taken March 3, 2011, shows the collapsed roof of the Kennebec Ice Arena in Hallowell. No one was injured when the roof fell onto the rink.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

The roof of the old rink, which was built at a cost of $400,000 and opened in 1970, collapsed in March 2011.

Three adults, who were the only people in the building, escaped without injury.

A new rink, the Bank of Maine Ice Vault, was built on the site for an estimated $4 million. It opened July 7.

The lawsuit, filed in Kennebec County Superior Court on behalf of the corporate entity that still runs the ice arena, names as defendants Gosline Insurance Group of Gardiner, First Niagara Risk Management Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., and Willis of (Portsmouth) New Hampshire Inc.

The lawsuit claims the policies "were not specifically tailored to the needs of Kennebec Ice, failed to provide adequate coverage limits, failed to provide replacement costs adjusted for inflation, and were deficient in other areas."

It says the policies also "failed to adequately evaluate the anticipated replacement cost or demolition cost of the arena."

No dollar figures are in the lawsuit.

Two of the three defendants have responded to the complaint.

First Niagara Risk Management Inc. denies the allegations of breach of contract and negligence, among others, and says the arena's owner is partly or totally at fault for the damages.

First Niagara also filed claims against the other two defendants, the Willis and Gosline firms.

Willis denied the allegations in the complaint in a response filed Monday.

Owner Peter Prescott got a tax break from Hallowell last fall to help finance the new rink.

The city is to reimburse taxes on the value of the building over the first 10 years, saving Prescott $612,000.

The Bank of Maine, based in Gardiner, contributed toward the new arena and secured naming rights.

 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

 

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