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Canmore vacation rental company files class action lawsuit

Wataga Properties Inc. is seeking $180 million in damages from Lloyd's Underwriters due to loss of income from the pandemic
20200919 Windtower 0008
The Windtower Mountain Lodge on Saturday (Sept. 19). One of the five properties owned by Wataga is in the Windtower along Kananaskis Way in Canmore. EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – A Canmore vacation rental company is attempting to take its insurance provider to court after filing a statement of claim, stating the insurance company is refusing to pay out.

Wataga Properties Inc. is asking for $180 million in damages, citing there was nothing in the existing Lloyd’s Underwriters insurance policy that excludes coverage for losses due to a pandemic. 

“There is nothing in the policy that excludes coverage for losses arising due to pandemic or virus outbreak … the policy was intended to provide ‘peace of mind’ to property owners,” the statement reads.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the class action certification is still pending for the claim.

Wataga Properties Inc. has five vacation homes available for rent in Canmore and the MD of Bighorn. Listings range from $525 to $975 per night for two to three-bedroom units.

In the document, the rental company outlines loss of rental income due to COVID-19, citing the public health emergency declared on March 17, the federal government closing borders to non-essential travel on March 20, and the travel restriction placed on Albertans and Canadians. 

“The plaintiff has lost several reservations due to COVID-19, significantly reducing its rental income between March and May 2020. When the reservations were cancelled, the plaintiff had peace of mind because the policy is an all-risk policy, which does not exclude coverage for the virus or pandemic,” read the statement of claim. 

The company said it continues to suffer ongoing loss of rental income. 

In the 14-page document, the claim cites three pages from the insurance policy stating the exclusions that apply, but they point out pandemic or virus outbreaks are not included.

Wataga Properties said the insurance group is in breach as they are refusing to pay insurance benefits, saying the defendant has acted in “bad faith” or “lack of good faith.”

Lloyd's Underwriters officials said they cannot comment on legal proceedings. 


Jenna Dulewich

About the Author: Jenna Dulewich

Jenna Dulewich is a national and provincial award-winning multi-media journalist. Joining the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2019, she covers Stoney Nakoda, MD of Bighorn, Canmore and court.
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