Calgary fire victims homeless after insurance ‘loophole’ left them with nothing


On April 30th, the Wheatley-Androsoff family was out of the province, dealing with the death of a parent when their northeast Calgary property burned to the ground.

“It was quite traumatic. It was a long drive home,” described Jason Wheatley.

Their kids were able to get out okay, along with one of their dogs, but the other two didn’t escape the fire.

Now, the family is packing up what little they have left inside their Calgary hotel room. On Tuesday, their insurer gave them a day to leave their provided hotel.

While the family had home insurance, in 2021 Jenny Androsoff opened a dog grooming salon in the family’s basement. It was properly incorporated and licensed, but TD Insurance told them it wasn’t informed of the changes to the property — effectively voiding the insurance.

Androsoff said the dog grooming business was insured elsewhere and that she had no idea the disclosure was required.

“It’s just really an honest mistake. And because of that we have a home that is not livable … I can’t make income because I don’t have my business,” said Androsoff. “We have nothing.”

The family is sharing its story hoping to prevent others from going through their predicament.

TD Insurance said they’re looking into the matter.

“When it comes to home insurance and home-based businesses, insureds are required to disclose to their insurance company any type of business activities that are taking place at their premises,” said Jonathan Brown with the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta.

“This disclosure is part of the application process for property insurance and a failure to do so could result in the voiding of your insurance coverage as it is considered a material misrepresentation to your insurer.”

For now, the Wheatley-Androsoff family is couch surfing until they can move into a rental property in June.

“I tied a knot at the end of a rope and I’m hanging on for dear life. And that’s all I can do for now. But we’re going to climb that rope and we’re going to get there,” said Wheatley. “We’re going to get there.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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