KANSAS CITY, MO. The terrible fortunes of one business in Kansas City, Missouri, is drawing attention to the inequities that still exist in our communities.
This week, as a result of an accident on Trust Avenue, a pickup truck went through the front entrance to St Anchor Island Coffee on the corner of E. 41st Street.
Surveillance footage shows the truck driving through the front window and people inside the truck jumping out and running before authorities arrived.
All that was left was for owners Armondo Vasquez and Mike Hastings to work through their insurance company to replace the equipment.
“I was home for about 30 minutes before my neighbors called me,” Vazquez said. “They said, ‘Come here now’ … I looked at the cameras and saw a truck inside the store.”
“We have adequate coverage to cover any damage that we put in,” Hastings said.
This applies to their equipment, but replacing the building itself is another matter. They say the landlord’s insurance coverage likely won’t cover the damage to the building, and they’re waiting to find out if their insurance will kick in.
The truth is that they are lucky to have this coverage.
When they launched in March 2020, days before the COVID-19 pandemic, they struggled to find any insurance coverage.
“Because of the area we’re in, not all companies are interested in insuring businesses in that space,” Hastings said.
Hastings said a friend of the family in the insurance industry spent two days calling around before finally finding a company with the right coverage for the store’s outdoor seating and who would even deal with them.
Hastings believes it’s because the store sits just east of Trust Avenue, where red lines have held that community back for generations.
“It’s out of our hands,” Hastings said. “It’s one of those things where we can have all the money in the world and it won’t change what we can get.”
FOX4 asked Kansas City City Hall about Hastings’ complaint. He says he hasn’t heard that specific complaint from other business owners, but is so concerned about this potentially discriminatory practice that he’s going to start asking business owners about problems getting coverage in the future.
It’s illegal to refuse to cover a business just because of its location, but the Insurance Information Institute tells FOX4 that a lot goes into determining the cost of coverage: the level of crime, nearby police activity, the business’s own history and financial health. That data didn’t help Hastings and Vasquez, who say they didn’t have the capital to launch elsewhere.
Now they are waiting for the community to rally around them.
“We’ve been in business for almost two and a half years, which means we have a customer base,” Vazquez said. “This customer base will not let us die, and we know that for sure.”
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