On January 30, 2019, New Jersey residents suffered a tremendous loss. Marcal Paper, in Elmwood Park, New Jersey on the edge of Route 80, burned to the ground. Along with it, 80 years of a family owned business, jobs, community, and an iconic sign that lit up Route 80 were lost.

Marcal Paper was built in 1939 and at one point employed over 1,000 people. Due to mainly overseas competition, Marcal Paper filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006. The iconic sign remained dark until 2014 when a new company purchased Marcal Paper and relit the sign.

However, on January 30, 2019, a massive fire decimated roughly 90% of the Marcal Paper plant. Investigations into the fire are still ongoing, and the cause and origin have not yet been determined. It appears based on early reports that Marcal Paper will shut its doors for good, at least in Elmwood Park, causing the loss of over 500 local jobs. This is a devastating blow to the community and local economy. Further, there has been no information on what the burned down factory site will become, if anything.

But with tragedy also comes the opportunity to learn. As a commercial property or business owner, it is imperative you have the appropriate coverage for business interruption, contingent business interruption, and extra expense coverage contained in your policy. It would benefit all commercial property and business owners in New Jersey to sit down and review their policies with their agent to confirm coverages.

Business interruption insurance covers your business for lost income during the period of restoration. Extra expense insurance covers your business for the extra expenses you incur, over and above your normal costs to continue operating your business while the property is being restored. Contingent business income coverage helps those who depend upon a company like Marcel if it gets wiped out. Contingent business interruption insurance extends business interruption. It covers suppliers and customers when there is a loss to a covered property of another.

Something as simple as a fire, broken pipe, storm or flood may shut down all or part of your business for an extended period of time. With the right policy, you should be covered. With the wrong policy, you may be subjected to staggering losses or worse. So, before a loss occurs make sure you have the right coverage for your needs.

As we continue to learn more about this tragic event, we hope to once again see that iconic sign shining brightly above Route 80 someday soon.

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Mr. Buonocore:

    We are approximately two and a half months post-fire and it would be interesting to know what caused the “Marcal fire.” In light of this iconic business having financial problems in the past, the word “arson” may rear its ugly head once the carrier completes its investigation.

    Please keep us posted.

    Respectfully,
    SHIRLEY HEFLIN
    Tampa, FL