Ontario man gets insurance, can now keep cougar

Malagerio gets insurance, can now keep his cougar
Posted By Diane Sherman
Posted 18 hours ago

Centre Hastings – The owner of a cougar in Centre Hastings has met requirements to keep a mountain lion he has raised since it was a kitten. The municipality has agreed to grant an exemption to Paul Malagerio after his lawyer presented an insurance policy that meets its requirements.

An application to remove the cat went before the court in Belleville Sept. 23. However, in agreeing to accept the insurance policy put forward by Malagerio’s solicitor, Robert J. Reynolds of Reynolds O’Brien, Centre Hastings set conditions, including the right to confirm continuance of insurance at two month intervals.
Reeve Tom Deline said at council’s meeting Wednesday that Malagerio has now met all conditions of the exemption, “therefore the cougar can remain.” He added thatt if any of the conditions are breached the municipality will again take steps to remove the animal.
Malagerio said his lawyer notified him in writing that Centre Hastings can return to court should he violate any condition.
The issues for Malagerio over the past eight months have been finding an insurance company to handle his unique situation, and, to find the money to pay for the insurance.
Malagerio said he finally found a company through George Bloor, an insurance agent and retired municipal council member from the Haliburton region. Malagerio said Bloor has been a strong supporter of his plight since he visited the cougar earlier this year.
Bloor led Malagerio to Colley, Borland and Vale Insurance brokers who contracted a policy with a company called Elliott Special Risks, an agency of Lloyds of London.
Malagerio said he never expected to be dealing with a company of that stature. “But these guys were willing to give the municipality the words they wanted to hear.”
The municipality first requested proof of insurance for the cougar with a written statement from the insurance company, which he said he could not get. Malagerio said a subsequent letter stated he was required to get a policy that included the municipality as “co-insured, which he said he requested from insurance agencies and could not obtain.
The policy he now has in place states the municipality is insured “in addition to” which paved the way for the exemption, but it comes at a cost of $5,500 per year. There is a 30-day binder on the policy until it is paid in full
Fundraising efforts and cash donations by supporters enabled Malagerio to make a $3,000 downpayment on the policy .
Though he is now facing financial difficulties, Malagerio said he is selling everything he can to get the insurance money.
“It’s been pretty difficult to find. I’m probably the only resident in Canada that needs to insure a cougar, and I had to go to Lloyd’s of London.”
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