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Down, but Not Out

When a heavy storm toppled a tree, there
was nothing to stop it—except the house

June 18, 2010
By Matt Hubert

Tree on houseA young girl and her friend sat at a kitchen table painting their nails on a Friday afternoon in June 2009. That day, in South Abington Township, Pa., a summer storm brewed outside the window. It was one the family wouldn’t soon forget. A crash—that wasn’t thunder—accompanied the rain when a backyard tree careened into the house.

Thankfully everyone was left unharmed, but the damage was devastating. The pool, deck and lawn furniture, covered in leaves, looked like ruins amidst a forest. Splinters of bark and deck-wood covered the yard and the tree trunk pushed in the pool fence. A branch jutted through the siding, reaching in and mangling a heating vent in the little girl’s bedroom.

The girl’s father, John Yannuzzi, was home with the girls when the tree fell. He was blown away by the wreckage.

“I got on the phone right away,” he said. “I called a tree removal service, our ERIE Agent, Carolyn Rose, and my wife Leann, to let her know what was happening.”

Leann rushed home, and Carolyn immediately took action. From her post at the Rose Insurance Agency, she called claims adjuster Bud Stephani and then hurriedly left, heading to the Yannuzzis’.

The treacherous storm still raged, and the damage closed the roads. Carolyn had to show the police officer her driver’s license and persuade them to let her pass.

But despite those roadblocks, Carolyn and Bud were on the scene by the time Leann arrived home. As Bud assessed the damage, Carolyn offered support.

Leann was in shock at what she saw. The question, “How are we going to pay for this?” kept circulating in her mind.

Coverage they could count on
John and Leann have been clients of the Rose Insurance Agency since October 2007. They have several types of insurance with ERIE, including Ultracover, ERIE’s premier homeowners policy — and now they know why.

“People often think that the insurance company just wants your money, and that they don’t help when you actually need it,” Leann said. “But our experience was just the opposite. ERIE had an answer for every question; it was so reassuring.”

The repairs couldn’t begin until the tree was removed—a process that took two days. Because of the extent of the damage, it wasn’t until August—two months after the storm—that contractors could fully restore the Yannuzzis’ home. And, Leann says, it looks even better than before the storm.

Everything was A-Okay
This claim was unlike anything Carolyn had witnessed in seven years as an ERIE Agent, but it was what happened after that makes her proud.

“It feels good, as an Agent, when you know the client is happy with your service and everything falls into place,” she says. “Some clients become your friends, and you want to make sure everything’s handled great. I talk to other agents who write with other companies, and they don’t always have the same experience. An event like this just shows that ERIE is a great company and that the coverage is there for people when they need it.”

The Yannuzzi family now looks back at this event and thinks not of the damage done, but of the recovery.

“ERIE’s service was A-plus, especially from Carolyn,” says Leann. “She’s always been on top of everything regarding our insurance needs, but in this experience, she went above and beyond. ERIE stuck by us, and now we send a lot of people their way through Carolyn.”

Matt Hubert is a freelance writer from Erie, Pa. His writing has been featured in the Erie Times-News, D-League Digest and FaithLife News Bulletin.

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