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Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
  • A good insurance experience after Pundsack tragedy

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  • After the natural gas explosion that leveled the Harold Pundsack home on South Lake Drive Aug. 11, next door neighbor Becky Korbar's life was changed forever.
    Only 10 minutes earlier she had stood by the patio doors that were blown out by the explosion. The blast ripped cabinets from the kitchen walls, broke roof trusses and buckled three of the home's four exterior walls. The entire home moved a foot and a half off the foundation.
    Goldman Construction Co. of Pinckneyville hopes to have the family in their new home-- "an all-electric home," Becky says with a smile, by Christmas.
    She credits Katie Stanhouse of the Linzee Insurance Agency of Du Quoin and her insurer, State Auto, for making their lives whole again.
    Korbar had just gone to bed when the 9:30 a.m. blast occurred, creating collateral damage to no fewer than nine homes in the neighborhood. Her family members were refugees throughout the day as firemen and other first responders worked. She went back into her home for short periods three times that day to check on pets and recover items. Becky reached Linzee Insurance owner Wendee Linzee on Facebook™ Sunday and the claim was filed that same night.
    By Monday morning Korbar was in contact with State Auto and she met with a small claims adjustor that same day. But the loss would be more than $50,000, which required the services of a major claims adjustor.
    The adjustor, Carolyn Veahman, flew in from State Auto's Pittsburg, Pa. claims office and met with Korbar on Thursday only a day after a structural engineer's assessment that the home was a total loss. Korbar and Veahman agreed to a settlement on the home and any damaged contents..
    The settlement was enough so that the Korbars could begin working with the building contractor in any way that would meet the needs of the family. The plan largely rebuilds the home on the same foundation, but an added sun porch was substituted for brick that otherwise would have been installed across the front.
    The home has been rebuilt. The exterior is being finished at this writing. Wiring is in. Plumbing is in. The new kitchen cabinets have been ordered. The new driveway has been poured and the Korbars look forward to being in the new home by the end of the year. Goldman Construction has had "all hands on deck" to make it happen for this mother and her two sons.
    At 8:30 a.m. Monday agent Duncan Britton, whose career spans nearly four decades, and Stanhouse, who has been with Linzee Insurance Agency for seven years, stood in front of the Korbar home to talk about this four-month journey and moreover to talk about a great outcome in the occasional treacherous waters of arduous insurance experiences.
    Page 2 of 2 - At this writing the investigation is winding down with little information as to whether State Auto Insurance Co. will pursue a subrogation claim against the Pundsack insurer or Ameren. The cause may never be known.
    The newspaper understands the property on which the Pundsack house stood has been offered for sale to neighbors. In the alternative it is expected to be placed on the market after all of the insurance and investigation issues are reasonably resolved.
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