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Allstate pulls Sandy ads showing home at center of dispute [Chicago Tribune]

Jan. 07-- Allstate Corp. said it will remove from its advertising an image of a Sandy-ravaged home whose Staten Island owners have expressed unhappiness over their claims payment from the Northbrook- based insurer. Then the home was used in an Allstate advertisement about how it takes care of its policyholders. "We have continued to reach out to the Trainas to...

By Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Jan. 07--Allstate Corp. said it will remove from its advertising an image of a Sandy-ravaged home whose Staten Island owners have expressed unhappiness over their claims payment from the Northbrook-based insurer.

The Traina family was offered $10,000 for damages to the place they've called home for 43 years, the couple told the New York Post last week. Then the home was used in an Allstate advertisement about how it takes care of its policyholders.

"We have continued to reach out to the Trainas to discuss their concerns and are committed to resolving the matter in accordance with the policy they purchased from our company," Allstate spokeswoman Laura Strykowski told the Tribune Monday morning.

Much will hinge on whether the damage was caused by wind or water.

Traditional homeowners' policies, such as those written by Allstate, don't cover losses from flooding. For that, homeowners may buy coverage from the U.S. government's National Flood Insurance Program.

"It is our understanding that the Trainas chose to drop their flood insurance policy before Sandy struck," Strykowski said. "We encourage our customers to consider flood insurance to protect themselves in ways that would not be covered under a homeowner's policy."

The Trainas, who heeded evacuation warnings, told the Post that neighbors who stayed behind told them that wind gusts tore off their roof and toppled walls before the area was flooded.

Allstate's Strykowski said that the TV ad in question showed general images of Sandy's destruction, including a "partial image" of the Trainas' home.

"It does not reference them as customers or in any way imply they are satisfied with the status of their claim," she said. "We regret any concern this advertisement may have caused the Trainas and images of their home will not be included in Allstate's advertising."

Allstate has paid out almost $1.1 billion in Sandy-related claims payments.

byerak@tribune.com -- Twitter: @beckyyerak

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(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune

Social Security: The Black Box Edition.

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

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