Southern Response engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, High Court finds

"Misleading & deceptive" - that's how the High Court has described the behaviour of Southern Response - the state owned quake insurer.

In a ruling released today the court found Southern Response failed to act in a fair and transparent way and breached its duty of good faith in dealing with Christchurch couple Karl and Alison Dodds, whose quake damaged house was written off.

Lisa Owen asks their lawyer, Peter Woods about his reaction to the court's finding.


Michael Hayward, The Press, Aug 16 2019

Southern Response has been found to have behaved deceptively in a potentially precedent-setting High Court case that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Justice David Gendall found the Crown-owned earthquake claims company engaged in misleading and deceptive conducts and misrepresented Karl and Alison Dodds' entitlements during a Christchurch earthquake claim for their damaged Huntsbury house.

The case is about Southern Response's policy of producing two differing detailed repair/rebuild assessments, or DRAs, which outlined the costs of rebuilding or repairing a customer's home.

Editing or redacting parts of such an important assessment document, and then suggesting it is the complete and only assessment of total rebuild cost as occurred here, is misleading and deceptive.
— Justice David Gendall

High Court slams Government-owned quake insurance company for 'deceptive conduct'

John Campbell, TVNZ, 16 August 2019

The government-owned insurance company formed to pay out Christchurch earthquake claims has been found by the High Court to have "falsely represented" information, "edited" crucial documents, and engaged in "misleading and deceptive conduct".

It resulted in Canterbury homeowners receiving much lower insurance payments than they were entitled to.  

It is understood by 1 NEWS that the damning judgement against Southern Response may potentially cost taxpayers $300 million. 

It is no overstatement to say Justice Gendall has found Southern Response's conduct seriously wanting.  

The question for taxpayers is how much might it ultimately cost us? 

"Well, based on the evidence Southern Response gave at trial, they said it was likely to be hundreds of millions. But we actually think there's possibly up to 3000 homeowners that are affected.  So that's taken the claim well north of $300 million," said lawyer Peter Woods.

Full story here: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/high-court-slams-government-owned-quake-insurance-company-deceptive-conduct

Simon Darby