Class action against earthquake insurer Southern Response gets the green light

Lawyer Grant Cameron says his clients are "thrilled" with the High Court's judgment.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Lawyer Grant Cameron says his clients are "thrilled" with the High Court's judgment.

A class action against Southern Response has been given the green light to continue proceedings against the Canterbury earthquake insurer.

About 40 policy holders want to sue Southern Response, claiming misrepresented policies, undue delays in processing and the understatement of build costs. They want to sue as a joint action, thereby sharing costs.

In February, the High Court in Christchurch denied the group permission to proceed as a class action, saying the individual claims in the action did not appear to have enough in common to meet the test for a class bid.

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The group's lawyers returned to court in a second attempt to have the class action approved in October. 

On Friday solicitor Grant Cameron said the application to go ahead with a representative action against the insurer had been approved.

Cameron said Justice Warwick Gendall was satisfied that the strategy employed by Southern Response to settle claims provided a common "spine" to the group.

Gendall wanted to have the matter "properly ventilated and determined before the Court", he said.

Cameron said his clients were "thrilled with the outcome" and were looking forward to "progress".

"They now have the way forward needed to achieve a fair and reasonable resolution," he said.

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In a statement a Southern Response spokeswoman said the firm was "disappointed" by the ruling.

The insurer was "concerned" that a representative action would not "efficiently and fairly" resolve each of its customers' individual earthquake claims, she said. 

"As a result, Southern Response is considering its options, including an appeal."

 - Stuff

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