'Bitter experience' with Southern Response

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 08:32 07/12/2013
Tony Brazier
Stacy Squires

INACTION: Tony Brazier says the two worst insurers for client contact are government-owned.

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Claims company Southern Response is in the courts because it will not talk to customers, a businessman in charge of 1000 properties says.

Tony Brazier, who owns a Christchurch real estate and property management business, described "bitter experience" with Southern Response in managing 1000 rental properties. He has also waited three years for action on his own home, including a dangerous brick fence he feared could fall on a child.

Southern Response, set up by the Government to handle claims from failed insurer AMI, has been under fire from unhappy policy holders. A large group staged a protest outside its Addington office on Monday and others have taken legal action.

A leaked September report revealed Southern Response has fully settled only 2588 of its 6759 claims (excluding those for fences and driveways).

Brazier first put in a claim on his fence through AMI in September 2010. "An assessor came out and told us that someone would be in touch. That was more than three years ago. We have heard nothing."

After a wrangle with EQC over the house, this claim is also in the hands of Southern Response without action. He has since taken legal advice.

Brazier's complaint letter to Southern Response has been posted on the "Southern No Response" facebook page set up by and for aggrieved customers.

The letter said: "If your organisation had the courtesy of actually acknowledging claims then I suspect there would be less court cases against you, alas, as it seems to be the only way to get attention to one's plight."

Brazier said he was appalled "that two worst insurers for ignoring and denying their clients in this whole debacle are owned by our own government", referring to Southern Response and the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

Many claimants are worse off than himself, he says, and he has witnessed many clients' hassles with Southern Response over rental properties. "They just can't get any response."

Since his letter was posted on facebook Brazier has had a call from the company "promising to come around next week, miraculously, after three years."

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