GCA Lawyers New Zealand
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Claims Funding Australia

Southern Response Concealment

Class Action - New Zealand

Agreement reached to resolve class action 19 October

 

Summary

Mr and Mrs Ross’ persistence and that of their legal and funding team has led to a settlement of the class action. Subject to Court approval GCA Lawyers are now in a position to act for you to settle qualifying claims. Please go to https://www.gcalawyers.com/southern-response-compensation.

Agreement reached

Following nearly four years of intense work, GCA Lawyers are extremely pleased to report that Mr and Mrs Ross have now reached an agreement with Southern Response to resolve the class action proceeding. 

The agreement remains subject to the High Court approving the discontinuance of the proceedings.  Mr and Mrs Ross have now applied to the Court to seek such approval. 

Under the agreement, all class members will be able to access compensation from Southern Response on the same terms. 

Key features of the resolution

The key features of the settlement are as follows.

1.  Southern Response to pay compensation

The agreement provides for all class members wishing to settle their claims against Southern Response to apply for and receive compensation from Southern Response based on the principles decided by the court in the Dodds litigation.

2.  Payment of interest

Southern Response will also pay interest on each class member’s claim, calculated in accord with the Interest on Money Claims Act 2016.

3.  No legal costs or funding commission

Every class member will receive 100% of their compensation sum without any deductions for legal costs or funding commission.

Particular thanks is due to Claims Funding Australia which happily agreed to compromise its contractual entitlements to ensure that the overall deal could be secured without cost to any class members.

4.  No requirement to opt out

Southern Response no longer requires class members to opt out of the proceedings as once the proceeding is discontinued it comes to an end.

In this way, class members will receive compensation for not having previously been paid their full policy entitlement, full interest for the period they have been without their funds, and all without having to pay a single dollar in costs.

You should seek legal advice.  GCA Lawyers is able to assist.

If you are a class member you may now be able to obtain an offer of compensation from Southern Response for not having received your full insurance policy entitlements.

You could apply to Southern Response yourself and request them to provide you with a settlement offer. The recommended alternative is that you engage a lawyer to make the application on your behalf and to review any offer received from Southern Response to ensure that you are being offered your full entitlement under the Settlement Package.

Having been more intimately involved over the last 4 years in the nuances of Southern Response’s thinking and tactics than any other law firm, GCA believes it is uniquely positioned to assist you in now finalising your claims.

Process

GCA Clients

GCA has already asked Southern Response to provide their Settlement Package offers for each GCA client.  Once received, that information will be checked to verify that clients are being offered the correct amount based on the Dodds principles.  

Other class members

Policyholders who are not currently GCA clients can instruct GCA to advise on their entitlements by registering at https://www.gcalawyers.com/southern-response-compensation.

Once registered, you will be sent our terms of engagement and will be provided with the details that you will need to complete for us to undertake the process of enquiring about your entitlement and advising you accordingly. 

Payment of the settlement sum

Southern Response have given assurances that it will process claims promptly and in good faith, so payments can be made to those accepting its offer, as soon as is reasonably possible.

Judgments issued - 20 September

 

Following a hearing in April 2021, the High Court at Christchurch has recently issued judgments on various interlocutory matters.  

The court declined an application by the class action Representatives, Mr and Mrs Ross, seeking a set-aside order whereby any settlements entered by affected policyholders would have had 15% of payments withheld.  The application had been brought to ensure fairness between affected class members and so all those receiving the benefits of the court proceedings would contribute equally.  

Southern Response wishes to offer full and final settlements to those encompassed by the class and, subject to all policyholders being treated fairly, Mr and Mrs Ross wish to be supportive of such settlements.  

Contrary to media reports, the proceedings have not been concluded and it would be unwise for affected policyholders to opt-out of the class action at this time.  

We expect to make important announcements later this week and so those with queries should contact this office for accurate information as to their options going forward.

 

Learn more about the action

 

 

Register for our Canterbury earthquake insurance class action against Southern Response in New Zealand.  Find out if you're eligible.  

Find out if you have underpaid entitlements owed

TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH WAS CONCEALED FROM YOU - JUST REGISTER ABOVE!

GCA has established that large sums have been concealed.

One policyholder had $447,129.50 concealed from them.

For more, click here to read our Media Release.

Whether the class action is resolved in the courtroom or settled amicably between the parties, the court will determine fair remuneration will be paid to lawyers and funders, and how those costs will be spread across the whole class


TV1 Breakfast interviews

23 September 2020

The government will not challenge a landmark court decision against Southern Response, it's a move that could set a legal precedent for Cantabrians battling against the state-owned quake insurer.  

 


15 September 2020

Around 3,000 Southern Response Policy holders are part of a class action against the agency seeking compensation for damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.


 

GCA Lawyers & the SRCCA

2 March 2020

Southern Response's misleading settlements pre October 2014


 

Brendan & Colleen Ross - Their Story, Their Words

3 March 2020

Brendan & Colleen Ross are the representative claim for the Southern Response Concealment Class Action


Southern Response’s misleading settlements pre October 2014

 

In 2018, GCA Lawyers filed proceedings in the High Court of New Zealand against Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited over its alleged misleading concealment and non-payment of additional financial benefits due to policyholders.  The representatives of the class are Brendan and Colleen Ross, whose earthquake damaged home was uneconomic to repair.  The class action alleges that those who settled their Canterbury earthquake claims with Southern Response prior to October 2014 were misled about the full extent of their entitlements to compensation. The claim alleges Southern Response systematically withheld information from policyholders about their entitlements and the true cost of repairing or rebuilding homes damaged as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes.   

The Court of Appeal has ordered that the class action is to be conducted on an opt-out basis.  This means that all persons who have the same interest in the subject matter of the proceedings as Mr & Mrs Ross are automatically members of the class action unless they elect to opt-out.  This includes both people whose houses were repairable and those whose houses were uneconomic to repair.   

If you settled with Southern Response prior to October 2014 you may qualify as a class member.  Now is the time to consider appointing GCA Lawyers as your lawyers in this class action seeking to recover those additional insurance entitlements.

Am I a Class Member?

The Court of Appeal has set out the criteria for people to be part of the class action in its judgment of 16 September 2019.  The full text of the Court of Appeal's Order can be found in the FAQ section of this website.  If you meet these criteria then you do not need to take any further steps to qualify as a class member at this stage.  

Broadly, you will automatically be a class member if you:

  1. owned a residential dwelling that was: 
    1. insured with AMI Insurance (now Southern Response) under a Premier House Cover Policy or Premier Rental Property Policy ("Policy");
    2. damaged by the 2010-2012 Canterbury earthquakes;
  2. lodged a claim or claims under the Policy for that damage;
  3. received a DRA from Southern Response that did not include an Office Use Section and did not receive a DRA from Southern Response that did include an Office Use Section.  Go to the FAQ to find out more about what a DRA is and why this is relevant to the Class Action; and
  4. settled your insurance claim with Southern Response prior to October 2014 by someway other than having Southern Response manage the repair or rebuild of your house.

GCA Lawyers can assist you to know if you are a class member and eligible to take part in the class action.    

GCA lawyers are conducting the class action with the support of funding from Claims Funding Australia Pty Limited (CFA), the litigation funding arm of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Australia’s largest and most successful class action law firm. 

You may wish to have GCA Lawyers appointed as your lawyers to represent you in the class action or simply register your interest with them to find out more.  

To register your interest in this class action simply complete the Registration of Interest forms click here.  

How do I register my interest in the Southern Response Class Action?

To complete your registration of interest simply click here and have the following information ready:

  1. your name and contact details;
  2. address of the insured property; and 

  3. the date you settled with Southern Response. 

For help on where find this information, click here.

 

Frequently asked questions about the Southern Response Class Action

For a fast answer to some common questions, we suggest checking the Frequently Asked Questions section first.  You might find your question has already been answered – simply click on the FAQS link in the top right corner of this page.

Still don't have the answers you need…?  

Send us a message using this form if you have already registered, or otherwise contact us by email at [email protected].  Alternatively, if you require an urgent response, call our team on +64 3 365-1347 during business hours.