Insurer IAG feels vindicated by court decision

Insurer IAG feels vindicated by court decision | Insurance Business

Insurer IAG feels vindicated by court decision
IAG has been awarded nearly $17 million following a decision by the High Court regarding the dramatic collapse of the roof of Invercargill’s Stadium Southland in September 2010.

Justice Rachel Dunningham ordered $16,998,225.66 in damages and interest be paid to IAG following 15 days of evidence being heard in the High Court at Christchurch.

The roof of the stadium, built in 2000, collapsed under the weight of a heavy dump of snow which by good fortune left no one killed or injured.

IAG had initially sought $26.2 million under the name of the insured, Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust, to recoup costs after it rebuilt the stadium, the Southland Times reported.

The company’s deputy general counsel – dispute resolution, Seamus Donegan said the judgment vindicated IAG’s decision to pursue a recovery.

“Important lessons about safety in the construction of community buildings have been learned from this case which will be of benefit to all councils going forward,” he said.

The court found that Invercargill engineer Tony Major’s failure to ensure roofing work completed in 2000 complied with the building code meant he was 90% responsible for the collapse.

Justice Dunningham also found the city council to be 10% liable because it signed off on the work without being sure it was up to scratch.

The court ruled that the council’s negligence ‘was causative of the loss’.

City council CEO Richard King said ratepayers had already paid the $10,000 excess and would not be required to pay anything more as the council was fully insured.

King said RiskPool, the council’s insurers, may be required to pay the full amount, however, if Major was unable to pay his 90% share, the Southland Times reported.

The law firm acting for RiskPool, Heaney & Partners, said it was considering an appeal against the High Court decision.

It said the decision will have significant implications for councils and their ratepayers throughout New Zealand who routinely rely on the expertise of engineers involved in complex construction projects.