It seems controversial earthquake insurer Southern Response is still determined to appeal the High Court’s decision on its “deceptive conduct” despite being urged by the public to just focus on making payouts.
Last month, the High Court found that the Crown insurer engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by misrepresenting entitlements during a Christchurch earthquake claim for a damaged home – resulting in customers Karl and Alison Dodds receiving much lower insurance payouts than they were entitled to.
Grant Robertson, the minister responsible for the Earthquake Commission, has been advised by the attorney general that the Crown, via Southern Response, will appeal the major court decision.
“The Government wants to find a fair and enduring resolution for the outstanding Canterbury earthquake claims. We are committed to doing what is right and ensuring people are paid what they are entitled to,” Robertson said.
“It is our intention that the clarity that will come from the outcome of these proceedings will enable the Crown to work with Southern Response to provide a soundly based proactive solution to those people that are affected.”
Robertson said that the High Court’s ruling left some significant unanswered questions, so they’ll take the case to the Appeal Court to seek clarity.
He added: “This case is about what happens to historical insurance settlements if the law changes – does Southern Response have a legal obligation to go back in time and pay customers more than they were entitled to at the time their claim was settled?
“Along with Minister Woods and representatives of Southern Response I met with the Dodds today. I am sorry for the situation they find themselves in, and I recognise that this next step is not what they would have hoped for.”
“In recognition of that the Crown, through Southern Response, has offered to pay their legal costs to date, and cover their reasonable legal costs for the Court of Appeal case,” Robertson concluded.