Utmost good faith test grows strength

by Maryvonne Gray 20 Apr 2015

Utmost good faith test grows strength

Around 400 people attended a meeting at Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral on Friday to hear about the possibility of a group action against insurance companies.

The meeting was put on by the director of litigation company LPF Group, Bruce Sheppard, and Auckland-based trial lawyer Kalev Crossland, who believe the issue of good faith could be the basis for a case against insurers.

Crossland said there were a number of issues they believed breached the tenet of utmost good faith.

Referring to a previous meeting in Mt Pleasant several weeks ago, Crossland said: “It was clear from that meeting people were being delayed in resolving their claims, having to pay for expert opinion for which they should be reimbursed, being offered low amounts to settle or repair (low balling) and a number of other issues which all, we believe, is a breach of utmost good faith – a key tenet of insurance law.”

The pair said they were taken aback by the number of people in the room who hadn’t had their claims settled satisfactorily with a show of hands revealing 90% of the audience.

“All I can say is we have plenty of work to do around reviewing the information we have been given by claimants, find correct answers to questions raised at the meeting on Friday night and I know Bruce will be reporting back to LPF,” Crossland said.

Sheppard, who attended the meeting as an individual and not as a representative of LPF, said he would be speaking to his colleagues this week.

“LPF does not fund litigation that they are not more than confident they can win,” he said.

“We have a sense of justice and want to right wrongs but we are also a business and unless we are prudent in our decision making around what we fund and what we don’t, we won’t be around long enough to right as many wrongs as we can.”

Sheppard told the meeting in Christchurch that LPF had never lost a case out of the 20 or so it had taken.

Another meeting is being planned for next month where more would be expected to attend who could not make Friday’s meeting.