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Christchurch couple misled by Southern Response speak out

A couple who defeated the government's quake insurer in the High Court say its deceptive actions were nefarious and they want an apology and inquiry. 

In 2012 Southern Response gave Karl and Alison Dodds a Detailed Repair/Rebuild Analysis or DRA -  a quote for rebuilding their Huntsbury home - but it included an edited version of the cost of a rebuild.

It kept secret from the Dodds the real estimate, which was hundreds of thousands of dollars more. 

The court found last month that Southern Response had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when it deliberately withheld information that left the Dodds thousands of dollars out of pocket. It ordered the insurer to pay up. 

The ruling was precedent setting, and means thousands of settled cases could potentially be reopened.

It has left experts wondering whether Southern Response will be able to close up shop by the end of the year as planned.  The organisation was created by the government to settle quake claims when insurer AMI failed in 2011.

Alison told Checkpoint's Lisa Owen that Southern Response's actions were "nefarious". 

"Come on Southern Response fess up, face up. You've got it wrong. Just do the right thing by people and get their lives back on track. Get Christchurch back on track," she said.

"How could you treat us like that? What have we ever done to deserve to be treated like that? ... We just want to get on with our lives. This is eight-and-a-half years. We just want someone to acknowledge that they've got it wrong.

"I'm sorry, the rest of the country, I'm sure you're sick of us whinging, but it's still very real for us. Very, very real. We're still living it."

Karl said they would never forgive Southern Response. 

"We're just ordinary New Zealanders who have worked all our lives to put together and make a lovely home for our retirement and that has been taken from us. And we feel aggrieved, betrayed and deeply saddened by the fact that a government company, whose clear brief from the honourable Gerry Brownlee was to act in a very fair and transparent and open manner, has for whatever reason made the decision to do the opposite. 

"And for that, we will never forgive them."



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