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3000 Canterbury homeowners in class action against Southern Response

Australia’s leading class action law firm will today announce it’s going to fund what may be the biggest class action in New Zealand legal history.

It is alleging the Southern Response (SR) insurance company has underpaid the people of Canterbury by roughly $300 million.

What makes this of interest to everyone in New Zealand, is that SR is owned by the Government, and therefore by the taxpayer.

SR is the government-owned company responsible for settling claims by AMI policy holders for Canterbury earthquake damage which occurred before April 5 2012.

It hasn't been plain sailing since its formation, however, with protests taking place against protracted settlements, covert spying on claimants, and now a fully-funded class action allegeing around 3000 SR policy holders have been underpaid. 

Christchurch lawyer Grant Cameron says the average allegation of underpayment is around $100,000 per policy holder.

Mr Cameron crossed the Tasman to engage firm Maurice Blackburn (MB) , which specialises in funding class actions on behalf of those who can't.

After exhaustively studying the allegations, MB principal lawyer Martin Hyde said the company was taking the case on.

"Because we looked at what went out to the people that were insured, and we thought that what they were sent was not fair, we thought it was misleading, we thought it was deceptive, we think it’s a strong case, and we’re happy to provide the substantial resources of Australia’s biggest class action firm to make sure that it succeeds," he told Breakfast.

Maurice Blackburn are taking the case on commission, and only if successful, there are no upfront fees, and no charges at all if they lose.


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