Our updates include informative videos, handy documents, and the latest news for our customers.
Decision reached on Dodds vs Southern Response appeal
12 September 2019
The Crown has today announced that it will appeal the High Court decision of the K. & A. Dodds v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd case.
“As the party to that case, Southern Response has been working closely with the Crown and external legal advisors as the decision of whether to appeal was being considered,” Southern Response CEO Anthony Honeybone said.
“This was not an easy decision for anyone. We acknowledge that this is not the news that the Dodds were hoping for and we have met with them this morning to explain the reasons for appeal, which are far broader than their individual case, and apologise for the fact that they are in the middle of this.
“Southern Response was established after the Christchurch earthquakes to ensure that customers could receive their insurance entitlements when AMI Insurance failed. Our mandate is to settle claims in a fair and enduring way and we rely on principles of law to do that. The DoddsHigh Court decision has raised some questions that we require clarity on if we are able to meet our objective of fair and enduring settlements.
“That is the reason for appeal, to gain better clarity from the Courts on questions such as whether Southern Response has a legal obligation to go back in time to claims settled on a full and final basis, and pay people more than they were entitled to at the time their claim was settled,” Mr Honeybone said.
“We believe that not appealing would have the effect of creating more uncertainty for Southern Response customers. By gaining better clarity on this case, we will be in a better position to respond to other people in a similar situation without needing to involve the Courts.“
Information for customers about remaining Southern Response claims
22 August 2019
Southern Response has now settled over 99 percent of the Canterbury earthquake claims that have come into the business. We are forecasting that there will be in the vicinity of 250 claims still in progress by the end of this year.
As we draw closer to full settlement of Canterbury earthquake claims, it is important for Southern Response to plan ahead for the eventual wind-down of this business. We are working with the Government and other agencies who are involved with Canterbury earthquake claims to consider what this might look like including possible future arrangements for managing the remaining Southern Response claims. Our focus is on ensuring that there is the enduring and appropriate capability, skillset and capacity to continue to support our customers through their settlement options.
No decision on these future arrangements has yet been made, we are simply exploring the options in order to make a recommendation to the Government.
What we do know is that any new arrangement will retain all of Southern Response's responsibilities and liabilities to claimants, and the customer experience will be at the forefront of any decision. We know that there is still much work to be done and we are absolutely committed to achieving full and enduring settlement of our Canterbury earthquake claims.
What does this mean for you?
All customers who have a claim currently with Southern Response can be absolutely reassured that we will be continuing to work as hard as ever on resolving your claim. Southern Response was put in place to ensure the interests of all AMI policyholders were protected and all claims would continue to be met under the terms of their policies, and that purpose has not changed. It is business as usual in that regard.
What about litigated claims?
Of the 379 claims in progress (as at 31 July 2019), 44 are currently in litigation. Any potential future change to the operating model of Southern Response would not have any affect on these litigated claims, because any unresolved litigation will continue with Southern Response as the Party and any future arrangement would retain the ability for Southern Response to respond to any litigation.
A joint approach
Because of the smaller number of claims now in process, Southern Response and EQC have been able to work more closely together on some claims so that customers can have a seamless process for settling their claim. We are seeing benefits for our customers of the two organisations assessing and managing the process together, so more of our customers will have an additional case manager assigned to their claim from EQC. Your Southern Response Claims Manager will be in contact to talk to you about this if your claim is affected. This does not mean that your claim has been transferred to EQC. Your current Southern Response claims manager will remain your primary point of contact. The current joint approach to some claims from Southern Response and EQC is simply about bringing together claims settlement expertise from both agencies to work together so that we can achieve the best possible outcome for our remaining Canterbury earthquake customers. For customers, the advantage of Southern Response and EQC working more closely together is a more efficient process that we can manage from lodgement with EQC through to settlement, regardless of whether it is undercap or overcap. Removing the need to transfer claims between the agencies will also remove duplication of work and provide customers with a more transparent and seamless experience.
As at 31 July, Southern Response had settled 48,560 claims (this includes Out of Scope, Contents ,Temporary Accomodation, Loss of Rent, Overcap and Undercap claims). Of the overcap claims and those that Southern Response is managing as EQC's agent, there are 379 claims still in progress. 30 of those claims are currently in the construction phase and 70 percent of claims are in a settlement phase where damage has been captured, a remedial scope prepared and full costings provided or the remedial work is being undertaken.
The majority of the current claims portfolio is comprised of claims that have come into Southern Response from EQC in the last two years. Excluding litigated claims and those in construction, 44% of the remaining claims are new to Southern Response in the last year and 76% are new to the company in the last two years.
Southern Response remains committed to finding ways to engaging with customers and their third party representatives to overcome any barriers to settlement. We now have 124 customers working with the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) towards settlement of their claim. We also have two customers currently with the new Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal and Southern Response fully supports these initiatives as an additional pathway for our customers to take to settle their claims.
We are happy to answer any questions that customers may have about this, so please do not hesitate to contact your Claims Manager for more information.
Arrow International voluntary administration
28 February 2019
Southern Response wishes to reassure all of our customers that their claim will not be affected by the news that Arrow International has filed for voluntary administration.
Arrow International is Southern Response’s Canterbury Earthquake Project Partner. We work closely with Arrow staff, who deliver the project management service for our customers, and we do not anticipate any change in that regard.
We will work with the Administrators to ensure we can provide the same service to our clients as we currently are alongside the existing Arrow team, so it is business as usual for us and our customers. We do not anticipate that this will result in any delays or other notable changes for our customers.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
State Services Commission Inquiry Statement
17 December 2018
Southern Response accepts the findings of the State Services Commission Inquiry and sincerely apologises to its customers for the inappropriate actions it identified.
Launch of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS)
8 October 2018
The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) has been established to provide a streamlined claims process for homeowners with unresolved residential earthquake claims.