Southern Response has today filed an appeal of the recent decision by the High Court to allow a proposed class action to proceed.

Our decision to appeal was not made lightly but we hold serious concerns that a Group action will not fairly and efficiently resolve each customer’s individual insurance claim and will inevitably delay settlements, especially given the Court’s indication that customers’ individual insurance claims will not be considered by the Court until after the Group’s general claim is dealt with.

As the Group numbers reduce from the original 47, we remain committed to working with the remaining 36 customers in the class action and their representatives to try and settle their claims fairly and as quickly as possible.

Southern Response was set up for the sole purpose of settling customers’ claims and there is no basis or evidence to support the Group’s general claim about our claim management practices.

Southern Response also holds serious concerns about the impact of the funding arrangements for the class action on individual customers.  We welcome the Court’s decision that some customers may have been misled about some aspects of the class action, and that the Group’s Australian funder and lawyers must take corrective action. 

The Court said that it had reached its decision to hear the class action “by a rather fine margin” and described the group claim as “tenuous” and we believe it should not have been allowed to proceed.  This most recent decision follows an earlier decision by the High Court that did not allow a class action to proceed. 

The original representative for the Group has now settled with Southern Response and has withdrawn from the action.  An additional ten other Group members have also settled their claims with Southern Response and have withdrawn from the action (or are in the process of doing so).

Since the original proposed class action was launched in April 2015, we have successfully settled 2,289 claims. In total, we have successfully settled 83 percent of our nearly 8,000 over-cap house claims and 99 percent of our 21,693 out-of-scope claims.

We continue to offer customers the opportunity to seek two free hours’ expert, independent legal advice from a lawyer of their choice (not involved in the action) around the conditions of the class action so they are well informed on the risks of being locked into this litigation.

More widely, we are focussed on supporting customers with disputes to use less costly and more efficient methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman, and free support from external parties such as Breakthrough Services or the Residential Advisory Service.

As we enter the final stages of our programme, we are committed to working closely with our remaining customers to resolve their claims fairly and as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the settlement of your earthquake claim, please call your Claims Specialist or any of our team members  

For more information please click here to read our media statement