Rebuild delays prompt insurer class action

Christchurch policyholders have signalled plans to launch a class action against a New Zealand insurer, furious over long delays in rebuilding their earthquake-damaged homes.

A group of claimants has engaged Lawyer Grant Cameron and are set to begin proceedings against Southern Response, the Government-owned insurer set up after a taxpayer bailout of AMI in the wake of the 2010 earthquake and aftershocks.

Spokesman Graham Bloomfield says people are being denied their rights as policyholders.

“We believe the delays people have faced, and are still facing, are unreasonable and unacceptable,” he says.

“It is now over three and a half years since the first earthquake. There are still people living in severely damaged houses and other people whose houses have been demolished who have no time frame from Southern Response for repair or rebuild.”

As well as calling for an independent inquiry into the insurer’s response, the group is seeking substantial damages.

“The additional costs people have incurred must be recouped,” Bloomfield says.

“We will seek damages for the immense stress and health issues this insurer has caused for hundreds of their clients. There must be consequences for this kind of behaviour.”