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Turvey Trustee v Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited

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A Court of Appeal challenge for a test case of how Southern Response determines rebuild payouts has been abandoned by the claimant. Turvey Trustee, the trustee-owner of a century-old Hillsborough villa whose earthquake claim is being managed by Crown-owned Southern Response, had planned to appeal a High Court ruling made in December that would mean a reduced settlement payout for the owner.”(See

In the Judgement the Judge considers the folllowing questions:

Question One: The obligation to replace the building “as new” using materials and methods “in common use”?

Answer: “The insurer’s obligation is to meet the cost of constructing a new house of the same style and quality of materials as the property insured. That obligation is subject to the requirement that the materials and methods proposed are in common use in the erection of (in this case) Edwardian-style villas in Christchurch in 2012, and the requirement for reasonable consideration of substitute materials or methods of construction where that would affect the functionality or character of the replacement structure.”

Question Two: How is the insurer’s liability to compensate for “additional costs” to be quantified?

Answer: ” The additional cost of this type is to be calculated by reference to the actual costs incurred at the new site.”

Question Three: did the conduct of the insurer thus far constituted a breach of its obligations under the policy.

Answer: The Judge did not answer this question, stating that “ a far more detailed assessment of reaonableness of the conduct of the insurer to date, and is inappropriate for determination at summary judgement“.

For a full version of the judgment see type “Turvey Trustee v Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited”  into google search.

For a precis of the case see:

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Author: Sarah Miles

Trained as a lawyer, psychotherapist and mediator. My goal is to make my voice heard for the causes in which I believe so as to improve and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable society. I believe in the enormous power of the human spirit and the power within each of us to effect major change. "The only triumph over evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing".

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