The Southern Non-Response fiasco grinds on. It seems that even after four and a half years, neither Government nor Southern Response could care less about the plight of the hundreds of homeowners who have either received nothing or have been paid far less than their actual entitlement.’ By their deeds ye shall know them’. In fact, their only interest appears to be to control both the level of payments and the pace of payments to ensure that they meet the terms of the Government ten year funding agreement. Note that – TEN YEARS.
Having acquired the liabilities of the contracts of the former AMI Insurance, there can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that Southern Response, after four and a half years, is in breach of those contracts.
But what to do?
Well, homeowners could individually sue Southern Response in Breach of Contract – though few will do so as Government and Southern Response know that they are protected by the extortionate cost of both Lawyers’ fees and High Court Actions. There are also few lawyers in Christchurch who really understand Insurance law at the level of natural disaster and have experience in the field. In this respect one could point to actions where the client’s lawyer has demonstrated woeful lack of experience, where the client pays as the lawyer learns…… The Corporate Insurers are formidable opponents with deep pockets.
Or claimants could ‘do nothing’ in the belief that Southern Response will eventually come to the party (perhaps in another six years, and someone, perhaps you, has to be at the end of their ten-year funding agreement with Government) and even then, studies show that they are unlikely to pay the full cost of a true reinstatement of your property. Probably, you’ll receive 40% if you’re lucky. So not really a fruitful option.
So all in all, not a very encouraging picture, is it?
So it’s time to jump on the soapbox again and remind my fellow Kiwis that regardless of who you voted for, when a Government which governs for the benefit of Corporates, rather than serving the people who elected them, is in power, then there is not going to be anything in it for you unless you are one of the 1% seriously wealthy. One of the real tragedies of the Christchurch earthquake fiasco is that the affected people never realised that they had (still have) the power all along, to force correction to situations such as the Southern Non-Response debacle. As Dr Martin Luther King remarked, “There is no noise as powerful as the sound of the marching feet of a determined people”. But we didn’t see much of that around here, did we?
So it’s not looking good – but to remind you of that fact was not my intention for this tiresome piece.
Fortunately there is still hope that the Southern Non Response situation can be corrected by invocation of the law rather than by a destructive march of feet. Sometimes the inevitability of rape can be thwarted by creative thinking. Such a creative thinker is Grant Cameron of GCA Lawyers – I hasten to add here that I neither know Mr Cameron, nor am I in any way associated with GCA lawyers – but I have attended his recent seminars and done a bit of my own research.
GCA’s team has researched the behaviour of Southern Response in some detail and have found that typically, the costings and offers that are made are only about 40% of the true cost of repair/reinstatement of claimants’ homes when assessed competently. Grant also knows that after four and a half years, Southern Response are in breach of contract with any outstanding claims. He also knows that a large number of people are affected by the delays and low offers. He has put together an outstanding opportunity for Southern Response claimants to save their situation by joining a representative action (sometimes called a ‘class’ action) against Southern Response, in the High Court. Such litigation is very costly, but where there’s a will there’s a way and GCA has
arranged for a British company which funds legal actions which are likely to succeed, to fund the action on a no win – no fee basis. It is significant that this company believes that Grant will succeed.
“Too good to be true” you say,
“Where’s the catch?” you are asking…
So did I. I’ve looked at the proposal in detail and it’s hard to see how any claimant could finish up worse-off, even if Grant was not successful at Court, but the probability is that most claimants would be much better off. Now I’m not going to try to explain everything in this short piece, though GCA will if you ask them, but what I do want to point out is that to give Grant the chance of winning (for you) YOU HAVE TO JOIN THE ACTION. When he wins, the people who will benefit will be the claimants involved in the action, so do not think that you can sit back and let others do it for you. He is not asking you to storm Parliament nor even to march in Cathedral Square. All you have to do is JOIN THE ACTION at virtually no risk. You can even do that on-line.
The way I see it is that if dissatisfied claimants are not prepared to support this action, well, then perhaps there really is not a lot of hope left and I am reminded of the statement that ‘the people get the Government they deserve’. Do nothing and you will receive exactly that. So why not take a good look at Grant’s proposal, satisfy yourself that you’ve got nothing to lose, everything to gain and JOIN THIS ACTION.
Please note that I have not been asked to write this on behalf of Grant Cameron or his firm. I am writing because I am a concerned citizen and believe it is important that people take action. The cut off date for joining is at the end of the month, I believe.
Grant’s team can be contacted at :
GCA Lawyers, 22 Moorhouse Ave, Addington, Christchurch 8011 Ph 03-365 1347