Anthony Harper advises Southern Response policyholders to engage a lawyer

Following a court directive, Christchurch homeowners can apply for a huge compensation package through legal representatives

Anthony Harper advises Southern Response policyholders to engage a lawyer

Anthony Harper has called on Southern Response policyholders who were affected by the Canterbury earthquakes to engage a lawyer in order to obtain a massive compensation package from the insurer.

Following a major class-action win at the High Court in 2019, last December the New Zealand government announced its approval of a payment package for policyholders who had settled with Southern Response before October 2014. According to Anthony Harper litigator Peter Woods, who was at the forefront of the matter as the legal representative of Christchurch homeowners Karl and Alison Dodds, the total payout was estimated to exceed $300m.

At least 3,000 policyholders are eligible for the compensation, Anthony Harper said. Policyholders can receive an average of $100,000 each.

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“The judgment in favour of our clients, Karl and Alison Dodds, has opened the way to rectify thousands of Southern Response claims,” Woods said. “Following the Dodds’ judgment, Southern Response intended to contact homeowners it considered eligible for a top-up cash settlement.”

However, Woods pointed out that there was pushback to the proposal for direct contact.

“The Ross Class Action objected to Southern Response contacting homeowners directly, as all affected homeowners are in the class action until they opt-out,” he said. “The court has now directed that Southern Response may not deal with those homeowners directly, but it may deal with lawyers acting for those homeowners outside the class action.”

Thus, Woods urged Southern Response policyholders to obtain legal representation and apply for the balance they are entitled to.

“We urge everyone to seek legal advice immediately. Unlike our case, we think that this will be a simple process,” Karl Dodds said.

Anthony Harper has established a website where those who believe they are eligible for the compensation package can engage the firm.

“Anthony Harper supports the use of class actions and we consider they are necessary to ensure access to justice for as many people as possible,” Woods said. “Now there is no doubt about Southern Response's liability, it is appropriate for Southern Response to pay the class action's costs and to proceed with settling all of the other claims.”

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