Southern Response – Updated deadline to file claims

Litigation

The Limitation Act and limitation deadlines for filing court proceedings for insurance claims has been increasingly relevant since the six year anniversary of the Canterbury Earthquakes.

At the end of June Southern Response made an announcement updating their limitation position.

Southern Response’s CEO said:

“Southern Response’s position is that the limitation period runs from the date that Southern Response settles, declines, or we clearly advise our customer in writing that a final decision has been made in relation to their claim.”

After 4 September 2018;

“Southern Response may rely on a limitation defence and will treat the limitation period as running:

  • Where a claim under the AMI policy has been settled, from the date Southern Response settled that claim;
  • Where a claim under the AMI policy has not yet been settled, from the date when Southern Response settles or declines that claim;
  • Where a claim under the AMI policy is declined, from the date that Southern Response declines the claim;
  • Where Southern Response has written a letter to our customer advising that Southern Response made its final decision on the claim under their AMI policy and in our opinion the limitation period has commenced, from the date of that letter.”

Due to the publicity of their previous position, Southern Response are still honouring that no limitation defence will be relied upon before 4 September 2018, but after that it will be case by case on the above factors.

If you have had a settlement, decline or a written position confirmed by Southern Response (or something which Southern Response may assert is one of these final positions, even if you disagree), at any time since September 2010 it is vital that you get confirmation from Southern Response, in writing, of whether the limitation timeframe has started running on your claim and if so, at what date.  

It is likely that ahead of their previously publicised 4 September limitation deadline, Southern Response will receive an influx of enquiries on a case by case basis.  We would recommend getting in touch with Southern Response directly or seeking legal advice on your position as soon as possible.

If you are still under-cap (dealing with EQC not Southern Response/your insurer) it may be arguable that limitation as detailed above, may not have started to run. However, we would not recommend relying on this and would still recommend seeking legal advice and/or advising the insurer of the risk of your claim going over cap and seeking confirmation of the limitation position and how it applies specifically to you.  

If you have any concerns regarding Southern Response, or your earthquake insurance claim generally, please contact our litigation team for assistance.

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Copyright © Cavell Leitch. All rights reserved. Redistribution is only permitted with express written permission. For enquiries please contact us. This article by its nature cannot be comprehensive and cannot be relied on by clients as advice. It is provided to assist clients to identify legal issues on which they should seek legal advice. Please consult the professional staff of Cavell Leitch for advice specific to your situation.