News & Thinking

Peter Woods

Southern Response decision unlocks $300m more

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Anthony Harper

Southern Response’s decision to accept the Court of Appeal’s findings in the Dodds’ case allows at least 3,000 Christchurch policyholders who settled their claims before 1 October 2014 to receive compensation of $100,000 each, on average, amounting to over $300 million.

The Dodds’ lawyer, Anthony Harper partner Peter Woods established in the High Court that Southern Response had misrepresented their earthquake insurance entitlements and it had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.  Southern Response’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

“The judgment in favour of our clients, Karl and Alison Dodds has opened the way to rectify thousands of Southern Response claims,” Mr Woods says.

“Following the Dodds’ judgement, Southern Response intended to contact homeowners it considered eligible for a top-up cash settlement.  The Ross Class Action objected to Southern Response contacting homeowners directly, as all affected homeowners are in the Class Action, until they opt-out.  The Court has 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” he says.

“Homeowners who had their Canterbury earthquake insurance claims settled by Southern Response up to 1 October 2014 should now engage a lawyer to apply to Southern Response for the balance due to them,” Mr Woods says.

Karl and Alison Dodds are ecstatic that their claim has led to this outcome for 3,000 other homeowners, a decade after the Canterbury earthquakes damaged their homes.

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

How to apply

Anyone who thinks they are eligible for the Southern Response payment should go online to to submit their claim information and a request for legal advice. By filling in a simple form on the website, set up by Anthony Harper, their claim will be submitted to Southern Response.  Anthony Harper will also provide advice on the Ross Class Action opt-out, and how that relates to the Southern Response offer.

Anthony Harper is charging a fixed fee for this work and it expects that Southern Response will reimburse the homeowner most of that fee. More information is available at the website

“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.  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,” Mr Woods says.

Peter Woods has worked for a decade to ensure property owners are fairly compensated by the Earthquake Commission and insurers for damage caused in the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. He also led a successful group action against the Earthquake Commission, which resulted in the Commission accepting it had not used the correct standard of repair.