Renewed Call For Inquiry Into Southern Response
The misery and stress continues.
As the 10-year anniversary of the February Canterbury earthquake approaches, insurance claimant advocate Ali Jones says thousands of people still don’t have their lives back.
“It’s inhuman,” she says. “In particular the issues for Southern Response claimants, people tied to a government owned entity, must be looked into.”
In August last year, Jones, called for an inquiry into the company, and continues to do so.
“It’s 10 years on and families, the sick, the elderly continue to be bullied and blocked by Southern Response. The confidentiality agreements mean this behaviour is kept out of view, in the shadows and that’s got to stop,” she says.
Jones and her family had to deal with Southern Response after their St Albans home was wrecked by the 2011 earthquake.
“It was a nightmare,” she says. “Their tactics were despicable, and I know many claimants who are still caught up in the SR “washing machine spin cycle” which serves to confuse, overwhelm, prevaricate and obfuscate over and over again.”
The Southern Response website lists the values which the company says “define our accepted standards and behaviours”, and which Jones calls “a joke”.
“Just look at the first one – “Respect - we treat all our stakeholders with care, consideration, fairness and equity.” And if that doesn’t make your eyes roll in the back of your head the second one will – “Integrity - we demonstrate honesty, transparency, fairness, and objectivity in all our interactions.”
Ali Jones says the list of problems related to the Government-owned insurer is long and well known, and an independent inquiry is urgently needed.
“The issues confounding SR claims are not all specific to that organisation; the issues relating to correct reinstatement of homes, as per insurance policies, and the building act/code, also continue to block progress down for claimants.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and from what I can see, there’s not the will from those who could sort this. MBIE, EngineeringNZ, politicians - after any period of time what’s happening is unacceptable but a decade on – that’s outrageous.”
Jones says the deceptive and misleading behaviour of Southern Response over the years has been well documented in legal cases however she says it is disappointing no light has been shone on the operation with no-one being held accountable.
“It’s not about finger pointing; it’s about ensuring there is accountability for the misery and harm that’s been caused while making sure it stops right now,” she says.