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Call For Inquiry Into Southern Response

Call For Inquiry Into Southern Response

A light must be shone into every crack and crevice of government-owned Southern Response.

That from Insurance Advocate, Ali Jones, who is calling for an inquiry into the company.

“There needs to be visibility on the way they have behaved over the last eight years before the “closed” signs go up at the end of the year,” 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 several claimants who are still caught up in the SR washing machine which serves to confuse, overwhelm, prevaricate and obfuscate over and over again.”

Jones says last week’s court finding over the secret Detailed Repair Assessments (DRA’s), has called the company out on what she believes is a far more serious issue than the court decision suggests.

“I almost feel like it’s fraudulent. This was deception in order to create a pecuniary advantage for Southern Response. I’d like to see criminal charges laid and an investigation into the company.”

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. I do hope the staff who were involved in the deceit over the Detailed Repair Assessments (DRA’s) will not be anywhere near the organisation that will be handling SR’s unresolved claims when it winds up next year, we must be confident of that.”

Ali Jones is also calling out the Insurance Council of New Zealand who actively promotes self-regulation within the insurance sector and has been silent over this recent Southern Response finding.

“The ICNZ is essentially a lobby group for the insurance sector; a group that is there at the drop of a hat to promote itself and the sector but is no-where to be seen when one of their own behaves despicably. Just look at their website – they proudly say “we’ve been helping ensure New Zealanders can have trust and confidence in the insurance industry since 1895.” Really?! They are letting Kiwi’s down and the sector for which they are meant to be the shining light.”

Jones wants an independent body to be established that will have the claimant at its centre so that Kiwi’s can have faith in insurance issues being addressed and challenged in a more balanced way.

“There’s no counter to the ICNZ. Ironically like the insurance experience for everyday people, there’s a power imbalance and the insurers have all the power. The Insurance Department in California is an independent claimant, people-focused body that advocates for them and I believe we need something like that in New Zealand,” she says.


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