The Supreme Court has on 27 August 2014 overturned the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in Ridgecrest Ltd v IAG New Zealand Ltd [2014] NZSC 117 and allowed Ridgecrest to recover for multiple events under its insurance policies with IAG.  This will enable Ridgecrest to recover in to total more than the sum insured of $1,948,000.  Of interest is that the Supreme Court cited with approval US decisions on the issue.  The decision is positive for insureds with claims against insurance companies where the insured suffered damage in different earthquakes and has a sum insured policy.

In a case where EQC paid its cap liability only after the homeowner commenced Court proceedings the High Court on 24 July 2014 ordered EQC to pay costs and disbursements to the homeowner.  Hopefully this is the 1st of many decisions by which EQC is ordered to pay costs to homeowners that have waited years for payment and had to commence court proceedings to get payment.  Here is a copy of the Court decision.



Extension for red zone property owners in the Port Hills

Release Date: 31 July 2014

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority Chief Executive Roger Sutton has announced an extension of almost six months for the owners of eligible Residential Red Zone properties in the Port Hills to consider a Crown offer to purchase their properties.

“Feedback from owners of properties in the Port Hills red zone who have not accepted a Crown offer is that there are a number of evolving issues to consider and they would appreciate more time,” Mr Sutton says.

“There are still insurance issues being worked through and matters to be resolved in the courts, and some property owners in the Port Hills red zone are also awaiting more information from Christchurch City Council on issues like mass land movement.”

“It’s important the owners have the time they need to make an informed decision, and that is why we are extending the deadline for acceptance of the Crown offer from August 31 this year, through to February 27, 2015.”

Of the 475 insured residential red zone properties in the Port Hills known to be eligible for a Crown offer, 132 are yet to accept an offer.

An offer has not yet been made to the owners of uninsured, insured commercial or vacant land properties in the Port Hills red zone.

Letters will be sent to all affected property owners, where their addresses are known, to advise them of the changes. More information is available at, or by phoning 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372).

Today I commenced High Court proceedings against Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd, Corbel Construction Ltd and Uretek Ground Engineering (NZ) Ltd in relation to remedial work done on a house.  The remedial work to the house included injecting Uretek beneath a concrete slab.  The homeowner now seeks to recover the costs to rebuild her house.  This will be likely the first of many claims against insurers and parties involved in remedial work.

The Finance & Expenditure Committee recently heard evidence in relation to the money to be allocated to the Canterbury earthquake recovery.  Here is a link to its report.  I get a mention on page 13.

Recently insurance companies have sought to have insureds assign to the insurance company the EQC land claim under s19 EQC Act as part of the settlement of the house claim.  The insurer does not insure the land and has no rights to the land claim, so it should not be a part of the settlement of the house claim.

Lawyers in Christchurch say a building crisis – that could be as widespread as the leaky homes issue – is looming in the city as more and more evidence of shoddy repair jobs makes its way into court.