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The High Court in Sleight v Beckia Holdings Ltd (in liq) & ors [2020] NZHC 2851 has found all defendants liable for $389,848 being the costs to repair an earthquake damaged house at 24 Kinnaird Place, Christchurch to the policy standard of “when new”.  IAG insured the earthquake damaged house.  IAG purported to repair the house as part of its managed repair programme with Hawkins as the project manager.  Hawkins, now in liquidation, was insured by QBE.  Farrells, now known as Beckia, was the builder that did the repairs.  The house was defectively repaired.  The build contract for the repairs was between Sleight and Farrells, but it referred to IAG […]

Owners of 12 units at 152 and 160 Salisbury St, Christchurch sued Vero Insurance seeking a declaration from the High Court that by reason of earthquake damage they were entitled to have the buildings rebuilt under their Vero insurance policy.  Vero said the buildings could be repaired to meet the policy standard of”when new”.  The High Court released its judgment in Body Corporate 335089 v Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd [2020] NZHC 2353 on  10 September 2020  more than a year after court hearing finished.    The evidence for the owners failed to prove more than minimal earthquake damage by cracking and minor floor level changes.  The argument that because the […]

The recent High Court judgment 15 September 2020 in the UK test case of The Financial Market Authority v Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd & ors [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm) is all bad for insurers of business interruption insurance claims in NZ.  It says that disease extensions provide cover as do some Government authority extensions, but most importantly it says that the case of Orient-Express Hotels Limited -v- Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. [2010] EWHC 1186 (Comm) that insurers rely on to limit liability is wrong. FCA is the regulator of the insurers in the UK.  It brought a test case on various specimen wordings by underwriters of business interruption insurance arising in […]

The Practice Note Number 2 is more stupidity from the Canterbury Earthquake Tribunal. It purports to be about Covid 19 effects, but goes further than that. https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/CEIT-practice-note-2-2020.pdf It says that the Tribunal will not decide about compliance with the Building Code. Courts decide this issue all the time. Hearings will not be adjourned if a lawyer cannot attend for Covid travel reasons.  It wants to force parties to have Christchurch lawyers.  The Tribunal can resolve legal and factual issues on the papers. Parties can be ordered to attend settlement conferences by video link conducted by a Tribunal member. After the settlement conference the Tribunal can convene a hearing on paper […]

Business interruption insurance policies usually contemplate the loss of premises by physical damage.  Typically, the Covid 19 pandemic does not physically damage premises, however, the loss of uses of premises is arguably “physical damage”.  In a decision released 30 March 2020 the Ontario Supreme Court in MDS Inc & anor v Factory Mutual Insurance Company, 2020 ONSC 1924  decided that loss of use or function of premises could be “physical damage” for the purposes of the insurance policy.  To interpret “physical damage” as requiring tangible damage was inconsistent with the purpose of the insurance policy.  The case involves the pre-emptive shut down of a nuclear reactor with a heavy water […]