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In Taylor v Asteron Life Ltd [2019] NZHC 978 the High Court (Cooke J) dismissed a claim by an insured, Peter Taylor,  to recover benefits under an income protection policy and upheld the insurer’s claim to recover $371,286.70 in payments made plus interest to be determined.  The Court found that Mr Taylor was not totally disabled because he continued to work after his alleged “sickness”.  The insurer called as witnesses three employees of Mr Taylor who gave evidence about the extent of Mr Taylor’s work that was far greater than what Mr Taylor said.  Documents also contradicted Mr Taylor’s evidence.  The Court also  found that Mr Taylor was not partially […]

Notwithstanding the success of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service it appears the Government is proceeding with the establishment of the Canterbury Earthquakes Tribunal.  Based on the version of the bill reported from the House on 9 May 2019 the goal is for the Tribunal to exist from 10 June 2019.  The Tribunal still cannot deal with “on solds” being houses sold after the relevant earthquake(s).  Unlike the GCCRS the decisions of the Tribunal are public.  The Tribunal still has restrictions on the ability to award costs.

The judgment in Self-Realization Meditation and Healing Centre Charitable Trust (New Zealand) v IAG New Zealand Ltd & ors [2019] NZHC 763 is emblematic of disputes post failed earthquake remedial work where IAG insured the house and was involved in the remedial work.  The homeowner sued IAG who then joined as third parties three building entities involved and two Hawkins companies.  The Court struck out the notices against two builders.  The third builder is insolvent.  The Hawkins companies are in receivership and liquidation.  QBE insured Hawkins, but the extent of its liability is uncertain.  So IAG will be the last man standing.

In Doig v Tower Insurance Ltd [2019] NZCA 107 the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the Doigs about Tower’s representations about insurance cover/rights on a Redcliffe house the Doigs bought in a damaged state in September 2012 after the Canterbury earthquakes.  The Doigs said that Tower had represented to them that they would get the reinstatement rights under the assigned policy rather than indemnity value.  The Court confirmed the High Court view that Tower had not made an unequivocal representation about replacement cover and in any event the Doigs had not relied on any representation to their detriment as they were already legally committed to the purchase.  The […]

The High Court (Andrew AJ) judgment in Brinsdon v Beazley & anor [2019] NZHC 808 considered an application by an insurance broker (GH Beazley) and insurer (Vero) to strike out the claims brought in Court by JR Brinsdon relating to earthquake damage from earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 on the grounds that they were brought more than 6 years after the relevant events.  Mr Brinsdon did not commence proceedings until September 2017.  Ms Brinsdon said that she was under-insured as a result of defective advice from Mr Beazley on inception and renewal of policies.  The cost to remediate the house on Rutland St, Christhurch far exceeded the total sum cover […]