Angry insurance holders face Southern Response

  • 02/12/2013

A number of angry Cantabrians set up camp outside the offices of Southern Response in Christchurch today, upset over the company's handling of earthquake claims.

Southern Response is a Government-owned company tasked with setting claims held by AMI Insurance, which failed following the quakes.

Insurance holders are upset by what they say is lack of action by the company and delays with their earthquake claims.

Multi-sport legend Steve Gurney had issues with the company and helped organise today's protest.

He says he had desperate people contacting him for help, and that protesting was the last resort.

"No one should have to do that, if they've brought an insurance policy," he says. "For decades people have paid their premiums to get peace of mind - what have they got instead? They've got hell, there's no peace of mind."

Protester Brent Smith says stress is taking its toll on people.

"Your house is the physical side of the damage, the damage that people don't see is how it impacts on peoples' lives, the amount of time it takes up," says Mr Smith.

Newly-elected Christchurch City Councillor Ali Jones says today was about holding the company accountable.

"This could happen to you - if you're in Auckland, you're in Wellington, you're in Dunedin, if you're on the West Coast, if you're anywhere, what is happening here could happen to you," says Ms Jones.

Southern Response chief executive Peter Rose this morning faced the crowd and defended his company.

"Three years in we've learnt and we're learning all the time, but by and large I think we've done a great job to get the majority of our claimants into a satisfactory position of resolution," says Mr Rose.

Protestors had planned on staying in place until issues were resolved. Some came down with campervans and barbecues for the long haul, but Southern Response has now given them a time frame of two weeks to resolve the majority of cases that have been put forward today.

Organisers say they'll be back on December 16, as they're not expecting the company to sort through three-year issues in two weeks.

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source: newshub archive