Christchurch man on hunger strike over insurance claim

A Christchurch man has gone on hunger strike in a push for his earthquake insurance claim to be resolved.

Peter Glasson's home suffered significant damage in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, and he says he's still waiting on insurance company Southern Response to play fair.

But the company says it has tried to resolve the situation - even offering to fix the house - but could not come to an agreement.

The dispute began in 2016, which was when the insurance company "first became aware that the Glassons had issues with their house foundations", chief executive Anthony Honeybone says.

"We started working with the Glassons to settle their claim from this point and, after we were able to broadly understand their issues, we offered to mediate with them. Unfortunately mediation was unsuccessful.

"Southern Response has offered to actually undertake the work to repair the Glassons' house."

But the two parties could not agree on the extent of the repairs required for Mr Glasson's house, and he says vowing off food, which he began on Tuesday morning, is his last resort.

"We've tried to speak to Southern Response," he told Newshub.

"They're refusing to meet with us and refusing to discuss our claim and so it's just a very problematic position that we've got ourselves into.

"There must be another process that is a more practical process for resolving these claims than simply just delaying them like Southern Response does."

Peter Glasson spoke to The AM Show.
Peter Glasson spoke to The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show.

The insurance company says it was hoping to have the matter resolved last November through trial, but the Glasson family brought "extensive new evidence" to light the day before.

"Despite this Southern Response offered to proceed," Mr Honeybone says.

"However, due to circumstances beyond Southern Response's control, this trial did not take place.

"Given the volume of this new material, and the introduction of new witnesses, Southern Response needs the opportunity to properly consider and respond to this evidence. We are currently waiting for Mr Glasson to allow Southern Response's experts access to the house to consider the new evidence he has presented."

Mr Glasson says he is fed up with the back-and-forth.

"We have four engineering reports, one of which was paid for by Southern Response [which says] we have significant damage to our foundations," he told Newshub.

"They then went and got another engineer who says we don't."

Mr Honeybone says he is sympathetic to the situation but, "given the circumstances, [is] following the timetable set by the Court".

"We share their commitment to facilitating a fair resolution of the court proceedings, and their claim," he says.

"We understand how frustrating additional visits must be but new evidence was introduced and we need to make sure we understand how it affects settling the claim. We would also be open to another mediation with the Glassons rather than waiting for a Court date later this year."