Limitation Period explained

You may have heard talk about the limitation period and that it is about to expire in respect of claims for the earthquakes which occurred in Canterbury in 2010 and 2011.The limitation period is a maximum period provided under law during which time a person should bring a claim against a defendant. If a person brings a claim after this time, the law provides an automatic defence to the claim based on limitation. The reason for giving this limited time period is so that people are not faced with claims many many years after events have taken place.

Under limitation law, insurance companies can file a defence against any claim which is brought after 6 years from the date of the earthquake event that caused the damage. The first of these dates is 4 September 2016, and the next major date will be 22 February 2017.

The Canterbury earthquake events created an unusual circumstance in that there are still significant numbers of claims being negotiated towards settlement as we approach the 6-year limitation date. For this reason, the majority of insurers in the city have made public statements that they are not going to rely on these limitation defences and have essentially agreed to extend time.

AA Insurance, FMG, the IAG brands (which include State), MAS, Tower and Vero have all agreed to extend time until 4 September 2017. NZI has agreed to extend time until June 2018, presumably the 13th June but they do not specifically say. Southern Response has agreed to extend time until 4 September 2018.

This extension only applies to residential claims.

If you have a commercial building, then you are fast approaching the limitation period. We recommend you take urgent legal advice as to what steps you need to take to secure your rights to recover under your insurance contract if you have a commercial building. Ongoing negotiations are not enough.

If you are residential customer, you can choose to rely on these public statements, but the advice we are giving our clients is to ensure they have a personal letter whereby the insurer gives a written confirmation in respect of your personal claim, that the limitation defences will not apply.

If you email saskia@gcalawyers.com, we can provide you (at no cost) with a template document which you can send to your insurer.

If you are insured with any other insurance company other than those listed above, then you need take urgent action to protect your rights to claim.

Tags Southern Response Deadline