If you find yourself on the streets of a foreign city trying to get your bearings, it’s often best to head to the nearest hill or a vantage point on a high building. As soon as you get there, your whole perspective changes and you can see the ‘lie of the land’ for what it really is. While buried in the alleyways, you can only contemplate what’s directly in front of you and will miss the opportunities that may lie nearby.
So it is with your insurance claim. If you remain focused on the detail of your damage and how your insurer is mismanaging the claim, you will miss the evidence showing that you are in fact just one victim of a much wider strategy, and you will be left struggling with an immense organisation, all on your own. This is why class actions are so important.
Liesle Theron, a leading NZ lawyer, was reported in the NZ Law Society’s magazine Law Talk (15 July 2016) as saying;
“Class action litigation gives individual access to the courts by pooling a large number of claims which may not be viable on their own, and raises public awareness of important issues”.
“It holds the promise of a more level playing field on which powerful defendants can be held to account”.
The SRCA has brought together a mass of evidence supporting the current application to the High Court seeking a ‘representative order’. (Such order is necessary to enable the case to proceed as a class action). The Statement of Claim alleges that the insurer is applying a deliberate and systematic strategy designed to minimise all earthquake claim pay-outs.
It’s only by virtue of the unique perspective afforded by a class action that the court will be able to see ‘lie of the land’ for what it really is. Only a class action can evidence the unfair and wide-ranging tactics utilised by the insurer against policyholders generally, to secure its monetary objectives.
Note: For an excellent article on the development of class actions and litigation funding in this country, see James Greenland’s The Power of the Collective:Tags Southern Response GCA Lawyers Grant Cameron Class Action Insurance litigation access to justice