Time nearly up for thousands of quake-affected Canterbury home owners who want to take legal action

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Time is nearly up for thousands of quake affected Canterbury homeowners who may want to take legal action against the country's largest insurer.

A major insurer has set a deadline of next week for homeowners to take court action.
Source: 1 NEWS

A deadline of 30th June 2018 has been set by IAG for its claimants to file any court action, under the Limitations Act.

IAG, which owns State, AMI, NZI and Lumley Insurance companies says it has already extended the deadline beyond the six year statutory limit.

Blair Williams, General Counsel for IAG says this won't affect the processing of claims, and deadline extensions will be considered on a case by case basis.

But the move has been labelled as "unfair" by many.

Anthony Harper’s lawyer Peter Woods, who deals with many earthquake-related issues says there is some legal dispute over whether the limitation period can be implemented in this way, but says it puts homeowners in an "awful predicament".

"If you don’t agree with what IAG is proposing, then what right do you have left? You’re being deprived of your remedy. Your only remedy – which is to go to court. So you could still apply to go to court , but IAG's position will be you’re too late."

Melanie Bourke of advocacy group EQC-Fix says the move is unjustified, and will affect thousands of people. "There'll be lots of people that have purchased homes that won't know that the damage was significant and that property should’ve gone over cap. And so there could be hundreds if not thousands of people in that position."

Woods says those still dealing with EQC issues, who have yet to go over cap are in a difficult position, as they haven't yet been pushed over the threshold and onto their insurer.

"A lot of those people may not even know they need to be suing IAG. A lot of them won't have the resources to do it. It's certainly not their fault that EQC botched the repairs on their house. It doesn’t seem fair to me at all," he said.

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