Insurance advocate, Ali Jones, is hugely disappointed that Government insurer Southern Response has decided to appeal the recent double DRA court finding.
SR’s Chief Executive, Anthony Honeybone, has been quoted in the media today as saying they are appealing because they believe the issues go beyond those raised in this one case; that they need to clarify a number of issues including whether this will allow others who have signed full and final agreements can revisit and reopen them, and he believes this decision has ramifications for the whole insurance industry.
“I have spoken to a number of lawyers today who also agree that this is absolute rubbish,” says Jones. “Of course no clarification is needed – the court has been very clear in its finding. And yes, the decision goes beyond one case but that’s the whole point of setting a precedent. It’s something SR has managed to avoid doing to date by settling out of court and under the secrecy created by claimants being forced to sign confidentiality agreements. Clear as day, no clarification needed.”
Jones says she understands from the lawyers she has spoken to that when a full and final agreement, indeed any contract, is signed predicated on false and misleading information, signatories are quite within their legal rights to revisit those agreements.
“Judge Gendall was very clear on how deceptive SR’s behaviour was in the Dodds double DRA case. If an insurer behaves like this, if they mislead in the process of negotiating a full and final – all bets are off. Of course there should be recourse for the claimant. What’s to clarify!?”
Jones says SR should have just put up their hand, acknowledge they have been caught and contacted the claimants whose lives have been further damaged by their behaviour – to put it right.
“It is good they have apologised to the Dodd’s; it is also positive that SR will pick up all of the Dodd’s legal cost to date and for the appeal period but this is how SR operates. They continue their bad behaviour until they are caught out. There are many hundreds of cases still with SR and the company continues to behave appallingly because there’s no visibility on those cases. Many of us have been trying to shine a light on this bad behaviour for several years now.”
Ali Jones adds that other insurers are also continuing to behave very badly indeed and they too run the risk of being caught out very soon.