Commenting on the Island’s exposure on 14th
February 2008 of a large scale organized racket in the leasing
of vehicles which then "disappear" perhaps into LTTE hands, Dr.
Wickrema Weerasooria the country’s Insurance Ombudsman states:-
"I commend the Island’s exposure of this racket.
For quite sometime unscrupulous persons are leasing brand new
vehicles-mainly Jeeps and other Four Wheel Drive Vehicles – and
then the vehicles are said to be "stolen" and reported to the
Police by the lessee as a "theft or robbery". The vehicle cannot
The next step in this modus-operandi is to
inform the leasing company (the lessor-owner of the vehicle) and
request that an insurance claim be lodged for the value of the
Insurance companies have refused to pay such
claims because the insurance industry is now aware that this
type of loss is an organized racket.
During the last two years, insurance claims have
been lodged for over seventy-five vehicles to the value of over
Rupees Seventy Million. The following facts emerge from this
= A few
people are behind it.
guarantors are brought forward to sign the lease.
= In a few
cases, where legal documents have been forwarded, the lawyers
concerned have not been careful to check the proper identities
of the parties.
vehicles leased are Jeeps or similar four –wheel drive vehicle
very useful for use in the North and East and in
vehicles are brand new each costing a few million rupees.
= Only the
initial lease instalment (about Rs.150,000/=) is paid. After
that the vehicles go "missing".
entries of "theft/robbery" are made but these are short
statements not in keeping with genuine thefts or robbery.
it is the leasing company that has to bear the loss if the
Insurance company does not pay – as they have not. The only
option is to sue the lessee and the guarantors but knowing the
delays in our judicial system, this is hardly an option".
"As the Insurance Ombudsman, I have been asked
by several leasing companies who have been defrauded to help get
relief from the insurer. However, as a rule, insurance companies
refuse to honour such claims."
" The Government should initiate a High Level
Inquiry by the Police – the CID or the Frauds Bureau – to bring
the culprits to book and arrest this racket."