insurance companies 'fleeced'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Insurance companies are losing millions of rands in fraudulent claims for stolen vehicles that disappear without a trace.

This revelation comes after Sowetan published a story about how car owners collude with syndicates by selling their vehicles secretly to them and then claiming that they had been stolen.

Gary Dombo, managing director of Alexander Forbes, said the company has been able to recover vehicles from foreign countries after they were reported stolen in South Africa.

"We have recovered a number of vehicles in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe" he said.

Dombo said it was difficult to recover stolen vehicles from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said South Africa needed a system that would help insurers recover vehicles that had been smuggled out of the country.

Dombo said not all the stolen vehicles were smuggled out of the country. Some get stripped for their parts and end up in "chop shops".

Solly Nkuna, managing director of Rihlampfu Insurance Brokers, said the main reason for "unaffordable" insurance rates was the high crime rate, especially that relating to vehicle theft and hijacking.

"We confirm that vehicles do disappear without a trace, but we cannot say they all disappear into foreign countries," Nkuna said. "We simply do not have proof.

"It is true that 'untraceable' vehicles lead to an increase in insurance premiums."

Police at the Lebombo border post between Mozambique and South Africa have recovered more than 10 suspected stolen vehicles, including a truck worth more than R1million, between last Friday and Monday this week.

According to police of the 12 people arrested in connection with the recovered vehicles, police confirmed, 11 were Mozambican nationals.