Sri Lanka’s Insurance Ombudsman

Insurance Ombudsman: Dr Ranjith Ranaraja [February 2019 – to date]

Following the sudden passing of Dr Wickrema Weerasooria, Dr Ranjith Ranaraja was appointed as the Insurance Ombudsman with effect from February 2019.

Dr Ranaraja’s experience and qualifications are as follows:

  • Secondary Education: Trinity College, Kandy
  • Tertiary Education: Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) – University of Ceylon (Peradeniya)
  • Doctorat d’Universite’ – University of Paris (Sorbonne) Doctorat d’Universite’
  • From 1967-1972, practised as an Advocate of the Supreme Court, before being appointed to the Sri Lanka Judicial Service as:

– Magistrate Judge 1973
– District Judge 1978
– High Court Judge 1984
– Judge Court of Appeal 1994

  • From 1998-2001 Dr Ranaraja functioned as a Commercial Arbitrator.
  • From 2001-2010 he functioned as Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Parliamentary Ombudsman).
  • In 2012, Dr Ranaraja was appointed Financial Ombudsman which post he held till 2016.
  • Dr Ranaraja is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Law, the University of Peradeniya since 2012.

A few of his other experience includes:

  • Resource person in Continuing Legal Education Programme, Sri Lanka Bar Association 1990-1997
  • Consultant United Nations Development Programme on Legal Reforms 1998, Ministry of Justice
  • Consultant to Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute’s project to create an E-library database of unreported judgments of the Sri Lanka Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Commercial High Court and Consolidated Legislative Enactments, 2016-2017

Insurance Ombudsman: Dr Wickrema Weerasooria [January 2005 – December 2018]

The general public and the Insurance Community will be pleased to know that Sri Lanka’s first Insurance Ombudsman is a distinguished former Public Administrator, Lawyer, Academic, Diplomat and Financial Consultant, Dr Wickrema Weerasooria.

Dr Weerasooria was appointed to the post on 26th January 2005 as the unanimous choice of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) which comprises all of the companies, involved in the Insurance industry in the country. His appointment as the Insurance Ombudsman was done with the concurrence of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) which is the statutory body regulating the insurance industry in the country.

Dr Weerasooria assumed duties as the Ombudsman on 1 February 2005 and operates from the office of the Insurance Ombudsman situated at 143A, Vajira Road, Colombo 5. His office is housed in the same building that houses the office of the Financial Ombudsman Sri Lanka.

Dr Wickrema Weerasooria’s experience and qualifications are as follows:

EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

  • LLB (Hons) Ceylon, PhD, London School of Economics, UK.
  • Attorney-At-Law, Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Barrister and Solicitor, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia.

BRIEF CV OF SRI LANKA’S INSURANCE OMBUDSMAN

  • Dr Weerasooria was educated at Royal College Colombo, where he excelled in Classics winning the coveted Harvard Memorial Prize and the Governor General’s Prize. He graduated with an LLB (Honours) Law Degree from Ceylon University obtaining First Class Honours. Thereafter he passed out as a Barrister and Solicitor in Sri Lanka (now called Attorney-At-Law) also with First Class Honours and was placed first in order of merit.
  • He practised Law in Sri Lanka on the Civil side and also lectured at all the leading Tertiary Institutions in the island – The University of Ceylon (Peradeniya); The Sri Lanka Law College; The Vidyodaya University (now Sri Jayawardanapura University); The Institute of Chartered Accountants and The Institute of Bankers. He was also an examiner at these Institutions.
  • In 1972 after obtaining his PhD from the London School of Economics, Dr Weerasooria functioned as a senior academic at Australia’s prestigious Monash University from 1972-1977. In 1977 he returned to Sri Lanka and served as Secretary of The Ministry of Plan Implementation which Ministry was under the Executive President.
  • In 1986, Dr Weerasooria was made Ambassador/High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand and several Pacific Countries such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, which post he held until 1990.
  • From 1990 onwards, Dr Werasooria reverted to Monash University as an Associate Professor of Law and was also Director of the Banking Law Centre set up by Australia’s leading Bank – The National Australia Bank.
  • In 2002, Dr Weerasooria returned to Sri Lanka and was appointed a Consultant to the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Training and was also a member of the Government’s Administrative Reforms Committee. During this period he also served as a Legal Consultant in Financial Sector Law Reforms at the Central Bank (Reserve Bank) of Sri Lanka
  • As an academic, Dr Weerasooria has published over twenty texts most of them on Banking, Credit and Commercial Law which are prescribed texts in Australia and Sri Lanka. His most recent text is The Law Governing Insurance in Sri Lanka, the only text on the subject up to date.
  • Dr Weerasooria also continues to lecture at postgraduate courses at the Sri Lanka Law College, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM). For the past over 20 years, Dr Weerasooria has also been actively engaged in assisting the Blind and Visually Handicapped of Sri Lanka as an Advisor to the Sri Lanka Federation for Visually Handicapped.