Insurance Auto Auctions, a business unit of KAR Auction Services, announced Wednesday it has expanded locations in six states to both address clients’ increased inventory needs due to more claims being deemed total losses and to plan for a projected rise in salvage volume following the upcoming weather event season.
The company’s new land additions total 50 acres. Together, the six expanded locations now cover more than 200 acres of land, an increase of more than 30 percent, according to IAA.
This follows IAA's Aug. 7 announcement that it also recently secured 22 real estate locations in 10 states to prepare for potential catastrophic events this year.
The 22 expansions include branches in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Texas.
IAA said the newly acquired land across the several states amounts to over 500 acres.
Shortly after that Aug. 7 news was announced, Auto Remarketing caught up with IAA chief executive officer and president John Kett.
"We are taking a very proactive approach to obtaining land in areas that are prone to weather related events, rather than waiting on the event to occur and then having to go out to find additional property," Kett said during a phone interview with Auto Remarketing.
In the South, Kett explained, there have recently been storms that have produced modest levels of flood damaged vehicles this year but "so far there’s nothing brewing that we can see right now," he said.
"We are just entering what is referred to as hurricane season, I think technically it starts in June but it’s rare to see anything. August, September and October is the typical time when you would see a hurricane, which is the most prominent manifestation of a catastrophe that we would help deal with," he said.
Following strategic preparation and coordination, IAA acquired the expanded locations to ensure that IAA's catastrophe (CAT) response services team will have the appropriate resources to help clients with weather associated losses, according to the company.
"Strategically expanding our presence helps meet demands for CAT services in areas where our customers will most urgently need it," Kett said in the Aug. 7 news release.
The CAT team has been in operation for over 30 years, according to IAA.
Last year, the IAA CAT response team was notably active due to a high number of weather related events, according to Kett.
"There were several significant hail storms in Texas, there was a really significant rain storm in Baton Rouge just about a year ago," Kett said in the phone interview. "In early August, 28 inches of rain fell within a very short period of time. There were thousands and thousands of vehicles that were underwater and therefore declared a total loss."
Kett added that Hurricane Matthew, which hit land up in the mid-Atlantic, was specifically memorable because it reached 4 or 5 states.
"It was nowhere near the size or scale of Sandy. 2016 was by far the most active year we saw in terms of weather related events," he said.
KAR Auction Services chief executive officer Jim Hallett said in 2013 that Superstorm Sandy was the most catastrophic event in IAA's history.
The company reported a total-loss of more than 50,000 vehicles following the United States’ second most costly hurricane.
In addition to preparedness, technology is vital to IAA's ability to effectively assist clients on short notice, Kett said.
"We need to do all the things that we do to help when we do process a vehicle for one of our customers," he explained.
The initial step of the processing process includes tracking damaged vehicles, recording them, and taking pictures of them.
"As part of our overall technology investment, we have a view towards making sure that the technology that we do deploy is flexible so that we can implement it in a way that we can use it very quickly because of the time sensitivity of responding to these things," Kett said.
Technology can make delivering support faster, easier and more efficient if it’s properly deployed, according to Kett.
"The combination of our broad physical presence and integrated technology solutions also helps us serve and expand our buyer-base and provide them with greater choice and convenience," added Kett.
Going back to the most recent news, IAA's six expanded facilities announced on Wednesday include IAA Indianapolis (Ind.); IAA Kansas City (Kan.); IAA Salt Lake City (Utah); IAA Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minn.); IAA Fredericksburg-South (Va.); and IAA Dothan (Ala.).
"The forecast for salvage volumes combined with the challenges of supporting our insurance customers during catastrophic events is driving the expansion activities in various Insurance Auto Auction markets," Hallett said during the company’s latest earnings call last week.
For more information about the expanded branches’ hours and locations, visit iaai.com/locations.