Repairable appraisal counts in October 2020 were nearly 20 percent lower than in October 2019. This was an improvement from September 2020, when repairable appraisal counts were down -22.7 percent. Year-to-date repairable appraisal counts are still down nearly -22 percent versus the first 10 months of CY 2019. Only two states saw a slight uptick in repairable appraisal counts in October 2020 – South Dakota (up 3 percent) and Louisiana (up 8 percent).
South Dakota was one of several states in the upper Midwest hit by a winter storm on October 20th that left the area covered with nearly a foot of wet, heavy snow. Louisiana meanwhile has been hit by no fewer than five tropical storms and hurricanes this year, with Hurricane Delta and Hurricane Zeta hitting the state in October. Aon Benfield noted Zeta was the record 5th tropical storm to make landfall in Louisiana in a single season – the first instance on record of a state to have 5 storms din a single season dates back to 1851.
Excluding comprehensive losses, overall claim counts (repairable appraisals plus total loss vehicle valuations) remain down -24 percent year-to-date through October. Non-comprehensive repairable appraisals remain down over 25 percent, while non-comprehensive total loss claims are down only -18.6 percent year-to-date. The percent of claims that are total loss continues to trend up, with total loss frequency up to 21 percent of all losses Q3 2020 versus 18.7 percent in Q3 2019. Higher total loss frequency with a higher share of claims that are non-driveable continue to underscore how COVID-19 has changed accident types.
With the U.S. reporting more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, predictions of a winter wave of the virus appear to be coming true; plans to bring more students back to school full-time or employees back to office will likely be stalled further. Additionally, U.S. unemployment claims have not improved significantly in the last several weeks. With many fewer drivers on the road each day driving to work, driving kids to school, or because they are unemployed, the likelihood of significant increases in accident and claims counts in Q4 are looking even more unlikely.