Reflecting On The 2018 Hurricane Season

November 29, 2018 | John Kett

Summary

John Kett, IAA CEO and President, reflects on the 2018 Hurricane Season that was, and how IAA's steadfast focus on continuous improvement has paid off for its customers.

As I reflect back on the past six months, I am proud of our ability to be fully prepared for catastrophic weather events.  This year we had to manage storms that developed and rapidly intensified in a short span of time. IAA consistently delivered this hurricane season in terms of space, transportation and human resources, and in each case, we fully prepared for significantly larger events. Our steadfast focus on continuous improvement has paid off.  Each event provides us with an opportunity to assess, build and refine. I see this clearly in our stats on preparation.

  • Hurricane Lane | Category 5 – With the added logistical challenge of being located well over 2,000 miles from the US mainland, IAA secured nearly 150 acres, more than 400 tow truck commitments and 200 IAA volunteers well in advance of the storm’s impact.
  • Hurricane Florence | Category 4 – Initially posing a major threat to the entire southeast region but ultimately severely impacting the Carolinas, in less than one week IAA secured nearly 1,100 acres, over 1,300 tow trucks, and more than 400 dedicated IAA volunteers to assist with the effort.
  • Hurricane Michael | Category 4 – The third strongest storm to make US landfall on record, IAA had to react on the heels of Hurricane Florence and secured ample space, tow trucks and IAA volunteers across the affected area of Florida.

In addition to innovating how we prepare for catastrophic weather events, IAA also focuses on daily operations to ensure quick and efficient management of the entire vehicle disposition process. We identified a significant opportunity for enhancements in the transportation of vehicles during a catastrophic event.  We knew that if we transformed this process, it would deliver reduced cycle time and greater transparency to clients.  I am especially proud of the innovation and advancement we had this year in terms of transportation with the introduction of auto-dispatch capabilities within our exclusive IAA Tow App™.

Our primary goal every day is to transport assets to our facilities in the fastest manner possible.  In a severe weather event, when vehicle volume dramatically increases, the need for efficiency and speed accelerates.  The IAA Tow App helped us mobilize and automate a historically cumbersome, paper-driven assignment process all within a smart phone application.  It helps ensure our towing partners can effectively manage their assignments and loads.  Simply by accelerating recoveries, we can inventory, process and auction total loss vehicles faster to help our customers monetize their assets in their normal claims process as well as during catastrophes.

The official hurricane season will end November 30, and thus far, there have been 15 named tropical storms and hurricanes for the North Atlantic, and 21 named tropical storms and hurricanes for the eastern North Pacific.  This year’s hurricane season had a few notable elements including:

 

 

As this season comes to a close, we know every catastrophe is different and we will examine the lessons learned from each event to prepare for the future.  IAA’s dedicated team will continue to assess and improve our catastrophic weather response and when a major weather event hits in the future, we will be there to ensure the residents of affected areas can quickly recover and rebuild.  This is simply part of our commitment to our clients, what we do for our communities and a part of our culture.

 

Sincerely,

John W. Kett
CEO and President