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How to Navigate the Flood Waters with Damaged Vehicles

Whether you’re a VP of claims or GM of a Dealership this can be a pretty stressful process, and the unknowns at this point may be weighing on you. As a CAT specialist I can tell you over the 3 decades we have been responding to hurricanes, we have learned that one insurance company’s outcome does not equal another’s or one dealership’s results are tragic while another’s seems to be a windfall. When looking at the many different ways a carrier or dealership can approach the sometimes overwhelming task ahead, to some, it is not so apparent the next steps. 


Most insurance companies have contracts with national salvage auctions, but many of the contracts have clauses that exclude a catastrophe. In most cases this means the fee structures and SLAs may not apply. This is not unlike many things in life — It’s not so much about what happened but what you do with it.


Know what your agreement says but more importantly contact your representative and get the schedule you will be charged. The response times of your vendors will likely be drastically affected while at the same time storage lots and body shops are charging premiums during this period.  It is import to understand the types of exposure for these delays. Another potential cost is if there is a need to secure additional storage you may be subject to higher handling fees and potential storage supplement fees


Slow down, this is not about how fast you move and do the same thing you have always done! This isn’t about having all the answers as much as it is about asking the right questions.


Some may be solely focused on simply getting the vehicle moved as quickly as possible and not so much on the returns when ultimately sold.  We understand, and can help with this first priority as well.  If your salvage vendor is overwhelmed, simply try Vemark and we can respond immediately.  However, we recommend talking now as it may be too late if you wait until your current partners realize they can’t respond.


Taking all the right things into consideration, you may want to take advantage of a sale method of what we’ve seen produce the best results, “bulk selling”. This allows you to take advantage of selling a large number, or all vehicles, in a given territory in one shot. This selling practice is usually done in segments by year and/or level of water within the vehicle. Historically, from Andrew to Sandy, I have seen the companies that make out the best selling their cars early, within the first 10-20 days.


This brings the most money for a few reasons:

1) The market isn’t flooded (no pun intended) in an overwhelmed auction environment 30 – 90 days later.

2) The cars can be taken by the buyer and processed before corrosion and depreciation occurred.  Preservation done early and the way that buyer knows it was done properly creates buyer confidence to bid more.

3) This process helps the insurance company or dealership truly capitalize on buyer expertise around evaluating flood level’s and % formula pricing models that work.

4) Ensure you have enough flood buyers that have been qualified to have the resources on hand to buy millions of dollars’ worth of flood vehicles in fewer sales.


Our team at Vemark have the catastrophic event management experience, process, technology and enough organized groups of flood buyers to run an efficient and competitive bidding process on the package all at once. If you have sold a package in the past and like your results, just think how well it would work to have your buyers included in the process we run. 


In many cases, these sales are done before all vehicles are identified, much less moved, to take full advantage of timing because today; time is on your side. Two weeks from now, it won’t be. All you need is 15-20% of the vehicles picked up to evaluate the average types of vehicles in the area, flood levels and types of water damage.


Our team will marshall the process: picking up and documenting condition, transporting, processing titles, and managing funds ensuring you don’t have to compete for attention with the big guys and get the most for your cars.


Call the  Storm Car Experts at Vemark at 561.392.6266 Ext 201 if you would like to discuss this, want advice or need a custom hybrid solution to take care of your CAT management needs.



Doug Mellette

CEO, Vemark LLC

Office: 561-392-6266 x201

Cell: 954.683.3593