Repairable appraisal counts in November 2020 versus November 2019 remained down nearly 20 percent, but showed a modest improvement coming in at -18.7 percent decline versus a -19.6 percent decline in October 2020. COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to climb, as the third wave of the pandemic continues to affect most of the country. Data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows the Midwest, Southeast, and California have been hit particularly hard. Not surprisingly, with California now issuing shelter-at-home directives again in its large metro areas, and Illinois, New Mexico, Washington and other states reversing re-openings of indoor dining and bars, these states continue to see claim counts down the most for the month.
South Dakota (up 1%), Louisiana (up 7%), and Mississippi (up 24%) were the only states to see actual increases in monthly repairable appraisal counts – with weather again driving up overall volume. Areas like Gulfport-Biloxi in Mississippi and Fort Polk South in Louisiana were hit particularly hard. In fact, the entire Southeast saw increases in comprehensive total loss valuation counts in November as Tropical Storm Eta brought substantial wind, rainfall, and flooding. Eta was the 28th named storm of the 2020 season and the first to make landfall in Florida this year.
AAA predicted a 10 percent drop in Thanksgiving travel this year due to COVID-19, yet data from StreetLight Data showed vehicle travel was down only 5 percent on Thanksgiving Day versus 20 percent early in November.
Overall claim counts remain down 20 percent year-to-date through November; excluding comprehensive, which are down 24 percent. With the CDC recommending people not travel during the upcoming December and New Year’s holidays, it is unlikely claim counts will recover substantially during the final month of the year. As we look forward to early CY 2021, promising news on several vaccines suggest we will start to see some improvement in travel during the second half of the year, which should lift claim counts up over CY 2020, but likely keep them below where they were in CY 2019.