Global leader in online vehicle remarketing and recycling, Copart UK, is facing its busiest two weeks ever as it deals with the effects of the recent storms. Jane Pocock, UK and Ireland managing director, said that “top of our agenda for at least the next two weeks will be processing high volumes of damaged vehicles in the aftermath of the triple storm event”.
She explained that, from today, claims will be registered with their insurance partners and instructions will go out to Copart’s 250-strong fleet of trucks to collect vehicles damaged by falling debris or by floodwater.
“We’re already coming off the back of a busy winter and the effects of the pandemic, but having been established in the UK for 15 years we have unrivalled nationwide operational capabilities and are well-prepared for the challenging weeks ahead. Copart UK has a well-established emergency response strategy in place, which enables us to rapidly recover and handle large volumes of vehicles following flooding or other extreme weather incidents. Our specialist Surge Management Team is always on standby to be deployed at short notice, using a wide range of mobile technology solutions to assess, image, and process vehicles on-site. We are also extremely fortunate to be able to call on our experienced global teams for additional support if needed.”
Jane added that other factors contributing to the surge in vehicles heading their way included more people being back on the road, a continued avoidance of public transport, a higher number of vehicles being written off due to bodyshops reaching full capacity, and buoyant used car prices due to the continued chip shortages for new cars. For flood-damaged vehicles, Copart UK has an exclusive partnership with Polygon Restoration, a specialist drying business, to treat the vehicles so they can be returned to their owners.
Water damaged vehicles are fully disassembled in a controlled environment, including removing carpets, upholstery, and trim to allow for further assessment and decontamination. Those that can’t be dried out (usually if water has reached the lower seat fob), and those with serious storm damage, are taken to one of Copart UK’s 18 operational locations to be auctioned or recycled for parts.
Jane noted that the focus tends to be on damage to buildings and homes during weather events, but the value of vehicles damaged and lost to these three storms will run into millions.
“The recent relaxation of Covid rules is a big plus, because we can rapidly increase the speed of operations, but it is going to be an intense fortnight ahead and our expectations are that throughput will increase significantly.”
Jane added: “In a normal year we handle around 500,000 vehicles which are auctioned via our national network of strategically positioned Operation Centres.”
Extreme weather events are set to become more commonplace as a result of climate change, Jane said, so Copart is likely to be dealing with regular surge events during the course of a typical year.