The following statement was provided by USAA and IAA to ABC News “The Lookout” on July 29, 2013:
“USAA strongly supports policies and practices that protect consumers from buying a totaled vehicle with a falsely obtained clean title. We are deeply concerned that despite controls, consumers remain at risk.
USAA strives to do the right thing for its members, especially following major catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy. We processed more than 4,000 total loss vehicles in the aftermath of Sandy with the goal of expedient claims resolutions for our members. In this particular case, the title was lost after the member sent it. Rather than go back to the member and request a duplicate title during that difficult time, we opted to proceed with a parts-only sale. Consistent with our process, we notified the Insurance Services Office that the vehicle was a total loss.
It was never USAA’s, or our salvage contractor, Insurance Auto Auctions’ (IAA), intent that this vehicle be offered as anything other than a total loss, parts-only sale once the title was lost. That is what we documented in the sale instructions to IAA, and that is how IAA publicly advertised the vehicle – as a parts-only vehicle.
USAA and IAA are looking at every step in our transfer process to better ensure a vehicle bought for parts-only cannot be re-titled. We are concerned that a duplicate title was obtained fraudulently after the parts-only sale. However, we have no control once the car is sold. This incident highlights there may be a need for more stringent controls to protect consumers.”