It’s 2021 and we’re well into the ‘new normal’ everyone talked about as we grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids are heading back to school. Employees are heading back to the office. That means rush hour is back too, which should be a wakeup call for carriers and customers.

Why? According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions police crash data, 47% of all U.S. auto crashes occur during weekday morning rush hour (6 a.m.-9 a.m.) and afternoon rush hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m.). With people getting back on the roadways in greater numbers during these critical times of the day, it’s important that you have the latest information on claims-related trends so you can prepare for the potential impact on your business. But there’s more to it than that.

Business as usual has disappeared

We’ve done extensive research on 2020 crash and police report activity and have noticed some interesting and unusual trends. Here are key highlights from our research:

  • Following the COVID-19 shutdowns in the spring of 2020, the percentage of crashes occurring during morning rush hour was down more than 19%, while percentage of afternoon rush hour crashes was mostly unchanged.
  • The lower percentage of accidents during the morning commute continues into 2021 with the first quarter showing that the percentage of rush hour accidents continues to be lower, down 18% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • Unlike the morning commute, in the first quarter of 2021 the percentage of accidents during the afternoon commute increased by 6%.
  • In Q3 2020, violations for driving more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit increased 26% compared to Q1 2020. In 2019, there was only a 2% increase during similar quarters.
  • For claims at all days and hours on 90-day settlements in 2020, bodily injury (BI) severity increased 14%. For 30-day settlements, severity during all days and hours in 2020 was up 4% for collision and 5% for property damage claims.

2020 was an unprecedented year in history, and it was for the auto insurance industry as well. Seemingly overnight, our business model was transformed to a virtual environment — accelerating automation adoption across the board. People were driving less but appeared to drive more dangerously. Claims activity was down, but the claims that were filed were more severe and more costly.

It hasn’t been business as usual on the roadways for the past year. As we enter something that feels a little closer to normal, and rush hour gets into full swing, it’s important that you have the facts in front of you so you can take the right steps to better assess risk.  It is important to be mindful of the higher risk when driving during the weekday rush hour to stay safer on the roadway.

How we can help

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has the largest data resources in the industry for crash reporting. We use that data not only to fulfill orders for crash reports but also to provide you with insights that can help you make the best business decisions.

Nothing is constant but change. The importance of staying on top of changes cannot be over emphasized. We’re here to help you do that by providing insights based on volumes of quality data and solutions that enable you to more easily manage change as it comes in an increasingly virtual, automated and ever-evolving environment.

*This article was updated on 8/31/2021 to reflect updated data trends from LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ research on 2020 crash and police report activity.