A little more than a century ago, The New York Times ran a brief article detailing the commotion at a horse auction held at old Madison Square Garden. It was1909, and alongside more than two dozen equines that were put up on the block was a lone automobile. As though it was a horse, the car was led out with a halter attached, and the auctioneer called out its full pedigree, including dam, sire, age, and mark.

According to the article, it was “the first time that a motor car intruded in such a manner on the premises where horse is king, and the invasion was hailed with derision,” later described as jeers, laughter, and hoots of a thousand horsemen. But we all know how things turned out for the automobile.

A Virtual Revolution

Flash forward to the present, and another technological sea change is again revamping the way things are done. This time instead of the automobile replacing the horse, it is live virtual auctions replacing physical, in-person auctions. Not only is this change revolutionizing auto auctions, it is changing how insurance companies manage the disposition of salvage vehicles acquired as part of the claim settlement process.

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