Budget Direct celebrates major Asia-Pacific IT award by launching groundbreaking new car insurance website

June 22, 2006

Fresh from collecting an Asia-Pacific IBM System I General Manager's Award for Innovative On Demand Utilization in recognition for Budget Direct's use of IBM's System i technologies, the company this week launched its new look web site and on-line sales system.

The project incorporates two groundbreaking developments that are guaranteed to challenge the dominance of the company's less advanced car insurance competitors.

The new online sales system, which was created entirely by the company's award winning Brisbane-based in-house IT team, is the first in Australia to make extensive use of the AJAX programming technique, which unlike smart client technologies (e.g. Flash) that seek to replace HTML, empowers software developers to create highly interactive, desktop-like interfaces with standard HTML technologies.

Budget Direct's Director of Technology, Paul Matt said the company's goal from the outset was to make sure the on-line sales system met five criteria, that it was customer focused, secure, fast and robust while delivering an enhanced customer experience from the company's award winning On Demand infrastructure.

"Rather than purchase a middleware product from an external software developer, we chose to build it ourselves from scratch so we could be in charge of our own and end product... it allowed us to optimise every stage in the quoting and sales process rather than be constrained by the generic systems used by our competitors, which at best could be described as impersonal," Mr Matt said.

"The new online system is instantaneous, not needing to constantly update the quote or purchase pages with new information as you progress. It's also a more personal experience, for example eliminating re-keying by remembering information they've already entered and referring to the user by name as they progress through the process

Budget Direct's insurance application and underwriting process has always been a user-friendly, paperless practise for consumers, but never before has it been made so easy to purchase on-line," he said.

eCommerce General Manager Johnathon Kerr, who led the website side of the project, said the company appointed Australia's most award-winning website design agency, TribalDDB Sydney to make sure the new site was the most useful and attractive of it's kind in Australia.

"People are tired of spending hours trawling through bland, badly structured website content in an effort to make an informed decision about their car insurance provider," Mr Kerr said.

The website is the first Australian car insurance website to immediately provide the public with example quote prices, as well as actual customer examples of real money saved by switching insurance providers. Other vital elements of information about the company, its products and procedures are all one-click links from the homepage. The attention to detail, aesthetics and information architecture makes the new Budget Direct website the most simple, fast and informative website in its category.

"We also worked with ethical search engine optimisation company, Amplify to make sure the website attracts the search engine ranking it deserves. This is a vital element to the success of the project as more of the public who are unsatisfied with their current high price insurer turn to the web to shop around for a better deal." added Mr. Kerr.

To view Budget Direct's brand-new website and experience the user-friendliness the company's new online quoting and sales system visit http://www.budgetdirect.com.au.

About Budget Direct

Budget Direct is part of the Budget Insurance group of companies. Internationally, the group administers more than 3 million policies and $1 billion in premium income worldwide. The Australian business currently issues more than 4,500 policies to Australians every week, offering customers security and long-term protection.

All of Budget Direct's policies are underwritten by Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd. Auto & General is also part of the Budget Insurance group of companies and is an Australian Insurance company authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Australia (APRA). The company also holds an Australia Financial Services License.

For further information or interviews please contact Jonathan Kerr, Director, Marketing & Digital, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8801 or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international BHL Group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.