Latest Technology Delivers Warning in Time for Storm Season

November, 2011

Just in time for storm season A&G Insurance services signature brand Budget Direct has launched Hail Hero, a Hail Automated Notification System that is unrivalled in its ability to predict damaging hail.

Two years in development this newly created software application will alert Budget Direct motorists via text message when there is a high probability of hail in their area - hail damage is a major concern for motorists and a multi-million dollar cost to the insurance industry.

Director of IT for A&G Insurance Services Paul Malt said we wanted information that was more targeted and precise to what is generally available from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The BOM are required to send out storm warnings although due to complexities are more general in nature.

“Our innovative system looks at the reflectivity in the different storm levels using radar images to gauge the size and height of ice in a storm cell. It then makes a decision on whether that hail will survive a fall to the ground and be damaging. The catalyst behind Budget Direct Hail Hero was to produce a system that predicts hail of a damaging size, which is approximately 2cm at ground level”, Mr Malt said.

Hail Hero was developed in conjunction with an external weather specialist and the recent spate of storms across Queensland and New South Wales have allowed Budget Direct to tweak and adjust the system in preparation for its release.

“We are confident of its capabilities and are now starting to utilise the system. We have already sent out approximately 65,000 text messages and have had some great responses from our customers”, Mr Malt said.

A&G are in partnership with a number of companies including Virgin Money and believe this system will further improve the experience for customers of the brand.

“This is another example of us implementing clever technology to help our customer. It also offers a benefit beyond just insurance – currently only one in 10 people get a benefit from owning an insurance policy - we aim to offer more benefits to our customers”, Mr Malt said.

At present the system capabilities allow for thousands of text messages to be sent at once with five minutes or more of warning time before hail actually hits the ground.

“Our goal is to give our customers enough time to move their car when damaging hail is approaching. From a safety perspective we don’t want people moving their car during a hail storm. So unless we can give a minimum of five minutes warning we won’t send out alerts.

“Hail Hero is a true research and development project and we are only beginning to discover and utilise it capabilities. We want to make it smarter and as technology improves and as people embrace the whole concept of location awareness we’ll work on multiple addresses for clients, so where their car is parked at night or through the day and in the future possibly even link it to the location of their mobile phone if customers wish.

There’s plenty of room for growth and we consider ourselves to be the leader in this technology, as far as we understand no other Australian insurance provider has the capabilities we have, which is a real benefit to both us and our customers”, Mr Malt said.

About Budget Direct

A&G’s signature brand Budget Direct is fast approaching 11 years in operation as one of Australia’s leading insurance providers.

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

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.