Hail mobile phone alert the hero of Australian innovation awards

August 21, 2012

Budget Direct’s Hail Hero, an SMS system alerting Australians to the threat of hail in their neighbourhood, is officially the insurance industry’s most innovative product, winning two prestigious awards back to back.

The latest in hail prediction technology outclassed all entries from competing insurers to take out the Most Innovative Product at the Australian Business Awards on July 31 and the Australian Insurance Industry Awards on August 16.

CEO of Budget Direct, Ram Kangatharan, said the double win was a direct result of the company’s depth of technology and product capabilities both in Australia and abroad.

“Winning two leading industry awards within such a short space of time showcases the global strength, agility and innovative culture Budget Direct has,” Mr Kangatharan said.

“Budget Direct draws on nearly 40 years' experience as a leader in world insurance markets, now bringing the best of this international know-how and the most up-to-date technology to Australia.

“These awards show we’re not only a leader in Australian insurance, saving our customers millions in insurance costs, we’re also at the forefront of improving our customer experience through technology innovation. “Australians expect and deserve great insurance services and products for a competitive price and this has been our mantra from the get-go.

“It’s astonishing that still only 10 per cent of Australians shop around for a better deal on their insurance, compared to 50 per cent of insurance customers in the United Kingdom.

“We think recognition of our innovation in Australia will encourage more Australians to shop around and get a better deal on their insurance.”

Mr Kangatharan said since its launch in November 2011, Budget Direct’s Hail Hero has tracked 894 hail storms and sent 288,879 SMS warnings to policy holders.

“This is the most precise and targeted hail prediction system of its kind in the country and customers should be asking if their insurance company does this for them,” Mr Kangatharan said.

“While the Bureau of Meteorology provides storm warnings to the public, they are more general in nature which makes it difficult for motorists to anticipate if they will be affected by a hail storm.

“Within five minutes of receiving a storm warning we are able send an SMS to affected policy holders giving them at least 10 minutes warning of an approaching hail storm.

“Hail damage can be a huge cost and inconvenience to our customers with the average cost of repairs reaching $5000, and many of these vehicles written-off.

“Budget Direct’s Hail Hero has given us a competitive advantage in that we can save our customers the hassle and expense of hail.”

The Australian Business Awards is a national program honouring organisations that demonstrate the core values of business and product excellence, and sustainability and commercial success in their respective industries.

Hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and founding partner Asia Insurance Review, the Australian Insurance Industry Awards unites all sectors of the industry to publicly celebrate the highest standards of excellence, professionalism and performance of individuals, teams and organisations.

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For further information or interviews please contact Brad Seymour, Director Partnerships & Communication, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8937  or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international Budget Insurance 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.

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