RAC in WA launches severe weather warning system

RAC insurance in Western Australia has partnered with UBIMET, an internationally recognised leader in meteorology and high precision severe weather warnings, to roll out its severe weather warning system. A customer survey showed that RAC benefits from an increased customer recognition and reduced damage volume because customers act upon alerts.

 RAC home insurance customers now receive timely, accurate and localised real-time warnings, which include actual and possible weather-related risks and recommendations on preventing or reducing damage. The warnings, which are customised to the insured addresses, are received via SMS and e-mail.

The rollout of the system across RAC’s home insurance portfolio follows a 2014 four-month trial, run during WA’s traditional storm season, starting in October and running through to April. RAC and UBIMET are committed to supplying RAC home insurance customers with timely and accurate weather warnings for the long term, with a multi-year agreement being reached.

Customer survey confirms the effectiveness of weather warnings

A customer survey conducted by RAC after three months of providing the severe weather service showed that 96 percent of respondents would choose to continue receiving severe weather warnings, with 74 percent of respondents acting upon alerts when they received them, and 77 percent forwarding the warning to family and friends, thus further maximising the reach.

Severe Weather Warnings help insurance customers to take preventive action

“Severe weather warnings which are timely, accurate and personalised to people’s locations help customers to take positive and proactive measures when faced with inclement severe weather,” says Mathew Muller, UBIMET’s Sales Director for Australia. “It also increases positive consumer contact and customer service and helps enhance customer retention.

“Insurance is perceived as an essential cost, but that is only of benefit in an emergency. Using UBIMET’s severe weather warnings, customers have a value-add service which means they can be reassured and take precautionary action before an incident may occur, protecting their assets which is great for both the insurer and the insured.”

UBIMET has worked with Austria’s leading insurance group, UNIQA, since 2004, providing warnings to customers in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia. UBIMET severe weather warnings are widely used in Europe and are the foundation upon which the business was established.

Warning LevelImportance
GreenNo warning active – “all clear”
YellowAdvance warning active. An issue occurs when the possibility of the event is not yet certain but has been noted.
OrangeThe warning is active for events where there is a low potential for damage
RedA much higher potential for damage and might have an impact on personal safety, especially for the vulnerable.
VioletThe highest warning level with very high potential for widespread damage and impact on personal saftey.

High-precision weather warnings with proprietary Lightning Detection System

A key feature of UBIMET’s service is its Lightning Detection System, a network of sensors that have been installed across the country and can accurately distinguish between lightning that strikes the ground and that which discharges within clouds.

“UBIMET has invested in the best people and technology available in the field of meteorology,” explains Mathew Muller. “For example, UBIMET owns and operates its own national, high precision lightning detection and tracking infrastructure, which has been a major project for us over the last two years. This gives us the advantage of not relying on other third-party systems, which can restrict weather service providers.”

The UBIMET lightning sensors utilise the latest technology, however, the infrastructure is only one part of detection. The analysis algorithms – the method by which the data received by the sensors is interpreted – result in superior detection efficiency and location accuracy.

“The science behind the UBIMET network is incredibly sophisticated and is being continually refined,” Muller continues. “Our meteorologists and our commercial partners have access to a lightning detection system that is able to accurately detect strikes to an accuracy of 100 metres and below, which has obvious safety and planning applications.”