Insurance industry veteran Bill Chval recently joined Metromile as our vice president, enterprise sales. While he may be a new team member, Bill had known Metromile since our earliest days, when we had fewer than 15 employees in a tiny office in Redwood City, California.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I started my career in the treasury bond options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade. Sales had always been a passion of mine. As a longtime athlete, I love to compete; and I think the two go hand-in-hand.
I had the opportunity to learn about the property and casualty insurance industry while at CCC Information Services selling estimating software. From there, I moved into the services side of the industry. Both stops in my journey were invaluable in the early stage of my career because I learned how important it was to apply a consultative approach to sales.
You’ve had a lot of experience in car insurance technology long before “insurtech” existed. What were the early days of insurtech like?
When I started in 1996, 30% of estimates were still written by hand. The other 70% were written in a DOS-based estimating platform with no communication tools. Customers would have to take physical photos and mail them to the company. Physical file storage was on-site in warehouses. The average auto claim cycle time was more than 20 days. Compare that to today: a customer can take photos on their phone, upload them to their carrier, and have their claim handled in hours, especially when using Metromile’s technology.
Based on your vast industry experience, what’s an important area of focus people often overlook?
Customer engagement is critical since the insurance market is hypercompetitive. Many insurance carriers invest a significant amount of their budget and energy selling and onboarding new customers. In some cases, they forget to support current customers, which causes them to wander during periods of uncertainty. In order to retain customers and ensure their satisfaction, it’s important to offer solutions with a holistic and scalable approach. Carriers often miss key opportunities to connect during a policy’s lifecycle, leaving them with lower renewal rates.
What attracted you to Metromile?
Metromile’s talent, technology, and vision. As a Metromile business partner for the past six years, I’ve been fortunate from the early days to have a front-row seat to the company’s evolution and the power of AVA. Knowing Metromile’s claims team on the consumer side gives me so much confidence in Metromile Enterprise; I’m thrilled to be part of articulating it to traditional insurers.
I also love the team; the energy we have here is amazing. The team possesses key qualities needed to win: a relentless drive, a tactical approach, and the ability to deliver consistent value.
What do you see as the big opportunities for our enterprise team?
Customer engagement and digital payments are hot topics. Most carriers do a good job sourcing partnerships, but a below-average job enabling them. Presenting a solution that provides an “out of the box” touchless roadmap with business processes with little to no customization is a game-changer. Carriers heavily invest in multiple partnerships. I won’t name names, but a few big players are all segmented and have their workflows with multiple touchpoints. The process is not repeatable, and outcomes vary with too much uncertainty. With Metromile Enterprise, we’ll simplify that web and produce the consistent outputs these carriers don’t just desire but will demand in a post-COVID-19 world.
Do you see traditional insurers accelerating their digital roadmaps amidst COVID-19?
We’re going through a challenging time for our industry, but it’s also the biggest opportunity we’ve ever had. Since COVID-19, digital strategies have accelerated, and carriers are looking at claims transformation much more aggressively. Carriers that didn’t have a digital plan, do now. Those that had dipped their foot in the digital pool are now jumping in. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to join Metromile. We can shepherd these carriers through massive transformation easily and painlessly.
You’ve spent your careers motivating large sales organizations. In your experience, what makes a good sales leader?
Six skills: vision, high energy, organization, patience, passion, and a consultative approach.
How do you define success in sales?
Success is not only defined in the wins, but in terms of long-term relationships and partnerships. I have customers who I have done business with for 20 years. It’s important to consistently provide solutions to your customer that not only add value today but position them for success in the future. One of the greatest compliments is to have customers look at you as their industry consultant. The Metromile Enterprise team’s relationship with Tokio Marine is a great example: the team has done an impressive job building a relationship with Japan’s largest property and casualty insurance group, and it’s grown over time into a true win-win for both companies.
Just as important: how do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I love fitness, working out, Spartan races, basically anything competitive and challenging. It probably goes back to playing sports most of my life, especially playing college baseball. I also enjoy coaching my daughters’ sports teams. And, I look forward to traveling again with my family once we’re able to do so!
I also love cars. My first car was a project with my father: a 1965 Chevy Malibu Super Sport — fire engine red!