Blog » Life at Metromile

How I Built My Career: From Customer Experience to Data Analytics

At Metromile, we put our employees in the driver's seat with the opportunities and tools to turbocharge their careers. We’re also hiring!

At Metromile, we like to do things a little differently. (We are disrupting the auto insurance industry after all.) From offering drivers more fair and personalized pricing to streamlining claims with our AI-powered process, innovation is at the core of everything we do. 

Especially when it comes to our employees’ development.

Gone are the days of traditional career paths. It’s all about the career jungle gym now, and with how competitive job hunting is these days, it can feel like a free for all on the job-market playground! 

Career growth at other companies can be like one-way streets: there’s a clear line of sight that gets you to where you want to go, but there isn’t much room for venturing out or trying new things. At Metromile, all of the left turns, byways, and side streets are not only fair game but encouraged. We make it a point to provide Metromilers with a breadth of exposure and exploration to help guide them along their career journey, whether providing access to training courses to help move up in your current role or into a managerial role or hopping on over to an entirely different department. 

In this blog series, you’ll hear from some of our very own to get a taste of what’s possible with a career at Metromile.

Devin, Fulfillment Administrator

Metromiler since March 2019

At Metromile, we put our employees in the driver's seat with the opportunities and tools to turbocharge their careers. We’re also hiring!

What brought you to Metromile?

At the time, I was working at a consulting firm and didn’t enjoy the environment. It was a very competitive atmosphere where it felt like I had to fight my coworkers to secure clients. That was the means of growth and success. I attended a Metromile holiday party as a plus-one, and just from that one event, I felt like I fit in with the people — not just interest-wise, but I got the sense that everyone had this collaborative goal in mind when it came to their work. I felt, they wanted to help each other succeed. That was the turning point for me, and I applied to Metromile not long after that.

What’s your career jungle gym looked like?

I came in as a customer experience advocate. I went through the training, and Metromile helped get me licensed as an insurance agent — the whole shebang. At the time, the customer support team was much smaller than it is now, so we had to be very scrappy, and I learned very quickly. 

A few months later, my manager let me know there was a role being developed for someone to work with our finance team and supply chain manager for all things related to our Pulse device operations. I had been interested in that area of the business and had even started teaching myself some of those skills with the help of a couple of the analysts on our finance team. I got the role, and I’ve been in this fulfillment administrative role for over a year now.

How has it been expanding into this new territory?

It’s kind of rare to have somebody like me, with formal project management experience, switch to customer service. But that’s exactly what was needed for this position. I believe in our mission and love this company so much that I was willing to go out of my comfort zone to take on this new role and its responsibilities. I started doing some guided applied learning through a tool called Data Camp. And it’s not just the abstract learning — it’s a broad skill that I’m starting to get down, which has been really fun. Now I’m able to work on applied projects with it. I still come up against things where I have to seek help and answers from others but I have such a great network of coworkers. I feel like I’m doing something impactful for the company. 

At my previous company, no one cared as long as you did your job and what was asked of you. Here, I feel Metromile genuinely wants to help every employee realize their interests in order to take their career to the next level. I’ve had the freedom to craft my role based on my unique skills and passions, which I really appreciate. It’s one of my favorite things about being at Metromile. 

I really enjoy working on cross-functional projects with so many more people outside of my immediate circle, especially coming from the customer service field. On the flip side, I’ve really enjoyed being a resource or a point of knowledge to my colleagues. Metromile is technically larger than my previous company, but I feel like I have a greater impact here. 

What do you have coming up that you’re most excited about?

One of the things I think is so cool about Metromile is that we’re so data-driven, and I’ve wanted to learn more about data analytics. It’s interesting to understand how our customers drive and identify trends in driving habits. There is a big area of opportunity with the analytics available from the Pulse device that I’m excited to explore more of. 

I’ve also recently been bolstering up my work with engineering. Within my everyday work, I will sometimes catch something that could be improved. I’ll bring it to the engineering team, but instead of just taking it off of my hands right there, they’ll keep me in the loop and help me resolve the issue. 

It’s also been really interesting working with finance and seeing the big picture of our company. It helps inform my work and gives me that other perspective so that I have a holistic view of the business. Creating these kinds of cross-department solutions has been so important and helpful to furthering me in my career.

What’s been your favorite part of your Metromile experience?

To this day, I still think the people are the best part of Metromile. It’s been exciting to be a part of such a hands-on, collaborative culture and see the company grow. It’s so rare to find a workplace now where you can mesh with and you can truly feel like you can be yourself with; that was something I had never really had before Metromile. 

What advice do you have for Metromile candidates who may not come from an insurance background?

If you believe in what this company does and you’re willing to put in the work, just go for it. I don’t have any formal technical or finance background, yet here I am!

Interested in joining the Metromile team? Check out all of our open positions. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Experience the power of pay-per-mile auto insurance and see how much you could save by taking a Ride Along™. 

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Demi Greco has also been on the career jungle gym at Metromile. She is a communications specialist by way of a receptionist turned executive assistant.

Q&A with Metromile’s Sana Farrukh

Meet Sana Farrukh, software engineer extraordinaire and a member of our mighty Boston team. (Aside: the team is looking to grow!) Here Sana shares about her background, what drew her to Metromile, and why she likes holding down our fort on the east coast.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I am originally from Lahore, Pakistan. Back in 2015, I came to Boston for grad school and graduated from Tufts. My area of expertise is in computer networks, more specifically internal data center networks.

What interested you about Metromile?

There were a few things that compelled me to explore and advance my career with Metromile:

  1. The vast variety of interesting projects that Metromile offered based on the collected telematics data really spiked my interest. This is still a relatively new field, so there still is plenty of opportunity to explore even more interesting projects.
  2. It offered an entirely different domain, compared to what I had experience with, in academia. So I wanted to move into something different.
  3. As a small company with new, budding projects, Metromile offers the opportunity to work on projects from start to launch, not to be pigeon holed on one product or discipline. That means, too, that all my contributions are meaningful. 

 And now that I am here, it is also the people I work with and the amazing teams I’m part of, that makes me want to come in everyday.

As a software engineer, where specifically is your work focused right now?

So far I have been lucky enough to work on a few different projects: customer outreach, our analysis of driving behavior, mobile telematics integration (that is, syncing customers’ phones with their driving data). At present, my work is focused on making the new customer experience the very best possible one. This means ensuring that the customer receives consistent and coherent communication from us in their first few weeks and that their experience with the Pulse device is seamless.

Boston is a smaller office than our San Francisco and Tempe locations. Plusses and minuses?

Boston is indeed a small team, which is one of the things I love about our office. 

It is relatively quiet, which works best for me as I like to work in quiet environments. And being three hours ahead of San Francisco, we start early and get adequate time to work continuously before afternoon meetings start. 

Being a small team, everyone knows everyone. We often find ourselves taking a deeper dive into discussions about current teams, projects, interests both within and outside of work, vacation plans, pets, etc. Impromptu lunches often gather the whole office on one table — you can’t do that in a big office.

With everyone sitting close to everyone else, it is often effortless to seek guidance and help on tasks we need a second opinion on. Despite our size, we still have a good mix of folks from different teams, so we’re able to apply diverse expertise to problems.

What kind of person would you suggest consider working at Metromile?

Metromile is more than just an insurance company. It offers a unique combination of IoT, engineering, research, and, yes, insurance. Anyone who is interested in the intersection of those things should definitely look into Metromile.

A Q&A with our Customer (and Exotic Cat) Expert: Prentis Ginn

As Metromile’s Quality and Compliance Manager, Prentis Ginn wears a bunch of hats. The San Francisco Bay Area native holds a diverse set of responsibilities: liaising with regulators, implementing user feedback, and ensuring Metromile’s team members are delivering the best service possible. It’s a busy schedule, which Prentis has worked his way toward over nearly six years at the company, starting as a customer service agent and working his way up through quality assurance before taking on his current role. We asked him to offer a bit of insight into his world, both in and out of the office.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m originally from the San Francisco Peninsula. I went to Chapman University in southern California and after graduating, I moved to New York City and worked for a fashion and design startup. Then I moved back to San Francisco to work for Metromile. 

What initially drew you to Metromile?

Every startup likes to say they’re “disrupting an industry.” Metromile was the first company I interviewed with where I actually believed that. I think I met with around ten people during my interview. Best decision I ever made. I immediately fell in love with my team.

How has your role evolved over your time there. 

Being here for almost six years, my role has definitely evolved over time. I was initially brought in to build out our customer experience team. That morphed into quality assurance and looking out for our CSAT and NPS (two core customer service metrics). Now, as a member of our Legal and Compliance team, I coordinate our regulator inquiries and administer our contract management system, and regulatory and compliance platform. 

What do you think makes Metromile so special?

It’s a unique business model. And the career opportunity is special — I’ve gotten to take on a number of different roles here that I might not have elsewhere.

Your first job at Metromile was Sr. Customer Experience Advocate, which involves talking to customers every day. How has this influenced your career path?

Having the ability to quickly process information, strong communication skills, and a genuinely empathetic mindset — these are qualities I’ve taken with me to other roles. This passion has enabled me to empathize with our customer’s position and think outside of regulatory requirements when communicating with various Departments of Insurance.

To those in customer-facing roles, my advice is: you know more about our customers than anyone else. If you see opportunities for improvement, speak up! You are the subject matter experts.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I’m an exotic cat breeder…

Just kidding. 

However, I do have an exotic breed of cat called a Toyger. Other than that, I play Madden a lot. I play flag football on Saturdays with friends, I’m in five fantasy football leagues…I guess you can say I really like anything football-related. I’m a social butterfly, I’m always out and about on the weekends and I love carbs, sugar, and gluten.

Dream Job: Q&A With Metromile’s Sales Manager, Shannon Wright

Originally hailing from Washington State, Shannon Wright swapped the rainy Pacific Northwest for warmer temps in Arizona, unsure of her true calling, but enthusiastic to enter the working world. “I originally wanted to do broadcast journalism and then ended up with a public relations degree, but really had no idea what I wanted to do,” she says. “One of my good friends was a recruiter at a review company in Arizona and said I’d be great in sales. I really loved it!”

While Shannon had discovered a professional strength, after a few years in the position, she began to get curious about other opportunities at a new company making waves in the car insurance industry. “One of my really close friends was a manager in customer service at Metromile,” she says. “We’d be hanging out at girls’ nights and she’d just be raving about how much she loved her job. I was so jealous!” Wright liked going to work, but she began to wonder if she could ever really, truly love it. In her current role as Metromile’s sales manager, she definitely does.

“I volunteered to work a half day on the Fourth of July and some of my friends said, ‘oh no, that sucks,’ and I’m like ‘no, it’s okay, I’m excited to be with my team!’”

Here’s more about how this former sales wiz found her dream job. 

What was it like transitioning from your previous job into your first role at Metromile? They seem similar in the sense that both involve a lot of connecting with people. 

I had phone experience, but it was very different because I was now on the customer service side as opposed to sales. It was like starting over at square one as an entry level customer service agent, so that was a shock. I ended up being at Metromile for almost exactly a year before I was promoted to train all of our new sales hires, then our service hires — and I’ve even dabbled in claims training. I’ve joked that every four to 12 months, I do a different role here.

How many people did you train at a time?

Anywhere from four to 10 new hires in each class, but it really depends. The training is a month-long program so I was really going back to back for about a year before I switched into management. 

And how did that switch come about?

My current boss approached me about management and said he thought I’d be a great fit. I loved training, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to try it out and he encouraged me. So I was an agent for a year, then in training for a year, then I switched into customer service management, and I was in that role for seven months before I switched into sales management. So it’s really come full circle — I can’t get enough of sales!  

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day starts with coming in — that’s step one! — and then running a daily huddle with my team to get them super excited for the day, setting goals, and then just being there as a resource. I’ve known both sides of the business in customer service and sales, and here at Metromile, we do a lot of shadowing and coaching in the moment, so I’ll put on my headset and randomly listen to representatives’ calls live as they’re happening. I sit on the floor in the middle of the whole team so I’m there for coaching, and of course I have the typical one-on-ones with the agents once a week. Then there are also other team meetings. It’s really about me being a resource.

How would someone know if Metromile is a potential good fit for them?

Typically, if they’re driving less than 7,500 miles a year, we save them money, so that would be our major selling point. Metromile is really for low-mileage drivers — we can save them money because they’re not on the road much, so they’re not as much of a risk. That’s what keeps our prices down.

Why is Metromile such an awesome place to work?

There are so many advantages to working here. If I worked at a more rigid, non-start-up type of company, I never would have gotten promoted in my first year. Metromile is really good at developing employees as well as finding focus areas and things employees are good at to make those internal promotions, and I think that’s great.

It sounds cheesy, but I love our culture and this company. Whenever I talk to anyone, I’m now similar to the friend who brought me on board — I rave about how much I love Metromile!

* * *

Want to join Shannon and the rest of the team? We’re hiring in Arizona, San Francisco, and Boston.

A Q&A with Metromile’s Director of Talent Acquisition

When potential Metromile hires meet Jenn Hall, they’re likely not surprised to learn the six-foot-two director of talent acquisition used to play basketball. What they may not know is how her 15-year career on the court influenced her professional life today. “Basketball was all I knew — I was recruited into recruiting,” she says. “They told me tech recruiting was the hardest kind, so I said, ‘sign me up!’ I wound up applying the same fundamental methods that I used to become a D-1 basketball player: practice, commitment, and discipline.”

But the grit and determination Jenn developed as an athlete shaped her personal life as well. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, the Orange County native felt liberated to start embracing her authentic style — and her sexual orientation. “I came out at 23 and just wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin,” she says. “I had to figure out a lot, do a lot of self-discovery, and become more self-aware. It was challenging — when I stopped playing sports, I didn’t have distractions to cover up the other things in my life. Sports had always been my number one priority, so I had to figure out what motivates and inspires me — and I had to stop paying attention to what people were saying.”

It turns out that what inspired Jenn and continues to get her fired up to go to work each and every day is the opportunity to help others uncover their own unique strengths. “Staying strong wasn’t always easy, but It’s all about finding your voice.” We talked with Jenn to learn more about the ways discovering her identity helped contribute to her success and happiness.

How did you get your start in basketball?

I found my love for basketball when I was seven years-old, and that was really my first career. I played for 15 years. I started playing travel basketball when I was 12, and played through college — I was Division-1 at Vanderbilt. I could’ve gone to a lot of other schools but wanted to play in the best conference, the Southeastern conference, and get a degree. I chose a degree, known as Human and Organizational Development — this provided me the ability to pick and choose curriculum I was interested in, and could apply in the real world after school (Psychology, Communications, Organizational Structure & Processes).

Why did you pursue tech recruiting rather than a professional basketball career?

I had a lot of injuries — I had a broken bone in my foot, neck and problems, bad knees. I knew my shelf life would be super short. I also had a lot of friends in the WNBA who weren’t making money and were living at home and I didn’t have that option at the time.

You came out during that transition from sports to recruiting, right after college — tell us more about that time in your life.

It was hard. Really hard. I grew up in a conservative Christian household and it was not accepted. I had always been in a really good place with my parents and had talked to my mom like five times a day…and then didn’t talk to them for five years. It took a lot of patience and time. Basketball was my distraction and I was used to having to prove people wrong, so that was the mindset I had. I had supporters around me who made me feel like it was okay for me to be myself, like my best friend since seventh grade, Christina — I ended up recruiting her!

When did your family come around to your decision to embrace your true identity?

It was at my brother’s wedding seven years ago. It wasn’t easy and there were a lot of conversations. I was 23 years-old and couldn’t do it anymore. I very much hate lying and not being honest. But my family and I rebuilt our relationships and now we’re stronger than ever.

After college, you worked at Google, Hulu, Westfield, and OneMarket — how did you eventually find your way to Metromile?

I was laid off at my last job and realized it was really important to me to be surrounded by a team of people who truly cared about me.  People might think it’s super easy to find a job in my industry, but the hard part is that there aren’t a lot of companies I’d be proud to wear a hoodie for. It’s like being a basketball player and wearing a team jersey with a number on it; a lot of opportunities weren’t right for me. So I looked on Glassdoor and that’s when I applied to Metromile. I saw so many positive reviews of the leadership team, and even though I didn’t really know a lot about insurance, I saw that our CEO, Dan, is really into A.I. and data science, and I love tech — I’ve always loved tech. So I thought, ‘I’ll just apply, what’s the worst that could happen, they say no?’

But they didn’t! You got the job last August. Tell us about your role.

Right now I manage six people and I have one open role so I’ll have seven people in the next couple of months. I’m a career coach and manage executive recruiting, and as head of recruiting, my team does everything related to attracting, engaging, and hiring the talent we need to be successful as a company.  

How has your personal journey influenced your ability to manage employees and help people find their professional calling?

Being more self-aware has made me more aware of other people, which in turn lets me identify what they’re passionate about and what motivates them. I love being able to sit down and have conversations, sharing what I’ve done, and learning what inspires them. I can see where people can go and I like helping them get there.

You said the Panic! at the Disco song, “High Hopes,” reminds you of how embracing your identity paved the way for your success. Tell us more.

How doesn’t it? It’s like my anthem! The words are very poignant and relate to some situations I had to endure Like, “didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision.” I haven’t had anyone supporting me since I graduated from college and I had to get creative. I was selling my Jordan shoes on eBay to pay rent! It took time to get there. It hasn’t always been rosy and peachy, I’ve worked really hard. And when he sings, “mama said…” that to me is reminiscent of earlier parts of my career that were building blocks, not only to me as a person, but as a leader, and those situations made me even stronger than I ever could have been otherwise. As I went through my journey, I’ve been able to learn how to adapt and I’ve never stopped believing in myself and my abilities. As long as you have that, you can achieve anything.


Jenn and her team are hiring! Take a look at our open roles.

Committed to Innovation: The Master of Science in Data Science Program at the University of San Francisco

Here at Metromile, we are all about making car insurance more fair and less painful — some may call this a lofty goal. We know that all it takes to make auto insurance simple and seamless is a bit of data, some science, a lot of technology, and a dash of magic. From the outside looking in, revolutionizing the auto insurance industry may seem easy, but take a peek under our insurance hood, and you’ll quickly realize that it takes a lot of systemization to keep this engine running. And at a company whose whole mission is to reinvent ways to manage risk, it should come as no surprise that our Data Science team is constantly buzzing; building and testing new models and furiously working to analyze Metromile data to find new opportunities to fix how insurance is traditionally “done.”

pay-per-mile car insurance

Revolutionizing an antiquated industry is no easy feat. It takes a village – a village of brilliant humans that are constantly iterating and innovating. One of the best ways to foster a culture of innovation is to work with local University programs like The Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) Program at the University of San Francisco. It’s a win-win for both us, and the University because it gives students valuable business experience, and it gives us insight into new data patterns, trends, and opportunities.

The Program

The Practicum Program at USF pairs students with bay area companies, allowing them to apply their skills to gain experience, and reconcile mathematical theory with business practice. Each student is expected to create and refine a project with their partner company for 16 hours per week, while concurrently taking classes. This past Winter and Spring, we were lucky enough to have two USF students join us, Chenxi and Fang. They have spent the past six months trying to read mileage from odometer pictures, which can be used to correct the mileage measurements we receive from the Pulse device. This gets to the crux of what makes Metromile different from traditional insurers – we charge for insurance by the mile, so exact mileage is very important, and we are always looking for new ways to track mileage! Chenxi and Fang utilized some deep learning techniques, like the U-net model, in order to deal with object segmentation problems in computer vision.

The Project

During their time at Metromile, Chenxi and Fang applied state of the art techniques to real-world problems and gained experience using deep learning to solve computer vision challenges. Asking Chenxi and Fang what the most challenging part of their project was, they posited that the most taxing aspect was also what they learned the most from, “trying to solve a problem with limited resources and a relatively small dataset. We tried various ways to enlarge the dataset we have, as well as adjust the algorithms we used to overcome the issue.”

When asked whether or not they experienced a breakthrough moment, both Chenxi and Fang concluded. “There were several breakthrough moments during our work on this project, but the process is gradual and requires constant inputs and modification. The biggest challenge of our practicum was the project itself – extracting mileage from the odometer and correctly distinguishing that information from other similar numbers has turned out to be difficult. Luckily, our mentors have been patient and resourceful and have helped us a lot.”

One of these mentors, Chetan Ramaiah – a Data Science Manager here at Metromile – oversaw the internship program and recalled that Metromile had previously hired a 2016 participant of the program. It was the success from previous years that encouraged him to place Metromile in the program again. “The experiments conducted by Chenxi and Fang helped us identify a state of the art solution to a difficult research problem, and the process helped identify the various difficulties in modeling a solution to the problem. In addition, both Chenxi and Fang helped establish a benchmark on the quality of internship candidates.”

Internships at Metromile

According to Chetan, the project was a success.“The project adds a new dimension to Metromile’s mileage tracking abilities. The odometer project can independently verify and improve our mileage tracking from the Pulse and the OBD-II port.” Metromile looks forward to participating in the Practicum in coming years, and plans on taking on more Data Science and Engineer interns next summer. If you are interested in applying for an internship with Metromile please contact David Clifford, Director of Data Science (dclifford@metromile.com) or Mike Dicarlo, VP of Engineering (mdicarlo@metromile.com).

Welcome to Metromile’s New San Francisco Digs

We are finally all settled into our new San Francisco home and ready to show it off. Thanks to our friends at Geremia Design, we were able to transform an empty industrial space into a warm, open office with ample lounge areas and conference rooms. All with a Metromile touch to really make it our own!

New Metromile office

Photo: Cesar Rubio

 

Just like our customers, the majority of the SF Metromilers use public transit to get to work, so it was important to find a location convenient to multiple bus stops and train stations. And of course, it also needed to be easy to bike to. We were able to find a location that satisfied these requirements (bike racks and all!) and had a special surprise: a futuristic-looking facade that changes color at night.

New Metromile office

One of our goals at Metromile is to shake up the age-old insurance industry, so we wanted our interior office decor to reflect just that. This inspired us to include a few nods to old-school automobiles, but with a twist. We have a small antique car with a plant growing in it, a coffee table that doubles as a matchbox car display, a rearview mirror art installation and a conference room table that sits on car pistons.

New Metromile office

We wanted to tip our hat to our friends in the Tempe office, so we installed a large mural of a Route 66-esque road in the southwest. Other murals around the office invoke themes of travel, serving as reminders that Metromile is road trip friendly (our customers aren’t charged for driving over 250 miles each day) and motivation to get out on the open road. In other efforts to unite our fellow co-workers across the country, all of our offices (SF, Tempe and Boston) have conference rooms named after automobile influencers.

New Metromile office

One of the most important parts of the new office is the open kitchen that is large enough for the whole company to assemble in. No matter how big we grow, it’s always important that we can gather in one place to share and celebrate company successes. Or to start a friendly nerf-gun fight. During our office-warming party, it was a great place for guests to mingle with each other, and we expect to see many occasions like this in the future!