Blog » Metromile News

Behind the Scenes with Shazan Ashroff, Metromile’s New Vice President, Product Growth

Shazan Ashroff joins Metromile as VP of product growth

Many people love their cars, but few love their auto insurance.

It’s our mission to change this. We’re reimagining insurance to make it fairer and delightful. It’s why we’re obsessed with providing savings, great service, and smart driving features you’ll actually want to use.

Shazan Ashroff recently joined Metromile as our new vice president, product growth. He previously led product management and user experience efforts at leading consumer brands, including Tinder and TrueCar. 

At Metromile, Shazan’s focus is bringing pay-per-mile insurance to even more people and bringing our experience forward to make auto insurance something you’ll love.
We spoke with Shazan about why he decided to join Metromile and what might be ahead for Metromile and the automotive industry.

Shazan, what should people know about you?

I am a student of martial arts and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt. I consider myself blessed to have trained with some incredible professors over the past two decades. I bring the practical philosophy they have bestowed on me to how I lead growth and user-experience product management teams.

It takes more than 10 years to achieve a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu, and when one finally achieves it, they realize they are simply beginning their journey. I view product management in the same way. 

There are always new problems to solve, industries to disrupt for the better, and challenges around the corner. It’s why I love product management, as it closely resembles the obstacles I face on the mat as I train jiu-jitsu.

We learn to escape submissions in jiu-jitsu, and as product managers, we learn to find solutions to problems that present themselves.

You joined Metromile from one of the world’s most popular dating apps. What can insurers do to create a more engaging or exciting experience?

Insurance has long been a set-and-forget commodity. It’s time to change that.

I believe it all starts with creating a feedback loop and building engaging experiences. Drivers should want to interact with Metromile and use our features. 

With pay-per-mile auto insurance, we can make insurance equitable with a usage-based model. Then, when drivers see the savings compared to the outdated flat-fee models, we can engage them with features that make it easier and less stressful to own or drive their cars.

I think that’s what we’re doing at Metromile: People come for the savings, but they stay for the experience.

What interested you the most about Metromile?

The people I work with have been phenomenal. We are all passionate and driven to make Metromile available to more drivers so that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from more personalized auto insurance. Our fight for equity is inspiring.

What are you most excited to work on at Metromile?

Metromile has a lot of opportunities to grow. If I had to pick, I’m most excited about helping more drivers understand why they’re a fit for Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance and creating an experience that makes it super easy to connect with us. 

I see how Metromile can connect with people in my driving habits. I now work from home at Metromile, and there are millions of people like me who will continue to work from home at least part of the time. I’m confident we are the insurer for them. 

I’m also excited about the opportunity to define our mobile app. I’m looking forward to contributing my perspective from outside of the insurance industry throughout the user experience.

Earlier in your career, you spent a lot of time in the automotive industry. Did you learn anything interesting about cars or the relationship people have with their cars?

I spent more than six years in automotive tech, and I loved every minute of it. I am a car enthusiast myself, and I find car enthusiasts are some of the most passionate people I’ve met.

Many people see their car as an extension of their identity. Cars can become the ultimate form of self-expression because you can customize them in any way or form you’d like. Now, I’ve come full circle, working at a company making insurance just as customizable.

Most importantly, how do you spend your time?

I spend most of my time with my family. Pool time is a must with my kids as they are learning to swim. I spend the rest of my free time with my wife and jiu-jitsu training.

Speed round:

Are you a better driver or passenger?

100%: I’m a better driver than a passenger.

What are you listening to in the car these days?

It depends on who I’m driving with. When I’m with my daughter, we have the Black Eyed Peas’ “Translation” album. She loves the song “Feel the Beat.”

With my wife, it’s usually the latest Latin and reggaeton hits. When I’m driving alone, I’m listening to 90s West Coast hip hop.

Do you have a favorite road trip you like to take?

I love the drive up to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles along the ocean. Honestly, anything by the sea works for me.

Interested in building the future of insurance? Shazan and the rest of Metromile are hiring in Boston, San Francisco, Tempe, Arizona, and the rest of the country.

Digging Into the Potential Impact of Washington State’s Credit Ban on Your Insurance Rates

Washington credit ban affecting insurance rate

At Metromile, we’re constantly striving to make insurance fairer and more personalized. We believe insurance should be based on your own actual driving and not everyone else’s.

If you live in Washington state, you might be wondering why your rate went up when nothing’s seemingly changed on your end — no parking tickets, no accidents, and no policy or coverage changes.

Why did my auto insurance rate increase?

Many factors might have impacted the price you pay for auto insurance, including new state regulations. 

Earlier this year, the Washington Insurance Commissioner issued an executive order to ban the use of credit-based insurance scores as a factor in determining insurance rates.

Drivers may have received a lower rate or discounted auto insurance because they have a good or excellent credit history. Now, their rates may increase because of the credit score ban. Similarly, car insurance customers with lower credit scores may now see lower rates.

What is Metromile doing about the credit score ban?

As a values-driven company, we applaud efforts to increase equitability for everyone, and we believe Washington state’s credit score ban is an important step forward. The use of credit-based insurance scores is already banned in seven other states, and we hope other states will take steps to make insurance fairer.

Nevertheless, we know it’s frustrating to get a rate increase. We hear you. We’re drivers too, and we don’t like to see our insurance rates go up either.

As a leading auto insurer grounded in data science, we believe our technology and the billions of real miles driven we’ve analyzed enables us to be at the forefront of creating a level playing field in insurance. 

We envision creating even fairer, more individualized pricing based on how people drive. Pay-per-mile auto insurance, and the savings that can come with it, are just the start. 

Our telematics technology, combined with continued vehicle safety advancements and the growing trend of cars becoming safer and more autonomous, can be a powerful combination.

Over the coming months, you’ll be hearing more from us on the progress we’re making. In the meantime, if you’ve recently received a rate increase, feel free to contact us
We can review your policy and share options that might help lower your insurance rate.

Behind the Scenes with Colleen Qiu, Metromile’s New Vice President, Data

Metromile is more than an insurance company: We are a data science company. We believe we can use data and technology to help make being a driver or car owner unexpectedly delightful.

Colleen Qiu has dedicated her career leading analytics, artificial intelligence, and data science teams at some of the largest companies, including Tesla, Poshmark, and Albertsons, to put people first. We are excited Colleen is joining Metromile to help us provide fairer and more personalized insurance to even more drivers.

We asked Colleen what she is most excited about as a new Metromiler, including what’s ahead for Metromile, electric vehicles, and how we’ll get around in the future.

Colleen, what should people know about you?

I am always intrigued by how simple ideas can lead to great products and businesses; for example, the idea of transitioning to sustainable energy led to Tesla’s success today. To turn a simple idea into a great product, however, is not as simple. 

I enjoy being part of a mission-driven team, working hard with focus, and performing with high standards and perseverance. My career is centered around data, which often can help simplify situations and remove subjectivities. 

Separately, my father always encouraged my sister and me not to limit ourselves because of gender. I’ve been advocating for reducing the gender gap in technology and have been a part of the Women in Tesla and Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network at Albertsons employee resource groups. I look forward to similar opportunities at Metromile.

What did you learn from your experience at leading brands, such as Tesla, Albertsons, and Poshmark?

There are common themes despite the industry differences. First, we are at a time when technology is rapidly changing how we live, work, and entertain. Technology now involves more and more data and AI, creating transparency, intelligence, automation, and optimization in almost all business areas. Data can enable us to understand our customers better and guide how we put data to work for them. It’s essential when building robust products and customer experiences

Second, being customer-centric is core to a brand’s long-term success. Tesla relies on word of mouth and customer referral instead of marketing. Albertsons has high standards for minimum “lovable digital products,” and Poshmark is building a loving social community. 

Common in my career is the aim to delight customers and build engaging relationships with customers. The more we do so, the more value customers will have. People want simplified yet personalized experiences.

Why did you decide to join Metromile?

When I turn on the TV, I always see ads from insurance companies. However, as an insurance customer, I haven’t yet experienced any improvements when shopping for insurance policies or taking care of car repairs

The innovation in the insurance industry is at its beginning, and Metromile can be that disrupter. Inevitably, technology and data are keys to success here. I would love to help Metromile reshape the insurance industry.

What are you most excited to work on at Metromile?

I am most excited about working with Metromilers to drive lower costs, build an easier claim process, and make insurance a joyful safety net for drivers. 

AI and data have been the foundation of Metromile. Continuously applying new algorithms on a high-performance data platform to drive growth is exciting.

What opportunities do you see ahead for Metromile?

We are working on lowering costs and building a better customer experience by leveraging technology and data at Metromile. 

When a customer needs insurance, we’ll make it easy and fast to get a policy. When they have an accident, we’ll work hard so that our response will be timely and smooth. We have many opportunities to provide drivers peace of mind after an unfortunate accident and deliver repairs at a lower cost and time without sacrificing our high-quality standards.

Next, we’ll figure out how to cover full self-driving cars and shared car ownership with potentially different pricing models.

What do you think is the future of mobility?

In recent years, clean and sustainable energy has led to better battery technology and the broader adoption of electric vehicles globally. With the development of electric vehicles, autonomous driving is developing incredibly quickly. 

I think we will see a significant increase in passenger trips completed through autonomous driving rather than by humans. Tesla has data showing that autopilot and autonomous driving are often safer than human drivers. 

Technology also makes vehicles more of a moving smart device. Our cars could provide directions, relay messages, play music, or schedule repairs. It can also receive over-the-air software updates to take care of issues at a massive scale in near real-time. 

Driving is becoming environmentally friendlier, safer, and easier. Separately, the rise of the sharing economy and other transportation, such as electric bicycles and scooters, are likely to reduce total driving over time. The COVID-19 pandemic also reduced driving by transitioning many people to work-from-home or flexible work schedules. It changed how we work, and now, a low or no-commute lifestyle is feasible and widely acceptable. I believe all of these changes will further reduce how much we need to drive, making pay-per-mile insurance relevant and helpful for even more drivers.

Most importantly, how do you spend your time?

I enjoy learning about various cultures from different parts of the world through reading, vlogs, and social media. 

As someone who grew up in the East, I am often reminded of the cultural differences, especially whenever I travel back to China. It also reminds me how important diversity and inclusion are and how they can benefit us.

Besides spending time with my family, I also enjoy learning new skills from my kids. In the last year, my son taught me how to skateboard, and my daughter is teaching me a little bit of baking.

Speed round:

Are you a better driver or passenger?

Driver. Driving in my Tesla is easy and fun.

What are you listening to in the car these days?

I listen to Spotify or podcasts. In the morning, I usually listen to Wall Street Breakfast or some Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Do you have a favorite road trip you like to take?

A road trip in Italy, including the Tuscany region, would be lovely. I have stayed in Florence and traveled around Italy on trains before; it would be a nice area to take a road trip.

Behind the Scenes with Metromile’s New Senior Vice President, Growth Troy Dye

Metromile’s new Senior VP of Growth, Troy Dye

Metromile offers people more choice and control with their auto insurance and experience as drivers. We want people to have insurance that’s fairer and real-time based on how much you drive, which is why we started with a pay-as-you-go model.

Troy Dye, a Metromile customer and Capital One marketing veteran of more than 20 years, will join our community as the new senior vice president, growth, to bring pay-per-mile insurance to more drivers. Troy is eager to help drivers enjoy a better experience and more value from their insurance company.

We asked Troy why he decided to become a Metromiler, and the opportunities for growth he thinks are ahead.

What should people know about you, Troy?

The first and probably most important thing is I’m a big believer that good ideas can come from anywhere. I don’t think anyone has a monopoly on good ideas, and I think that it’s my job, and our company’s job, to really gather as many good ideas as we can and then put them together in novel ways. It’s important to me because it is a foundational element of team culture and starts to structure how we solve problems as a group.

Next, I believe there’s no such thing as a “normal” person. Normal is a mathematical construct that makes sense with large audiences, but it doesn’t exist at an individual level. Is anyone perfectly average at everything? If you can get away from the idea that something is or isn’t normal, you can start to learn a lot more. 

Do you take that same approach to work?

I’m a big fan of weird, and not only because I’m a weird person. I think weird makes for better marketing because you start looking at both the similarities and differences in people and embrace uniqueness. Again, if you can get away from what’s “normal,” you can land on something unique and novel, and that’s where greatness happens.

Why did you decide to join Metromile? 

I am a Metromile customer, so I’ve seen firsthand how the company sets itself apart. I’ve really connected personally with everyone I’ve met at the company and feel like we have an incredible diversity of thought on the team. 

I also think the product has a clear purpose and is truly a better option for many drivers

Finally, I like brands that zig when everyone else is zagging. I’ve always been a fan of challenger brands because they’re more nimble and hungry than big incumbents. 

What opportunities do you see ahead for Metromile?

Companies can get trapped in believing they have to appeal to everyone to grow. Instead, I think some of the best product development, marketing, and the best strategy comes from finding a real focused problem and solving it in a highly compelling way. 

Metromile is doing that by solving real problems for low-mileage drivers, and that segment is growing each year as people change their lifestyles and how they drive. There are more low-mileage drivers to serve, and it’s only going to get bigger.

I think one of our big opportunities is learning how to quickly and concisely explain what pay-per-mile insurance is and isn’t. When you create a truly new product category, consumer understanding is one of your primary hurdles to adoption. The more we test and learn our way into that answer, the more we will grow our community of drivers.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a fairly adventurous renovator and woodworker, and I am always amazed at how much you can find and teach yourself. Early in my career, I actually bought a house, stripped it down to the studs myself, and renovated everything except for the plumbing, all with the help of books and the internet. Home improvement remains my go-to activity for both stress relief and calming my mind.

Speed round:

Are you a better driver or passenger?

Driver. I can’t stand being a passenger.

What are you listening to in the car these days?

Right now, I’m not driving much. When I do, I listen to a rotation of dubstep, indie folk, and podcasts, but mostly dubstep. And no, I can’t dance — at all.

Do you have a favorite road trip?

I have historically traveled a lot for work, so when I have time off with my family, we like to hang out in generally quiet and tranquil settings. We’ve made a tradition of a summer trip to Smith Mountain Lake, a giant but very quiet lake about three hours from our home in Richmond, Virginia — lots of lazy days on the water!

Behind the Scenes with Metromile’s New Chief Financial Officer Regi Vengalil

Regi Vengalil joined Metromile as chief financial officer. A 15-year veteran of financial planning and operations, he is excited about the opportunities ahead for Metromile.

We started Metromile because we saw an opportunity for insurance to be fairer. We believe the most powerful advantage in insurance is grounded in technology and experience, and we set out to build a better experience from Day One.

Regi Vengalil might understand this more than anyone else. In addition to his more than 15 years of experience as a financial steward, corporate development strategist, and operations executive, Regi is also a Metromile customer of six years.

It’s just one of the reasons why we’re excited Regi has joined Metromile as our chief financial officer.

Here’s why Regi decided to become a Metromiler and the opportunities he sees ahead.

What should people know about you, Regi?

I recently moved back to Seattle to spend more time with my family, and my weekends and evenings are usually spent with them. My parents live nearby, so one thing we started doing recently is to have my entire family stay one night a week at my parents’ house. Growing up in the U.S., my grandparents lived in India, so I never had the chance to spend much time with them. I’m glad my two kids have the opportunity to connect with their grandparents.

I’ve also been a Metromile customer for six years in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. My family and I are huge Metromile fans.

How did you first hear about Metromile?

I used to take the subway into San Francisco, and I saw Metromile ads underground and in the station. I remember seeing the ad and thinking: This makes financial sense.

I only drove my car maybe 100 or 200 miles a month, mainly on the weekends, and I thought Metromile was perfectly designed for me. My wife has a car that she drives maybe 60 miles a month to pick up groceries and run errands. I have had such a great experience between the street-sweeping alerts, remembering where you parked from the app, and understanding how much gas is in your car. 

My wife makes fun of me, but Metromile is the type of product I’m telling people about at parties and on the weekends. Otherwise, how many times do you talk to your friends about auto insurance?

Is that why you decided to join Metromile?

I think there’s so much opportunity for Metromile. I believe we’re in a unique position to shape the future of car insurance

The core success of the company is built on our existing foundation: There’s a huge market opportunity, and I believe Metromile is fundamentally changing the game. 

I believe in Metromile and the experience the product delivers to drivers. I had a great experience when I had a rock in my windshield and had the claim solved simply. I think it starts first by convincing people with savings on auto insurance. Then, they can try pay-per-mile auto insurance, realize the benefits, and see that it’s a better experience if you ever have a claim.

And I think that’s what makes Metromile so compelling.

What opportunities do you see ahead for Metromile?

I’m naturally a problem-solver, and I can’t imagine a more relevant technical problem than what Metromile is trying to solve. Insurance is probably one of the most exciting data science problems, especially as the future of driving changes. For example, I can choose to drive the car myself or let the car drive. Few companies are positioned to price this dynamic fairly, understand the variable risk of who’s actually driving, and respond to the technical challenges because this dynamic is entirely new. 

I believe in how Metromile plans to approach the problem. We have so much opportunity ahead: We will expand nationwide and start to accelerate meaningfully, and invest for the long-term. We have the resources to scale and build differentiated auto insurance. We can also capture demand as Metromile becomes more relevant as mobility evolves to people’s new work schedules and changing driving habits.

We’re in the early innings, and the people who have the richest data and the best technical experience will win. I joined because I believe we have the team to make that a reality, and I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible company and team.

How else do you spend your time outside of work?

I’m a lifelong Seattle sports fan and follow football closely. I’m a big Seahawks fan. Growing up in Seattle, I became a Washington Huskies fan as well. I also just picked up being an assistant tee-ball coach for my 6-year-old. And we just got back from a weeklong trip to Kauai; it made me remember how much we love to travel as a family. I can’t wait for all of us to get out there again to explore and see friends and family.

Speed round:

Are you a better driver or passenger?

Driver for sure. I like to pick the speed and the route.

What are you listening to in the car these days?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Audible with the kids (though I’m a fan, too) and 90s hip-hop.

Favorite road trip?

I’ve driven many times between Seattle and San Diego, and there is so much to see. It’s so beautiful, and there are so many fun places to explore along the way. I enjoy the mountains and beaches and walking around the cities in between.

Behind the Scenes with Junna Ro, Metromile’s New General Counsel

Junna Ro joined Metromile as general counsel. A former AAA insurer chief ethics and compliance officer, she is excited about making auto insurance accessible for more people.
Junna Ro, Metromile’s new general counsel

We founded Metromile to offer what we believe no one else currently can: Insurance you pay for only when you use it. Our goal is to reinvent insurance for drivers with an exceptional experience, including smart-driving features and the opportunity for lower rates with pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Junna Ro, an insurance industry veteran of 15 years, recently joined Metromile as general counsel. She has dedicated her career to advocating for others and working to make insurance more accessible, and we are excited to welcome her to the Metromile community.

We asked Junna why she decided to join the community and what she is most excited about for Metromile.

What should people know about you, Junna?

I’m a native San Franciscan. I went to UCLA and majored in political science before attending Santa Clara University School of Law. I started my legal career in-house at VERITAS Software, a software company focused on backup and storage software. I know something about hyper growth: I was there for seven years, including the merger with Symantec. When I started, we had about 700 employees, and the company grew to about 14,000 employees when I left.

What did you learn from your experience at AAA?

I saw an opportunity to work for a trusted, well-known brand: AAA. I moved to CSAA Insurance Group, an AAA insurance company; but AAA is more than just insurance: it offers a full package of travel services and automotive and roadside assistance services. They’re very values-based and customer service-oriented as a membership organization, and it’s something that made for a really great experience as an employee. The change in culture and mindset was very compelling.

I learned a lot there, especially about the critical role that insurance plays in the economy. You’re protecting people’s assets and personal interests. Insurance is important, as it gives people the opportunity to pursue their goals with peace of mind, knowing that they’re protected. I love that insurance is there to help you during a time of need, to help you get back on your feet after you’ve experienced a setback — that really resonates with me.

How did you decide to join Metromile?

Transitioning to a values-based, customer service-oriented organization was important to me, especially when it aligns with my values. Seeing how it makes such a difference from an employee perspective was striking, and it translates into a better customer experience. You’re creating a community at Metromile, and it translates into how you treat your customers.

The idea that Metromile is an insurance company that started as a technology company is also attractive because there’s an opportunity to truly innovate in an industry that I believe has otherwise gone relatively unchanged for many decades. Frankly, coming from a traditional insurance company that’s been around for a long time, I know the challenges that come with trying to innovate. Being a part of the movement at Metromile to do things differently so that we can be relevant and accessible for the next generation of drivers, and meet and exceed their expectations, is exciting.

What opportunities do you see for Metromile?

I think Metromile is on the cutting edge of doing something very relevant, including making traditional insurance processes easier. We want to create a new insurance customer experience, especially for those driving less or taking alternative forms of transportation for their lifestyle or the environment.

Many traditional insurance companies are challenged with moving into the digital world, which is imperative in today’s market. I want to help drivers understand their coverage and demystify the policy, so people know what they purchased and how it will come to their help during their time of need. 

You’ve dedicated your career to advocating for others. Based on your experience, what can the insurance industry do to promote diversity, belonging and inclusion?

We still have a way to go. I remember walking into an insurance industry conference earlier in my career, and I felt like the odd one out. I didn’t see a lot of people that look like me. While there has been progress made today, I’ll say the industry still lags with the representation of women and people of color, especially in executive leadership ranks across the board. 

I firmly believe that representation matters. It is crucial to understand your customers and to be knowledgeable about their experiences and needs; this is relevant if you want to stay relevant. We have a way to go, and I want to be part of that movement.

I worked together with colleagues to found an organization called the National Association for Diversity in Compliance with compliance leaders at different companies. We thought it was essential to provide a place to support each other’s careers and ensure people feel they have a voice. We saw there were no other organizations focused on diversity in the compliance profession and found like-minded people to provide a great network for professionals, wherever they are in their careers.

What are you passionate about?

Recently, I got more actively involved with civic engagement. I was a political science major, and the recent election brought me back to my college days. I volunteered and took six shifts of an election protection hotline to help voters in various states across the country understand their voting rights. I answered questions like where their polling place was, how to navigate voter eligibility rules, and how to find safe alternatives to voting in person. It was gratifying to me, and it made me realize it’s so easy to take our democracy for granted. Representation is important.

I was also passionate about getting out the vote. It resonated with me. When I was in college, I was 17 on election day during a presidential election year. I was so frustrated that I wasn’t old enough to vote. I remembered that and helped register students who turned 18 after election day to vote in the subsequent U.S. Senate runoff elections in January. Even amid the pandemic, I found ways to get back to my roots and get involved in meaningful ways.

Most importantly, how do you spend your time?

I love to spend time with my family. We’ve been bonding a lot more because of the pandemic, and I treasure my time with them. I have two teenage kids: my son is a first-year at UCLA and was a nationally ranked competitive fencer, and my daughter is a junior in high school who is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter. She’s the creative writer in the family. The pandemic has allowed us to slow down from our otherwise harried pre-pandemic life. We have game nights, and they work hard to win.

Welcoming Ryan Graves to the Metromile Community

Ryan Graves, a member of Uber’s founding team, invested in Metromile and will join the board of directors. He shares why he invested in Metromile and the opportunities he sees ahead.

We started Metromile to create digital insurance for an increasingly digital world. We believe that auto insurance doesn’t work for many people: It overcharges 65% of drivers unfairly and isn’t customer-centric or adaptive to how people actually get around.

Ryan Graves, a member of Uber’s founding team, will be joining Metromile’s board of directors following the closing of their business combination with INSU Acquisition Corp. II for the same reason. 

Ryan, who worked at Uber from its founding through its IPO, most notably as senior vice president of global operations, is the founder and CEO of Saltwater, an investment company focused on long-term growth and partnership. In addition to joining Metromile’s board, he invested in the company, alongside Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Mark Cuban, and leading institutional investors.

We asked Ryan why he decided to join the Metromile community and the opportunities he sees ahead.

How did you hear about Metromile?

I’ve known about Metromile since my Uber days. I remember thinking: “Well, that’s a no brainer.” As the world has become increasingly dependent on data, I believe this transition has become even more obvious.

When I started investing, I picked up the 1968 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter, and I read every letter through 2017. I feel like I got this general education in the insurance business and a healthy alternative to the venture investment approach. It just landed. The way the value-oriented investor looks at a company and how Berkshire Hathaway establishes relationships with its operators just felt more like me. It’s quite fulfilling to be a partner and coach in those relationships and support incredible leaders. 

I’m focused on how to use business and the investments that I make to be a platform for more than returns — to have an impact — and that’s why I leaned into Metromile.

Why did you choose to invest in insurance and Metromile specifically?

Insurance is a foundational financial tool in someone’s life. It can prevent bad scenarios and create opportunities.

We learned in 2020 that the world is unpredictable, and auto insurance is necessary to manage the risk that can take away opportunities, but it’s also an overhanging cost for many people. I saw this when we started Uber. In the old taxi model, a driver starts the week or month in the hole, and they’re working a certain number of hours just to break-even. They might only be making money for their work for 30% or 40% of their time driving.

Insurance is similar: Without pay-per-mile auto insurance, a driver might pay hundreds of dollars per month with flat-rate insurance before they even use their car. This is why I see Metromile as a tool to unlock financial freedoms for so many people.

What opportunities do you think are available in the insurance industry?

There’s certainly opportunity in the future of transportation. We all know that businesses grounded in technology and data science will be better positioned than the others. Metromile has that foundation, and I believe, is in a position to support the transition to an autonomous world rather than fight it. 

Metromile understands that no two miles driven are alike. That’s fascinating to me. We can support the broadest range of autonomous driving and vehicles with more safety features. We can partner with car manufacturers who deliver this technology in contrast to incumbent insurance companies who might block progress in their self-interest. Fortunately, I’m very comfortable pushing back against incumbents.

I am also familiar with the telematics world through another investment and have found many great uses for the technology. It’s wild to me that many of us have an asset worth thousands of dollars, and it doesn’t have a kind of “find my phone” feature — that in and of itself is another no brainer. Another selling point for having connected insurance is just the awareness of where your vehicle is.

There’s immediate value in sharing data with Metromile — real value in dollars saved, unlike sharing data with big social media companies, where the value isn’t at all clear and may have detrimental societal impact, that is, if you’re a fan of democracy.

What are you most excited about for Metromile?

In my research and due diligence, I understand this number one thing about the industry: In insurance, growth is easy, but profit is hard. It all comes down to discipline.

When considering an investment, I like to flesh out how a company’s management team is wired. Are they “growth-at-all-cost” or timid and afraid of change? What are their incentives? I believe Metromile’s leadership team has the right balance of a growth mindset and the long-term view necessary for disciplined growth.

Metromile is a very long-term investment for me. Metromile focuses deeply on building substantive technology, customer service you can count on, and reinforcement of risk management discipline. It struck me that there is no way this business won’t be a beast in 10 years if they continue on this path. I don’t think people appreciate the size of the opportunity ahead for Metromile just yet, and that’s when I like to invest.

I came up in Uber, a hyper disruptive tech company, and as an investor, I started with the school of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. What I found in Metromile is the discipline of Berkshire Hathaway and the disruption of Uber, and that’s why I’m pumped to join this team. This combination of disruption through technology and a discipline through operations will certainly deliver a winner over the long haul. 

Ryan Graves is the founder and CEO of Saltwater, his family office, incubation, and investment company. He serves on the boards of directors of charity:water, Pachama, Inc., and Fort Point Beer. Formerly, he served as a board director and the senior vice president of global operations at Uber Technologies Inc. from its founding to IPO. Graves was the first CEO and a member of Uber’s founding team.

Metromile in 2020: The Year in Review

2020 has been a life-changing year for many of us.

Undeniably, when we look back at 2020, we will think about the tremendous change this year has brought with the Covid-19 pandemic and our increasing understanding of the roles each of us has with topics as diverse as climate change and racial justice.

Join us as we review 2020, including some data for a final look into the year:

What’s New for Metromile Auto Insurance in 2020

1. Immediate relief during the Covid-19 pandemic

Metromile customers saved approximately 30% on average on car insurance in April just for staying home, and savings continued throughout the year as people drove less. Because our drivers pay per mile (plus a low monthly rate), they saw auto insurance savings during the pandemic in almost real-time.

We also provided payment relief options to make sure our customers didn’t lose coverage if they couldn’t pay. We made sure our community didn’t pay any late fees or fees for payment extensions, so they could focus on what matters most — health and safety.

2. New insurance for connected vehicles

We also announced an exciting partnership with Ford to create connected car insurance. Soon, owners of eligible Ford vehicles with built-in connectivity can opt-in and access insurance we believe will be more convenient, customizable, and fairer.

We are excited to work with Ford, as we share a common goal to provide more personalized insurance for connected vehicles beyond lower rates.

3. See how much pay-per-mile auto insurance can save you

More than 124 million Americans drive 10,000 miles or fewer each year and could be overpaying for car insurance because they don’t pay per mile. 

This didn’t sit well with us. We launched Ride Along™ to help drivers save on auto insurance and get their best possible rate.

Now, you can download the Metromile app and drive with us for about two weeks. We will use the information, such as how many miles you drive, to give you an accurate rate for car insurance before you buy pay-per-mile auto insurance and start your Metromile coverage.

Drivers can also earn an additional discount on the initial quote (up to 40%) for safe driving during the Ride Along in select states; this is another way to save money with Metromile.

Metromile’s 2020 By the Numbers

1. The most common vehicles in the Metromile community

The most common makes or car brands insured by Metromile in order are Toyota, Honda, and Ford. The Honda Civic is the most popular model we insure, followed by the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry.

Our community also includes fans of electric vehicles, including Tesla. The number of Tesla vehicles insured has also increased over the last two years.

2. The most popular day of the week to drive

Metromile customers love the occasional weekend trip: Driving picks up on Saturdays.

Fortunately, weekend road trips don’t have to break the bank. All miles driven after 250 miles in a single day (150 miles in New Jersey) are free as a bonus for all of our customers!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Metromile customers drove less than they did in previous years this Thanksgiving. Oregon Metromilers drove 23% fewer miles this Thanksgiving than they did in 2019.

3. The most common claim

We want to have our customers’ backs and weren’t surprised to find out the most common claim handled in 2020 was roadside assistance. Our goal is to support drivers like you through every mile.

Metromile customers can personalize their auto insurance policy to their lifestyle because we understand everyone might need something different. Our roadside assistance can help with emergency gasoline delivery, flat tires, locksmiths, and towing up to a certain distance.

The bottom line

With 2020 coming to a close, we want to thank you for being a part of the Metromile community. As a low-mileage driver, you’ve kept your communities safer and greener; in return, we hope we provided you a meaningful experience at a great value.

Metromile and Ford: The Future of Personalized Car Insurance

Metromile is teaming up with Ford to bring drivers a new kind of car insurance experience.

From Day 1, we set out to provide drivers with a new type of car insurance. Traditional car insurance doesn’t meet drivers’ needs: high rates, mediocre service, and policies that don’t consider how people’s lifestyles and driving behaviors can change. 

Today’s news is the start of a fundamental shift: Metromile is teaming up with Ford to provide owners of eligible Ford vehicles with built-in connectivity with personalized car insurance that will be more affordable and fairer. 

This is an important milestone for Metromile, and it’s even more important for drivers. That’s why I’m so excited about it. It’s a tangible example of how car insurance can adapt more closely to how our lives are changing — where we live and work (for many of us, that’s the same place right now), how we drive, and where we drive. Connecting your car directly to your insurance is a big step toward making insurance much more personalized to your driving habits. We’ll see more convenience, customization, and savings than ever before.

On the surface, Metromile and Ford might seem like an odd couple. Ford, founded in 1903, is among the top 15 largest corporations in the U.S. by revenue, and Metromile is a VC-backed startup launched less than ten years ago. Still, both companies share several things in common. We’re both fiercely passionate about the future of mobility. We’re both committed to delivering meaningful experiences to vehicle owners, and we’re both eager to use connected vehicles to create new ways to save on insurance and reduce the cost of ownership.

For us, Ford will help us rapidly evolve how we price insurance, measure real-time risk, and put drivers in control of an individualized pay per mile rate based on how and how much you drive. Connected vehicles like Ford’s — packed with sensors and safety features — open up myriad opportunities for us to leapfrog ahead in each of these areas.

For Metromile customers: know that we’re relentlessly striving to make car insurance as fair, personalized, and advanced as we possibly can. Ford is just one example of how we’re making that happen (for example, we invented fractional insurance so that vehicle owners can avoid overpaying for too much coverage). 

I, and many Metromilers, are customers ourselves. Our parents, friends, and families are also Metromile customers. We’re proud of what we’re building, but for us, that’s not enough. We want to save you money and make you smile when you open the Metromile app. We want to be the kind of company that you tell your friends and family about. You have enough companies in your life that feel like an obligation, or like you chose the lesser of two evils. That’s not the company we’re building, and it never will be. We’re continually exploring ways to set the bar higher and finding ways to improve your savings and experience. You have my word. 
As we progress — both with our work with Ford and more broadly in our march for fairer insurance — I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on the Metromile blog and LinkedIn.

Dan Preston, CEO

Metromile’s New Chief People Officer: Mark Gundacker

Meet Mark Gundacker, Metromile’s new Chief People Officer. Mark joins us from, the non-profit arm of Salesforce, where he led its growth from 350 to 1,100 employees — and prior to that brings decades of Human Resources leadership experience.

As we continue to grow our team (now more than 320!) across multiple offices and geographies, we’re excited to have Mark’s steady hand ensure we’re finding and keeping the best talent and remaining a best place to work.

What attracted you to Metromile?

I liked that Metromile is a disrupter. Creating an innovative model in a traditional industry is exciting. After working for a number of different organizations, including in the non-profit space, I wanted to work somewhere that I felt I could be innovative and make an impact. After meeting with Metromile leadership, I felt strongly that this was the right place.

What People philosophy do you bring coming from a nonprofit environment?

After working with passionate team members in the non-profit space, I had a new appreciation for the importance of having team members aligned to a strong organizational mission. If the team shares a common objective and vision it is much easier to work through any inevitable challenges — and this is as true in insurtech as it is anywhere else.

What’s something you wish people knew about People Ops?

Once people get to know me well they always tell me, “I can’t believe you are in HR”. And I always want to say “Take an HR person out to dinner and see how much fun you have!” Without a doubt, some of the most passionate, creative and amazingly fun people I have ever been with have been my HR colleagues.

Your background includes a pretty diverse set of industries. What perspective does that give you?

The big thing it’s given me is insight into how different types of organizations and people solve problems. I find this varied background helpful in being able to look at issues from a number of different angles.

What are your interests outside of work?

I’m on a number of non-profit boards including the Contra Costa Child Abuse Prevention Council, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and CISV — a program promoting peace education for children. Giving back has always been a big interest.

* * *

Welcome, Mark! We’re excited to have you.