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.