Shaun Weston talks to Dan Preston, CEO of Metromile, about car insurance technology and how he got into the business.

My latest interview for the BankNXT Fintech Podcast is with Dan Preston from Metromile, described ubiquitously as a “pay-per-mile insurance startup”. The company has been around since 2011, and Dan became its CTO in 2013 before becoming CEO in 2014.

We had an interesting chat on Skype about the technology behind Metromile, and why Dan believes the pay-per-mile model is a better option than behaviour-based auto insurance. It seems to be working, as Metromile is expanding its reach across more US states, and is actually licensed to operate across the whole country.

New funding doesn’t hurt either, with news last year of a huge $191.5m injected into the company, and the acquisition of Mosaic Insurance to “handle the underwriting of its policies itself”.

“Last year, we went through a transition from being basically an agency to sell insurance by law – we were doing the whole stack, meaning we were interacting with our customers at every level, except we didn’t hold the risk and we didn’t provide the claims service,” says Dan. “We actually acquired an insurance company that provided licences in all states and allowed us to bring the claims experience in-house, which is a very critical part of our future.”

I ask Dan about how he got into the business of insurance, especially as he had no previous history of the sector.

“I had just left Intuit, which is the company that had acquired my last startup, and my goal was very likely to start a new business,” he says. “My background in general is machine learning and computer science, so I had a deep focus on how you can find a data set that will allow you to fundamentally reinvent a product or industry.”

Dan goes on to describe how he met Dave Friedberg, who was co-founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation, and subsequently co-founder and chairman of Metromile.

As ever, I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please leave your comments below, or contact me on Twitter. You can catch other interviews on this page.

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About the author

Shaun Weston

Shaun Weston is Senior Editor of BankNXT and Backbase, and a creative content provider specialising in digital projects, marketing and social media. He has worked with businesses that focus on editorial strategy for online or print, consumer or B2B, and his work includes The Economist, SAS, Oracle, Future Publishing, FoodBev.com and Backbase.

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