Dan Preston is no stranger to technological advancements. He studied computer science, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning at Stanford University, which he’s put to use as the CEO of Metromile (NASDAQ: MILE). Preston has served as CEO for more than seven years, and the company made its public debut this past February.
Unlike traditional auto insurance carriers, the pay-per-mile insurance company uses AI and sensor data to give its customers more flexible insurance options based on their own driving, not everyone else’s. By leveraging artificial intelligence and sensor data, the company has also showcased the impact of machine learning technology on the industry. MILE also recently announced that in the future it will let customers use bitcoin to buy insurance and receive payments for insured claims.
In a recent Public.com Town Hall with retail investors, Preston shared how he’s embracing emerging technology trends to delight drivers and help make roads safer and our communities greener.
The below is excerpted from Dan Preston’s Public Town Hall, which can be viewed in full here.
Embrace future technologic disturbances
One Public.com member wanted to know the impact self-driving cars will have on MILE.
Preston shared he believes autonomous vehicles can be safer for drivers. But most insurance companies haven’t figured out how to price it, which is why MILE is ahead of the game.
“As autonomous driving becomes more common, we believe pay-per-mile will become the standard. You might pay a different per-mile rate when the car is driving vs. when you are to reflect the different risks and types of driving.”
Find ways to make your customers’ lives easier
For Preston, this means using decentralized finance to level the playing field for all MILE customers.
“We believe decentralized finance and cryptocurrency are part of the movement to create more equitability and better financial outcomes, which we support.”
That’s part of the reason the company plans to let customers buy insurance with bitcoin and even receive payments from claims in bitcoin.
“We think it’s just the beginning. We look for ways to provide drivers more choice and a better experience, and cryptocurrency and decentralized finance have a role to play,” Preston said.
Data can be a great tool for companies — with responsibility
It’s more important than ever for customers to know what companies are doing with their data.
“We think your data is yours. We believe that we should have your permission whenever we use data, be clear about why we’re using it, and demonstrate tangible value for sharing it with us,” Preston said.
For example, many MILE customers love the car health monitor feature because it alerts them to any issues without needing to go to a repair shop.
Companies can use data to personalize their products, something Metromile is striving to do. “Looking into the future, we plan to use data to personalize our insurance further to make sure that it works for everyone. We might use our data to give you discounts upfront because we know you’re a safe driver instead of waiting until you renew like other insurers typically do.”
To build long-term growth, you need a strong economic foundation
It’s important to have your core foundation set in order to grow over the long term. Preston said that in insurance, that means having “a truly disruptive idea that can sustain you over the long term.”
“We believe we’ve achieved that goal,” he added. “Now, we are beginning to implement our broader growth plans and ultimately expand nationwide.”
That means finding partnerships with Ford and other auto manufacturers and enhancing the Metromile brand and possibly extending to warranties, coaching, and maintenance.