The notion of tracking cars for insurance purposes tends to polarize us: it's either a technical marvel that gives an honest appraisal of how we drive, or a dystopian nightmare that makes it impossible to have a little fun without a large bill. MetroMile is banking on more of us taking the optimistic view. It claims to have the first 'true' pay-per-mile car insurance, and combines a fixed base fee with mileage derived from a tracking device attached to a given vehicle. Weekend drivers can theoretically save 20 to 50 percent, and any customer can see detailed analytics online. The catch, of course, is having to be comfortable with an insurer as a silent copilot. MetroMile is careful to note that it's only watching mileage -- it doesn't care if motorists swing by the racetrack or across the border. Provided that they're happy with relaying a piece of their driving experience to outsiders, Oregonians can sign up for MetroMile's experiment today; who knows, it might just pay off.
MetroMile Launches First True Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance
New company has developed technology that unlocks and makes use of the 300 Petabytes of driving data currently trapped in cars, delivering new services that save drivers time and money
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- MetroMile (www.metromile.com), the technology company that aims to unlock and make use of all the world's driving data, launched publicly today and unveiled a first-of-its-kind car insurance product that charges drivers a per-mile rate for the miles they drive each month, delivering significant savings to lower mileage drivers. The company has raised over $4 million in funding from NEA, Index Ventures, First Round Capital and SV Angel. Starting today, the insurance service is available in Oregon.
MetroMile provides drivers with a proprietary device called the Metronome that they plug into their car. The Metronome extracts valuable driving data and transmits it in real-time, providing an accurate report of miles driven. Using this data, drivers pay a few cents per mile plus a low base rate each month for full coverage car insurance. Only the number of miles driven is used to calculate the rate, not when, where or how someone drives. By paying only for the miles they actually drive each month, lower mileage drivers can save 20 -50 percent for protection equal or superior to traditional car insurance products. MetroMile drivers can also access detailed and valuable driving analytics through a simple online dashboard, helping them better understand their car use.
"There is a widening gap between high mileage and low mileage drivers," said Steve Pretre, CEO and co-founder of MetroMile. "Millions of people are making conscious decisions to bike, walk and use public transit more often, benefiting the environment and livability of our cities. Traditional car insurance pricing takes the money those people should be saving based on their reduced driving and uses it to subsidize people that drive more. That is unfair and we are setting out to change it."
U.S. consumers spend $178 billion per year on car insurance. A 2008 Brookings Institute study projected 67 percent of drivers would save money with a per-mile insurance pricing approach like the one being introduced by MetroMile. Reducing rates for such a large pool of customers would cannibalize profits for traditional auto insurance companies. With it's new approach, MetroMile can offer lower mileage drivers the savings they deserve.
The MetroMile service is powered by a unique technology platform that has been developed over nearly two years. Combining new hardware, software, and cloud-based infrastructure, MetroMile's technology allows previously inaccessible driving data to be accessed, analyzed, and managed at a massive scale.
"Driving data represents an enormous, untapped opportunity," said David Friedberg, founder and Chairman of the Board at MetroMile. "We drive three trillion miles per year in the U.S. Accessing the data from every car's on-board computer system would yield approximately 300 Petabytes of data per year. That data can power valuable new services, like our per-mile car insurance product."
In addition to founding MetroMile, David Friedberg is the CEO of The Climate Corporation, the technology pioneer that aims to help all the world's people and businesses adapt to climate change. The Climate Corporation is helping farmers plan, manage, and protect their farming operations using data services and insurance products available through climate.com. With MetroMile, Friedberg saw significant parallels to the data management and data science challenges being tackled at The Climate Corporation.
"MetroMile and The Climate Corporation represent the leading edge of how we can combine data science, solid business models and a positive policy agenda," said Kittu Kolluri, General Partner at NEA, a lead investor in both companies. "The Climate Corporation is helping customers understand and manage the financial impact of climate change. Now with MetroMile, we aim to influence behavior at a root cause of climate change."
Beginning today, MetroMile's insurance product will be available to customers in Oregon, with plans to expand to additional states as the company gains regulatory approval. Insurance is offered for sale through MetroMile Insurance Services LLC, a licensed agent in the state of Oregon. Oregon residents can get a quote and sign up at www.metromile.com.