Metromile Inc MILE, an insurance-focused fintech powered by data science and machine learning, announced Thursday it will allow policyholders the option to pay for insurance and receive payment for claims in Bitcoin BTC/USD or U.S. dollars.
About: Founded in 2011, Metromile caters to non-traditional car owners, such as those who use transportation services like Uber Technologies Inc UBER and Lyft Inc LYFT.
Using big data and intelligent systems, the company tailors its rates to driver behavior, resulting in lower premiums. Additionally, Metromile licenses out its core fraud, underwriting and AI technology to help insurers automate and digitize processes.
What Happened: In providing policyholders flexible payment options, Metromile said it will be the first insurance company to both accept premiums and pay claims in cryptocurrency.
The development comes after Tesla Inc TSLA bought Bitcoin to diversify and maximize its returns on cash, as well as to give auto buyers flexible payment options.
In a statement to Benzinga, Metromile communications director Rick Chen said the adoption of cryptocurrencies is a logical next step for the digital insurance provider.
“We’ve been discussing bitcoin as a payment option for years and finally, the technology and the consumer adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrency have caught up.”
The company aims to follow through on its commitment to fairer insurance and promote financial resilience for policyholders with a $10-million Bitcoin purchase in the second quarter of 2021.
“This isn’t just some marketing move,” Chen said. “We truly believe in decentralized finance and … cryptocurrency is becoming a larger part of people’s net worth, and they’re demanding ways to transact and use that.”
Why It Matters: The development comes as consumers are looking for cheaper ways to save on auto insurance.
“We’re seeing this k-shaped recovery in terms of mobility and driving,” Chen said in a discussion on helping people get on the road again after the pandemic.
Metromile data from the first few months of 2021 suggests driving is returning to as much as 95% of pre-pandemic levels. Trends like remote work and a dash to larger suburban and rural communities point to a new normal, with more Americans becoming low-mileage drivers.
Metromile is looking to scale across the rest of the United States by the end of 2022, as well as add partnerships, grow its licensing division and invest further into innovation.
“We’re going to continue investing in our digital insurance platform,” Chen said. “You can expect us to hire more on the tech side, for engineering and product. We’re also going to expand the number of states we’re available in.”
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