Metromile, Inc. said it is pursuing “a significant expansion” of its pilot using independent agents to sell digital insurance, and it has hired a Travelers veteran to lead the effort.

Scot Rankin, a 30-year insurance veteran, has joined the San Francisco-based digital insurance platform and pay-per-mile auto insurer as its first-ever Independent Agency Relationship Manager, the company disclosed. Rankin, who will be tasked with expanding its agent program in multiple ways, was most recently a sales executive at Travelers but has also held previous leadership roles at QBE North America and MAPFRE, according to his LinkedIn page.

“I’ve specialized in working with Independent Agents for more than thirty years, so I can attest to their position as a trusted resource for many consumers shopping for insurance. Independent Agents will play a valuable role in educating drivers on the benefits of data-driven insurance, the value of pay-per-mile, and the savings and experience unique to Metromile,” Rankin said in prepared remarks.

Agents can also be a lucrative source of revenue, Metromile noted – embracing a traditional part of property/casualty insurance sales and distribution that some InsurTech startups initially rejected as old-fashioned and out-of-date.

“Independent Agents account for more than 30 percent of all auto insurance sales, and we believe there is significant opportunity to work with them to reach more low-mileage drivers now and in years to come as we expand nationwide,” Troy Dye, Metromile’s SVP, Growth, said in prepared remarks. “These agents want what’s best for their clients, and they can appreciate our value proposition that combines high quality insurance with lower rates.”

Root is another digital insurer that has revised its approach to embrace independent agents. The company disclosed in its 2021 second quarter shareholder letter that it was scaling its internal sales agent program and piloting a program to provide its digital auto and other coverage through independent licensed agents.

“Root sees an opportunity to further its mission by building its presence in a channel in which 1/3 of all consumers purchase insurance,” Root Director of Communications Tom Kuhn told Carrier Management in August.

Metromile earlier this year disclosed plans for an independent agent program that started in the 2021 second quarter.

Building and Expanding

Metromile said its platform for the initiative already hosts more than 880 Independent Agents with more expected to be added in the coming weeks.

The companies expanded use of agents works, in part, through an integration with the EZLynx Rating Engine, which Metromile said lets it offer independent agents access to its “high quality, customizable pay-per-mile auto insurance, which features significant savings, standout customer experience, and easy bundling of home and auto insurance.”

Rankin will focus on building additional integrations and infrastructure to support independent agents and significantly scale the channel. Currently, the program offers agents a quote in under two minutes, a dedicated in-house support team, what is billed as an easy-to-use agent portal, and “fast and easy claims” filing for agents’ clients.

Source: Metromile