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Having talked to many insurtech investors lately, I found myself thinking about usage-based insurance (UBI, which in this case doesn’t refer to universal basic income). On a surface level, this approach makes a lot of sense: For instance, why should drivers pay the same premiums regardless of how many miles they drive? But differentiating users also raises all sorts of questions on what’s fair, and where UBI is heading next. — Anna
Stop paying for others?
“There has been a lot of noise around UBI […] over the past few years. It was supposed to be the next big thing, but it hasn’t really taken off yet,” New Alpha Asset Management associate Clarisse Lam told TechCrunch.
AV8 VC‘s partner Amir Kabir concurred with Lam, noting struggles among startups and legacy insurance providers alike: “Early startups operating the UBI space had a hard time creating meaningful moat,” he said. Meanwhile, he added, “incumbents have been operating in the UBI space for decades and have yet to see major adoption.”
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, one of the insurtechs that was most badly hit by the stock market sell-off was Metromile, which went public in 2021 and saw its valuation decline over 85% before getting acquired by fellow former startup Lemonade. Metromile’s focus was pay-per-mile car insurance, a self-explanatory concept in which drivers get charged less if they drive less.