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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from_____to_____

Commission file number 001-39658
ROOT, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware84-2717903
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
80 E. Rich Street, Suite 500
Columbus, Ohio
43215
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(866) 980-9431
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock,
$0.0001 par value per share
ROOTNasdaq Global Select Market

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No
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Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12-b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☐Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes No ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
The aggregate market value of the registrant's Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (the "Common Stock") held by non-affiliates was approximately $933.9 million based upon the December 31, 2020, closing price of $15.71 as reported by the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The registrant has elected to use December 31, 2020 as the calculation date, which was the last trading date of the registrant’s most recently completed fiscal year, because on June 30, 2020 (the last business day of the registrant’s second fiscal quarter), the registrant was a privately held company.

There were 59,660,254 shares of Class A common stock and 192,034,884 shares of Class B common stock outstanding as of February 25, 2021.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Part III of this report incorporates by reference specific portions of the Registrant’s Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on June 8, 2021.



ROOT, INC.
FORM 10-K
As of and For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page



SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements about us and our industry that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will” or “would” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the following:
our ability to retain existing customers and acquire new customers;
our expectations regarding our future financial performance, including total revenue, gross profit/(loss), adjusted gross profit/(loss), direct contribution, direct loss ratio, marketing costs, direct loss adjustment expense (LAE) ratio, quota share levels and expansion of our renewal premium base;
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
our goal to be licensed in all states in the United States and the timing of obtaining additional licenses;
the accuracy and efficiency of our telematics and behavioral data, and our ability to gather and leverage additional data;
our ability to underwrite risks accurately and charge profitable rates;
our ability to maintain our business model and improve our capital and marketing efficiency;
our ability to drive improved conversion and decrease the cost of customer acquisition;
our ability to maintain and enhance our brand and reputation;
our ability to effectively manage the growth of our business;
our ability to improve our product offerings, introduce new products and expand into additional insurance lines;
our ability to cross sell our products and attain greater value from each customer;
our lack of operating history and ability to attain profitability;
our ability to compete effectively with existing competitors and new market entrants in our industry;
future performance of the markets in which we operate;
our ability to operate a “capital-light” business and obtain and maintain reinsurance contracts;
our ability to expand our distribution channels through additional partnership relationships, digital media and referrals;
our ability to protect our intellectual property and any costs associated therewith;
our ability to expand domestically and internationally;
our ability to raise additional capital;
our ability to meet risk-based capital requirements;
our ability to stay in compliance with laws and regulation that currently apply or become applicable to our business; and



the growth rates of the markets in which we compete.
You should not rely on forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the header “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained herein. The results, events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur, and actual results, events or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made and we undertake no obligation to update them to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.
Unless the context otherwise indicates, references in this report to the terms “Root,” “the Company,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer to Root, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
We may announce material business and financial information to our investors using our investor relations website (ir.joinroot.com). We therefore encourage investors and others interested in Root to review the information that we make available on our website, in addition to following our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, webcasts, press releases and conference calls.



Risk Factors Summary
Investing in our Class A common stock involves numerous risks and uncertainties, as more fully described below. You should read these risks before you invest in our Class A common stock. In particular, risks associated with our business include, but are not limited to, the following:
We have a history of net losses and could continue to incur substantial net losses in the future. We may not continue to grow at historical rates or achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
We may lose our existing customers or fail to acquire new customers, and our future growth and profitability depend in part on our ability to successfully operate in an insurance industry that is highly competitive. If we are unable to maintain the levels of customer service or continue technological innovation and improvements, our prospects for future growth may be materially adversely affected.
We may require additional capital to support business growth or to satisfy our regulatory capital and surplus requirements, and this capital might not be available on acceptable terms, if at all.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to our operations and may negatively impact our business, key metrics, and results of operations in numerous ways that remain unpredictable.
We rely on telematics, mobile technology and our digital platform to collect data points that we evaluate in pricing and underwriting our insurance policies, managing claims and customer support, and improving business processes. To the extent regulators prohibit or restrict our collection or use of this data, our business could be harmed.
We depend on search engines, social media platforms, digital app stores, content-based online advertising and other online sources to attract consumers to our website and our mobile app both rapidly and cost-effectively. If these third parties change their listings or increase their pricing, if our relationship with them deteriorates or terminates, or if other factors related to these third parties arise which are beyond our control, we may be unable to attract new customers rapidly and cost-effectively, which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Operating system platforms and application stores controlled by third parties, such as Apple and Google, may change their terms of service or policies in a manner that increases our costs or impacts our ability to distribute our mobile app, collect data through it, and market our products.
Our expansion within the United States and any future international expansion strategy will subject us to regulatory approvals, regulatory exposure in new markets and additional costs and risks, and our plans may not be successful.
Our technology platform may not operate properly or as we expect it to operate.
Regulators may limit our ability to develop or implement our telematics-based pricing model and/or may eliminate or restrict the confidentiality of our proprietary technology.
We may be unable to manage our growth effectively.
We are subject to full scope financial examinations by state insurance regulatory authorities in each state in which one of our domestic insurance company subsidiaries is domiciled, which could result in adverse examination findings and necessitate remedial actions.
We are subject to market conduct examinations by state insurance regulatory authorities in any state in which our domestic insurance company subsidiaries issue insurance policies, which could result in adverse examination findings and necessitate remedial actions.
Our exposure to loss activity and regulation may be greater in states where we currently have most of our customers: Texas, Georgia and Kentucky.



We are subject to stringent and changing privacy and data security laws, regulations, and standards related to data privacy and security, increasing the complexity of compliance. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could harm our reputation, subject us to significant fines and liability, or adversely affect our business.
Data security breaches, or real or perceived errors, failures or bugs in our systems, website or app could impair our operations, compromise our confidential information or our customers’ personal information, damage our reputation and brand, and harm our business and operating results.
The insurance business, including the market for automobile, renters and homeowners insurance, is historically cyclical in nature, and we may experience periods with excess underwriting capacity and unfavorable premium rates, which could adversely affect our business.
Reinsurance may be unavailable at current levels and prices, which may limit our ability to underwrite new policies. Furthermore, reinsurance subjects us to counterparty risk and may not be adequate to protect us against losses, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Reinsurance subjects us to risks of our reinsurers and may not be adequate to protect us against losses arising from ceded insurance, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.



PART 1.
Item 1.  Business
Overview
Root is a technology company revolutionizing personal insurance with a pricing model based upon fairness and a modern customer experience. We operate a direct-to-consumer model in which we acquire the majority of our customers through mobile applications. We are currently writing auto insurance in 30 states in the U.S.
We have built a company that recognizes each individual is unique and puts customers in control, rewarding them for their actions. For centuries, traditional insurance companies have grouped people into risk pools and long relied on the ‘law of large numbers’ to produce acceptable pricing on an aggregate basis. Fairness at the individual level has been largely ignored. Root is different—we use technology to measure risk based on individual performance, prioritizing fairness to the customer. The way we design and deliver insurance is not a simple tweak to the traditional insurance model—we are fundamentally reinventing insurance through technology, data science and a maniacal focus on the customer. While our opportunity is expansive and our ambition is global, our primary focus is on U.S. auto insurance.
We believe the $266 billion U.S. auto insurance market is ripe for disruption. Traditional methods of pooled risk assessment are not personalized and inherently less precise given individual behavioral data is underutilized or not measured as a component of the insurance risk assessment process. Traditional systems and processes have become outdated and we believe they are increasingly disconnected from the needs of consumers. Insurance agents are the predominant form of distribution for traditional insurance and generally require expensive selling commissions, which increases the overall cost to the consumer. Our initial focus on auto insurance was motivated by how well-suited we believe the product to be for fundamental improvement through technology. We believe Root is the innovator to drive this transformation.
Auto insurance is required for the vast majority of drivers in the U.S. and we believe it is typically the first insurance policy purchased by consumers. As a result, our auto-first strategy establishes the foundation for an expansive lifetime relationship with the opportunity to add other personal insurance lines as customer needs evolve. Our strategy has also established the technological foundation for an enterprise software offering, diversifying our revenue streams over time.
The Root advantage is derived from our unique ability to segment individual risk based on complex behavioral data and proprietary telematics, a mobile-first customer experience built for ease of use and a product offering made possible with our full-stack insurance structure all uniquely integrated into a single cloud-based technology platform that captures the entire insurance value chain—from customer acquisition to claims and administration to ongoing customer engagement.
As a full-stack insurance carrier, we have the infrastructure to design products, and distribute, underwrite, administer and pay claims on all of our policies. Our model, supported by proprietary technology, leaves us virtually unencumbered by third parties across the value chain, provides complete design and feature discretion and we believe frees us to innovate and iterate more quickly than any of our major competitors. We view this flexibility as absolutely critical to introducing new capabilities, reinforcing customer centricity and driving growth. In practice this means we own and control an end-to-end insurance experience and have near complete operating autonomy, subject to regulation, to grow our business.
As with many data-enabled businesses, we benefit from a flywheel powered by data that allows us to improve our model and fuels growth. However, in contrast to many other flywheels where growth-generates-data-generates-growth, we believe our flywheel is more powerful in that increased data generates targeted growth and increases the lifetime value of our customers.
Our model naturally benefits from improvement in loss ratios as first term loss ratios decline with our growing data flywheel and our portfolio matures. We have observed first term accident period loss ratios declining, which we believe reflects our consistently improving risk segmentation capabilities and the power of our flywheel.
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Furthermore, renewal premiums, referring to premiums from a customer’s second term and beyond, have lower loss ratios as compared to new premiums in the customer’s first term. As we grow our business, we anticipate, consistent with industry norms, that our portfolio will mature with a greater proportion of our premiums will be from customer renewals. We expect this growing proportion of renewal premiums will bring an increasing mix of lower loss ratio premiums and premiums without associated marketing costs.
Our direct written premium, or DWP, grew to $616.8 million in 2020 from $451.1 million in 2019 and $106.4 million in 2018. Similarly our direct earned premium, or DEP, grew to $605.2 million in 2020 from $352.9 million in 2019 and $61.4 million in 2018. We experienced declines in our direct loss ratios to 82.0% in 2020, compared to 99.9% in 2019 and 93.6% in 2018 with corresponding declines in our direct accident period loss ratios to 78.0% in 2020 down from 103.7% in 2019 and 112.1% in 2018. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Components of Our Results of Operations.”
Our Industry
Insurance is one of the oldest and largest markets in the world, touching every corner of the world and protecting many of our most important assets. Global property and casualty, or P&C, insurance premiums amount to $2 trillion annually. Our primary addressable market today is U.S. personal lines insurance. This market exceeded $370 billion in 2019 premiums and has grown at a 5% compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, since 2014.
Over the past century, there have been only a few waves of innovative disruption within insurance. Perhaps the most disruptive was the advent of the internet as a distribution channel in the late 1990s which redefined the personal auto insurance market. We believe the rise of digital distribution is the primary driver of the $50 billion market share shift that has accrued to direct models over the last 20 years. Further, we believe the next technology-driven structural shift is underway—and this time the shift is not just distribution-related but a holistic change in the way insurance is priced and delivered.
We believe innovation has been slow within the P&C insurance industry, in part, because legacy systems are difficult to build upon and nearly impossible to replace. Also impacting the pace of innovation is institutional friction generated by the cost and perceived risk of a requisite ground-up technology rebuild, disruption of carrier-agent relationships and the business model implications of replacing broad pool-based pricing. Our proprietary technology and business model allow us to avoid these pain points and aggressively pursue the opportunity to be at the forefront of this structural shift.
Our Business Model
Behavioral Data and Proprietary Telematics
We use technology to measure risk based on transparent collection and analysis of individual driving performance, which we believe is the most powerful predictor of accidents and the leading variable in our underwriting model. By collecting and synthesizing massive amounts of rich, sensory behavioral data across thousands of driving variables, including distracted driving, we strive to price auto insurance based more on causality than correlation. This allows us to price our customers’ policies more fairly—and in turn they pay premiums commensurate with their individual risk profile. While the notion of telematics has been around for decades, only recently has mobile technology made the concept adoptable at large scale.
The pooled-risk pricing strategy employed by the majority of incumbents takes a more uniform view of risk absent the capability to segment on an individualized basis. First, incumbents generally do not have the technology and infrastructure to collect and synthesize an integrated set of proprietary telematics and claims data. Second, introducing individualized telematics-based pricing across an existing portfolio constructed without telematics would have enormous profitability implications as lower-risk drivers would be re-rated to a meaningful discount, reducing profits, and high-risk drivers would be surcharged, which could result in reduced retention. As such, we
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believe we are the only P&C insurance carrier with a scaled proprietary telematics solution designed to price an entire book of business.
The hallmark of our data advantage is our integrated set of actual claims and associated proprietary telematics, which we believe to be the largest in the market. We match miles tracked, on an individual basis, with actual claims and identify a set of driving performance factors that cause, or on a relative basis are more likely to cause, accidents. We use an internally developed claims infrastructure to capture comprehensive structured data, contributing to our data advantage when combined with telematics experience and iterated over time. This integrated data set drives a usage-based insurance, or UBI, score that is almost ten times more predictive at estimating futures losses than a leading third-party provider, according to Milliman, Inc., an independent third-party actuarial and consulting firm.
Our model revolves around using integrated data and technology to create a pricing advantage through granular risk segmentation. The data we collect feeds proprietary risk scoring models which assist us in identifying what we believe to be the riskiest 10-15% of drivers on the road, a group we have elected not to quote thus avoiding a risk segment that is up to two times more likely to get in an accident than our average targeted customer. By removing this high-risk segment, we can price the remaining population more fairly, resulting in a stronger conversion of customers whose behavioral data indicates lower risk than a market-standard demographic rating alone. Our segmentation often allows us to provide better pricing to lower risk customers based on their driving behavior, giving us an advantage in acquiring new customers, as compared to traditional insurance carriers, and allowing us to build a more attractive book of business that contributes even more data to our flywheel.
Customer Experience
We meet the vast majority of our customers where they are, on their mobile phone, with a user-friendly interface and convenient, efficient experience. This is the mantra that drives our mobile-first engagement strategy and underpins both our user experience and our fundamental business model. App installation and initial engagement is intuitive and customers can easily identify the coverage they need in everyday language, including offering bundling options which clearly lay out associated cost savings.
Our mobile engagement extends across the customer experience and value chain:
Engagement. The vast majority of our new customers come through our digital or partnership channels, which are largely mobile.
Profile Creation. The Root app is available for both iOS and Android operating systems making it available to 99% of U.S. smartphone users. By simply scanning a driver’s license a prospective customer can nearly complete a profile, part of an on-boarding process that is possible to complete in as little as 47 seconds and with no keyboard interaction.
Underwriting. The test drive is a key component of the underwriting process. A two-to-four week test drive gathers and analyzes data from smartphone sensors measuring braking, consistency, turning, time of day and other performance and contextual data.
Coverage Selection. As part of profile setup, our app pre-populates with a customer’s owned automobiles and existing or prior coverage terms, allowing easy and seamless selection of policy terms.
Policy Management. Once bound, customers can perform all policy management functions seamlessly from our app including profile or coverage adjustments, obtaining proof of insurance or chatting with a bot or human.
Claims. We make it easy to file a claim and track processing status through to settlement via the app, allowing us to payout claims rapidly.
Auto insurance is a product most people use every day, reinforcing the importance of our mobile-first engagement strategy for both customer experience and data collection.
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Direct Distribution
We distribute largely through the mobile channel, with over 75% of customers acquired through either our mobile app or mobile web platform. One of the things that excited us most when we launched Root was a recognition that very little insurance was distributed through the mobile channel. Mobile is the fastest growing retail channel in the U.S., as customers spend less time in front of computers and utilize smart phones for more convenient shopping. We therefore designed a mobile-directed customer acquisition strategy, to ultimately deliver customer acquisition costs below the average cost of doing so through each of the direct and agent channels:
Digital. Our digital channel is designed to drive volume by efficiently capturing high intent customers. We accomplish this by meeting our customers within platforms they use extensively such as Facebook and Google or select marketplace platforms where consumers are actively shopping for insurance. We deploy dynamic data science models to optimize targeting and bidding strategies across our digital platforms aligning customer acquisition cost to expected lifetime value of the potential customer.
Channel Media. We build consideration and drive intent through household-level targeted digital media channels such as YouTube and Hulu, as well as more traditional media channels such as billboards, regional TV and radio and direct mail. We utilize these media channels to drive awareness when launching new states and to actively target customers in active states.
Partnership. We build upon the superior mobile and web customer experiences of selected distribution partners such as Carvana, Chime, GasBuddy, SoFi and Stash to reach a captive customer base. Through deep integration we are able to engage prospective customers when contextually relevant in third-party applications and target high value customer segments at a higher marketing efficiency than other channels. We expect increased penetration of this channel over time as we seek to grow partnership relationships offering access to relevant customer bases.
Referral. We encourage our existing customers to spread our value proposition. Our referral channel compensates existing customers who refer new customers who subsequently receive a quote. This channel facilitates community-based growth to those who value our fair and transparent approach to insurance. This is our lowest cost acquisition channel and an important aspect of our ongoing distribution strategy.
While our customer acquisition costs can vary by channel mix, by state or due to seasonality, our main channels allow us to efficiently acquire customers by leveraging our partners’ premier user experiences to approach captive audiences in a contextually relevant, data-centric way. Accordingly, our marketing costs have historically been below industry averages. In the near term, as we expand our licensed footprint to 50 states, we have recently begun investing in our national brand, which will increase awareness, build credibility and support all four of our distribution channels. Furthermore, we continue to invest in the technology and data science behind our distribution with A/B tests, dynamic bidding models, and rapid updates and iterations, supporting differentiated cost of customer acquisition over the long term.
Capital Management
As a rapidly growing full-stack insurance company, we operate a “capital-light” business model which utilizes elevated levels of reinsurance. Our capital management strategy has three core objectives: (1) prioritize revenue and targeted customer growth while also maintaining regulatory capital requirements; (2) source efficient capital to support customer acquisition costs; and (3) mitigate impact of large losses or tail events. Together these strategies serve to maximize returns on shareholder capital as we grow.
Reinsurance is a cornerstone of our capital management framework. We have multiple strategic business partnerships with leading global reinsurers who offer us reinsurance solutions on both a proportional (i.e., quota share) and non-proportional (i.e., excess of loss or “XOL” coverage) basis for multi-year periods. We also utilize a wholly-owned, Cayman Islands-based reinsurer, Root Reinsurance Company, Ltd., or Root Re.
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Our Growth Strategy
We are focused on the following growth strategies to continue penetrating the $266 billion U.S. auto insurance market and ultimately the $2 trillion global P&C market. In the near term, our primary focus is to execute on the auto opportunity at hand. In the longer-term, we will continue to develop additional growth opportunities though the expansion of product offerings, growing our enterprise solution and entering international markets.
Execute the Auto Opportunity
Better, fairer pricing. We will never stop working to improve our ability to segment risk by increasing the influence of behavioral factors in our underwriting and pricing models. Our primary tool for improvement is to continue applying data science to our powerful flywheel, where each rotation sheds incremental light on the causes of accidents. Over time we hope that we can replace all correlation-related inputs to our pricing model, such as credit scores, with a fully behavioral pricing model. We would view this as the ultimate achievement in customer transparency and fairness.
Grow national auto insurance presence. We will continue to aggressively invest in domestic growth by becoming active in more states while creating brand awareness through a national marketing campaign. In November 2020, we acquired Catlin Indemnity Company, a shell insurance company subsequently renamed Root Property & Casualty Insurance Company, or Root Property & Casualty, that expands our ability to sell personal auto insurance in 48 states and the District of Columbia. In instances where a prospective customer solicits a quote in a state where we do not currently underwrite, we retain their contact information with permission and reengage upon state entry.
Enhance marketing efficiency. We will continue to enhance the efficiency of our marketing spend through better data science and dynamic targeting in our digital channel, as well as greater investment in channel media and expansion of our partnership channel, where we build on the premium mobile and web experiences of contextually relevant partners to access their active customer base.
Accelerate Insurance Product Innovation
Strengthen value proposition and business model through cross-sell. We launched our home product in May of 2020 and our renters product in July of 2019. In bundling these products with auto insurance we unlock the 50% of the market that we believe prefers a bundled offering and was therefore not available to us before. This strategy supports our unit economics by creating additional revenue with no incremental marketing spend. We have also observed that customers with multiple policies retain better than auto-only customers.
Pursue Enterprise and International Expansion
Invest in enterprise. We have developed a distinct enterprise offering leveraging our existing technology and capabilities. In March 2020, we launched our first set of enterprise technology products to provide telematics-based data collection and trip tracking and today we have agreements with multiple clients. Over the long-term we plan to invest in and grow this product offering to create a distinct and scalable software-as-a-service recurring revenue stream absent risk retention.
Pursue International. In the long-term we will look to expand into the international market, both as a consumer-facing insurer in certain markets and through enterprise software in other markets, enabling select insurance companies with mobile telematics data collection and scoring capabilities.
We may selectively pursue additional acquisitions to accelerate any of our growth objectives or to improve our competitive positioning within existing and new products.
Investments
Our portfolio of investable assets is primarily held in cash, short-term investments, and available-for-sale fixed maturity securities, including U.S. Treasury securities, corporate debt securities, mortgage back securities and other
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debt obligations. We manage the portfolio in accordance with investment policies and guidelines approved by our board of directors. We have designed our investment policy and guidelines to provide a balance between current yield, conservation of capital, and liquidity requirements of our operations setting guidelines that provide for a well-diversified investment portfolio that is compliant with insurance regulations applicable to the states in which we operate. For further information, see Note 3, “Investments,” to the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this annual report.
Competition
The insurance industry in which we operate is highly competitive. Many of our primary competitors have well-established national brands and market similar products. Our competitors include large national insurance companies such as Geico, Progressive and Allstate, as well as up-and-coming companies and new market entrants in the insurtech industry, some of whom also utilize telematics and offer forms of usage-based insurance. Several of these established national insurance companies are larger than us and have significant competitive advantages over us, including increased name recognition, higher financial ratings, greater resources, additional access to capital, and more types of insurance coverage to offer, such as health and life, than we currently do. In particular, many of these competitors offer consumers the ability to purchase multiple other types of insurance coverage and “bundle” them together into one policy and, in certain circumstances, include an umbrella liability policy for additional coverage at competitive prices. Moreover, as we expand into new lines of business and offer additional products, we could face intense competition from traditional insurance companies that are already established in such markets.
Competition is based on many factors, including the reputation and experience of the insurer, coverages offered, pricing and other terms and conditions, customer service, size, and financial strength ratings, among other considerations. We believe we compete favorably across many of these factors and have developed a platform and business model based on behavioral data collection and machine learning that we believe will be difficult for incumbent insurance providers to emulate.
Intellectual Property
We believe that our intellectual property rights are valuable and important to our business. We rely on trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, license agreements, intellectual property assignment agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, and employee non-disclosure and invention assignment agreements to establish and protect our proprietary rights. Though we rely in part upon these legal and contractual protections, we believe that factors such as our skills and ingenuity of our employees and the functionality and frequent enhancements to our platform are larger contributors to our success in the marketplace.
As of December 31, 2020, we had 4 non-provisional patent applications pending examination in the United States. We continually review our development efforts to assess the existence and patentability of new intellectual property.
We have trademark rights in our name, our logo, and other brand indicia, and have trademark registrations for select markets in the United States and many other jurisdictions around the world. We also have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business.
We intend to pursue additional intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial and cost-effective. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, they may not be respected in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented, or challenged. For additional information, see the sections titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products, services and brand.”
Employees
As of December 31, 2020, we had 1,007 full-time, part-time and temporary employees. Of these employees, approximately 99% were full-time employees. None of our employees are represented by a labor union or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We have not experienced any work stoppages. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good.
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Diversity and Inclusion
We have prioritized diversity and inclusion, as part of our corporate-wide strategic goals. Strategies we have taken to create and sustain a more diverse and inclusive culture include: expanding our recruiting efforts to focus on minorities and other diversity dimensions; learning and development training on creating inclusive environments, unconscious bias, and how to be an ally; and launching, expanding and supporting our Employee Resource Groups—groups of Root employees that voluntarily join together based on shared characteristics, life experiences, or interest around particular activities.
Workforce Planning and Retention
Our efforts to recruit and retain a diverse and passionate workforce include providing competitive compensation and benefit packages nationwide and ensuring we listen to our employees. To that end, we regularly survey our employees to obtain their views and assess employee satisfaction. We use the views expressed in the surveys to influence our people strategy and policies. We also use employee survey information, headcount data and cost analyses to gain insights into how and where we work.
Insurance Regulation
We are subject to insurance regulation in the jurisdictions in which we transact insurance through our licensed insurance carriers and producer subsidiaries. Insurance regulatory authorities have broad administrative powers to regulate all aspects of an insurance carrier or producer’s business, including the powers to restrict or revoke licenses to transact business, and to levy fines and monetary penalties against insurers and insurance producers found to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations. Regulations to which our licensed insurance carriers and producer subsidiaries are subject include, but are not limited to:
prior approval of transactions resulting in a change of “control” (as such term is defined under the Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act of Ohio, or the Ohio Holding Company Act, and the Delaware Insurance Holding Company System Registration Act, or the Delaware Holding Company Act, and together with the Ohio Holding Company Act, the Holding Company Acts);
approval of policy forms and premiums;
approval of intercompany service agreements;
statutory and risk-based capital solvency requirements, including the minimum capital and surplus our regulated insurance subsidiaries must maintain;
establishing minimum reserves that insurance carriers must hold to pay projected insurance claims;
required participation by our regulated insurance subsidiaries in state guaranty funds;
restrictions on the type and concentration of our regulated insurance subsidiaries’ investments;
restrictions on the advertising and marketing of insurance;
restrictions on the adjustment and settlement of insurance claims;
restrictions on the use of rebates to induce a policyholder to purchase insurance;
restrictions on the sale, solicitation and negotiation of insurance;
restrictions on the sharing of insurance commissions and payment of referral fees;
prohibitions on the underwriting of insurance on the basis of race, sex, religion and other protected classes;
restrictions on our ability to use telematics to underwrite and price insurance policies, particularly in California;
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restrictions on the ability of our regulated insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends to us or enter into certain related party transactions without prior regulatory approval;
rules requiring the maintenance of statutory deposits for the benefit of policyholders;
privacy regulation and data security;
regulation of corporate governance and risk management;
periodic examinations of operations, finances, market conduct and claims practices; and
required periodic financial reporting.
The business of insurance is almost entirely regulated at the state level, and the laws and regulations to which we are subject vary depending on the state. Unless the context otherwise requires, references herein to “state” include any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and certain U.S. territories. These rules are subject to change as state legislatures and regulatory agencies update their laws and regulations to address real and perceived issues and concerns. These laws and regulations are also subject to interpretation by courts. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, and the National Council of Insurance Legislators, or NCOIL, are the principal organizations tasked with establishing standards and best practices across the various states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories, and from time to time promulgate model rules and regulations that often are the basis for insurance rules and regulations adopted by such jurisdictions. We cannot predict precisely whether or when regulatory actions may be taken that could adversely affect us or the operations of our regulated insurance subsidiaries. Interpretations of regulations by regulators may change and statutes, regulations and interpretations may be applied with retroactive effect, particularly in areas such as accounting or reserve requirements.
Required Licensing
We have two wholly-owned regulated U.S. insurance subsidiaries, Root Insurance Company and Root Property & Casualty. Root Insurance Company, an Ohio-domiciled insurer, is admitted in the state of Ohio to transact certain lines of property and casualty insurance, maintains licenses to transact insurance in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia, and has applications pending for licenses to transact insurance in Florida and Massachusetts. Root Property & Casualty is domiciled in Delaware and admitted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to transact certain lines of property and casualty insurance (including to sell personal auto insurance in 48 states and the District of Columbia). Since Root Insurance Company is our regulated insurance subsidiary with the largest premium volume, Ohio is considered our primary state insurance regulator.
We have a reinsurance captive subsidiary, Root Reinsurance Company, Ltd., domiciled in the Cayman Islands.
Our licensed insurance producer subsidiary, Root Insurance Agency, LLC, must maintain an insurance producer license in every state in which it sells, solicits or negotiates insurance. Root Insurance Agency, LLC currently holds a resident insurance producer license in Ohio and a non-resident license in the remaining 49 states and the District of Columbia, except for California, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.
Insurance regulators have broad authority to restrict or revoke licenses of insurance carriers and producers who are found to be in violation of any applicable laws and regulations.
Licensing of Our Employees
Any of our employees who sell, solicit or negotiate insurance must be licensed and appointed insurance producers and must fulfill annual continuing education requirements. In certain states in which we operate, insurance claims adjusters are also required to be licensed and fulfill annual continuing education requirements.
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Insurance Holding Company Regulation
As the ultimate controlling person in the “insurance holding company system” under the Holding Company Acts, we are required to file annual enterprise risk reports, corporate governance disclosures and own risk solvency assessments with our domiciliary regulators. Moreover, in Ohio for example, any person divesting control of an insurer must provide 30 days’ notice to the regulator and the insurer.
Under the Holding Company Acts, all inter-affiliate transactions within a holding company system must meet the following conditions: (i) the terms must be fair and reasonable; (ii) charges or fees for services performed must be fair and reasonable; and (iii) expenses incurred and payments received must be allocated to the insurer in conformity with customary insurance accounting practices consistently applied. We generally must disclose any transaction between our regulated insurance subsidiaries and our other affiliates to the supervisory DOI and obtain prior approval from such DOI before entering into certain material inter-affiliate transactions, including, but not limited to, management agreements, tax allocation agreements, service contracts, cost-sharing arrangements, extraordinary dividends, certain reinsurance transactions and certain loan agreements.
Change of Control
Pursuant to the Holding Company Acts, a person must seek regulatory approval from the superintendent of the supervisory DOI prior to acquiring direct or indirect “control” of a domestic insurer by filing a Form A Statement Regarding the Acquisition of Control of or Merger with a Domestic Insurer. As part of this Form A application, the entity acquiring control (as well as any controlling shareholders of such entity) will need to submit, along with other documents and disclosures, its financial statements, organizational charts and biographical affidavits for any officers, directors and controlling shareholders of each applicable entity. The superintendent of the DOI will grant approval of an application to acquire control of a domestic insurer unless, after a public hearing, the superintendent finds that any of the following apply: (i) after the change of control, the domestic insurer would not be able to satisfy the requirements for the issuance of a license to write the line or lines of insurance for which it is presently licensed; (ii) the effect of the merger or other acquisition of control would be substantially to lessen competition in insurance in the applicable state or tend to create a monopoly; (iii) the financial condition of any acquiring party is such as might jeopardize the financial stability of the domestic insurer, or prejudice the interests of its policyholders; (iv) the plans or proposals that the acquiring party has to liquidate the domestic insurer, sell its assets, or consolidate or merge it with any person, or to make any other material change in its business or corporate structure or management, are unfair and unreasonable to policyholders of the domestic insurer and not in the public interest; (v) the competence, experience and integrity of the persons that would control the operation of the domestic insurer are such that it would not be in the interest of policyholders of the domestic insurer and of the public to permit the merger or other acquisition of control; or (vi) the acquisition is likely to be hazardous or prejudicial to the insurance-buying public.
The Holding Company Acts provide that control over a domestic insurer is presumed to exist if any person, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing, ten percent or more of the voting securities of the domestic insurer. A person may rebut this statutory presumption of control by submitting a disclaimer of affiliation with the supervisory DOI, disclosing all material relationships and bases for affiliation between the person and the insurer as well as the basis for disclaiming such affiliation. The state regulators, however, may also find that “control” exists in circumstances in which a person owns or controls less than ten percent of the voting securities of the domestic insurer.
These change of control regulations may dissuade investors from acquiring a controlling stake in our company, including through transactions that some or all of our stockholders might consider to be desirable. Such regulations may also inhibit our ability to acquire an insurance company should we wish to do so in the future. See the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to this Offering and Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock—Applicable insurance laws may make it difficult to effect a change of control.”
ORSA
Pursuant to the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment, or ORSA Model Act, an insurance company with direct written and unaffiliated assumed premium of more than $500 million or that is part of an insurance group with direct
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written and unaffiliated assumed premium of more than $1 billion must maintain a risk management framework to assist the insurer with identifying, assessing, monitoring, managing, and reporting on its material and relevant risks. In addition, the insurer must regularly conduct an own risk and solvency assessment in accordance with NAIC’s ORSA Guidance Manual. Upon the request of the superintendent of the Ohio DOI, and not more than once a year, an insurer must submit an ORSA summary report, or any combination of reports that together contain the information described in the ORSA Guidance Manual, with respect to the insurer and the insurance group of which it is a member. Root Insurance Company became subject to ORSA in 2020 since it had direct written and unaffiliated assumed premium in excess of $500 million for that year and its first assessment is due prior to the end of fiscal year 2021.
Restrictions on Paying Dividends
We are a holding company that transacts a majority of its business through operating subsidiaries. Consequently, our ability to pay dividends to stockholders and meet our debt payment obligations depends on the results of operations of our operating subsidiaries and on the ability of such subsidiaries to provide us with cash, whether in the form of dividends, distributions, loans or otherwise. The payment of any extraordinary dividend by one of our regulated insurance subsidiaries requires the prior approval of the superintendent of the supervisory DOI. “Extraordinary dividend” is defined under the Code as: (i) any dividend or distribution of cash or other property whose fair market value, together with that of other dividends or distributions made within the preceding twelve months, exceeds the greater of (a) ten per cent of an insurer’s policyholder surplus as of December 31 of the preceding year, or (b) an insurer’s net income for the twelve-month period ending December 31 of the preceding year or (ii) any dividend or distribution paid by an insurer from a source other than earned surplus. As of December 31, 2020, neither Root Insurance Company nor Root Property & Casualty were permitted to pay any dividends to us without approval of the superintendent of the supervisory DOI. See the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business— Failure to maintain our risk-based capital at the required levels could adversely affect our ability to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business.”
In addition, insurance regulators have broad powers to prevent a reduction of statutory surplus to inadequate levels, and there is no assurance that dividends of the maximum amount calculated under any applicable formula would be permitted. The Ohio DOI and the Delaware DOI may in the future adopt statutory provisions more restrictive than those currently in effect.
Reserves
Our domestic insurance subsidiaries are required to hold admitted assets as reserves to cover projected losses under its policies, in accordance with actuarial principles. In accordance with NAIC’s property and casualty statement instructions, they must submit an annual Statement of Actuarial Opinion from a qualified actuary appointed by the company, certifying that its reserves are reasonable.
Risk-Based Capital
Our domestic insurance subsidiaries are required to maintain minimum levels of risk-based capital to support their overall business operations and minimize the risk of insolvency. State insurance regulators use risk-based capital to set capital requirements, based on the size and degree of risk taken by the insurer, taking into account various risk factors including asset risk, credit risk, underwriting risk, and interest rate risk. As the ratio of an insurer’s total adjusted capital and surplus decreases relative to its risk-based capital, the risk-based capital laws provide for increasing levels of regulatory scrutiny and intervention.
Both Ohio and Delaware have adopted the model legislation promulgated by the NAIC pertaining to risk-based capital and require annual reporting by insurers domiciled within such states to confirm that the insurer is meeting its risk-based capital requirements. Insurers falling below a risk-based capital threshold may be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action. An insurance company with total adjusted capital that is less than 200% of its authorized control level risk-based capital is at a company action level, which would require the insurance company to file a risk-based capital plan that, among other things, contains proposals of corrective actions the company intends to take that are reasonably expected to result in the elimination of the company action level event. Additional action level events occur when the insurer’s total adjusted capital falls below 150%, 100% and 70% of its authorized
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control level risk-based capital. When total adjusted capital falls below 70%, a mandatory control event is triggered which results in the supervisory DOI placing the insurance company in receivership and assuming control of the operations of the insurer. As of December 31, 2020, both Root Insurance Company and Root Property & Casualty’s risk based capital levels are above any of these regulatory action level thresholds.
Hazardous Financial Conditions
Our insurance regulatory authorities have the authority to deem our domestic insurance subsidiaries to be in a hazardous financial condition such that the insurer’s continued operation may be hazardous to its policyholders, creditors, or the general public. A finding of a hazardous condition can be based upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to: (i) adverse findings in a financial, market conduct or other examination; (ii) failure to maintain adequate reserves in accordance with presently accepted actuarial standards of practice; (iii) net loss or negative net income in the last twelve month period or any shorter period of time; (iv) failure to meet financial and holding company filing requirements; (v) insolvencies with a company’s reinsurer(s) or within the insurer’s insurance holding company system; (vi) a finding of incompetent or unfit management of the insurer; (vii) a failure to furnish requested information or provide accurate information in relation to a response to an inquiry or filing of a financial statement; and (viii) any other finding determined by the commissioner to be hazardous to the insurer’s policyholders, creditors or general public.
If an insurance regulatory authority finds one of our domestic insurance subsidiaries to be in hazardous condition it has the authority, in lieu of placing the insurer into supervision, rehabilitation or liquidation, to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the insurer or issue an order to require the insurer to remedy the hazard. This would include, but is not limited to, ordering the insurer to: (i) increase its capital and surplus, (ii) suspend payments of dividends, (iii) limit or withdraw from certain investments, (iv) correct corporate governance deficiencies and (v) take any other action necessary to cure the hazardous condition.
Periodic Examinations
Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to on-site visits and financial and/or market conduct examinations by state insurance regulatory authorities. We are subject to financial examinations in any state in which one of our insurance company subsidiaries is domiciled. For example, Root Insurance Company is Ohio-domiciled and subject to a financial examination by the Ohio DOI at least every five years, during which the Ohio DOI reviews the company’s financials, governance, and operations, including its relationships and transactions with affiliates. Root Insurance Company is presently undergoing its first financial examination by the Ohio DOI. The Ohio DOI financial examination is scheduled to conclude at the end of the second quarter of 2021. Root Property & Casualty is a Delaware-domiciled insurer and subject to similar financial examination by the Delaware DOI.
We are also subject to market conduct examinations in any state in which one of our insurance subsidiaries issues policies. Market conduct examinations examine an insurer’s conduct toward policyholders, including complaint handling, marketing, claims, policyholder notice, rate and form filing, and customer service. These examinations can result in fines and other monetary penalties, as well as other regulatory orders requiring remedial, injunctive, or other corrective action. Root Insurance Company is currently undergoing a market conduct examination conducted by the Virginia Bureau of Insurance. The examination is expected to conclude near the end of the second quarter of 2021.
Statutory Accounting Principles
A licensed insurance carrier’s financial statements must be completed in accordance with statutory accounting principles, or SAP. SAP was developed by U.S. insurance regulators as a method of accounting used to monitor and regulate the solvency of insurance companies. In developing SAP, insurance regulators were primarily concerned with evaluating an insurer’s ability to pay all its current and future obligations to customers. As a result, statutory accounting focuses on conservatively valuing the assets and liabilities of insurers, generally in accordance with standards specified by the insurer’s domiciliary jurisdiction.
Uniform statutory accounting practices are established by the NAIC and generally adopted by regulators in the various U.S. jurisdictions. These accounting principles and related regulations differ somewhat from GAAP
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principles, which are designed to measure a business on a going-concern basis. GAAP gives consideration to matching of revenue and expenses and, as a result, certain expenses are capitalized when incurred and then amortized over the life of the associated policies. Other assets such as goodwill are accounted for under GAAP financial statements but not SAP. As a result, the values for assets, liabilities, and equity reflected in financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP may be different from those reflected in financial statements prepared under SAP.
Credit for Reinsurance
Root Insurance Company is currently party to a number of reinsurance agreements under which it has ceded a portion of the risk it is insuring to various reinsurers. State insurance laws permit U.S. insurance companies, as ceding insurers, to take financial statement credit for reinsurance that is ceded, so long as the assuming reinsurer satisfies the state’s credit for reinsurance laws. Once an insurance carrier has received credit for reinsurance it does not need to hold separate admitted assets as reserves to cover claims on the risks that it has ceded to the reinsurer. There are several different ways in which the credit for reinsurance laws may be satisfied by an assuming reinsurer, including being licensed in the state, being accredited in the state, or maintaining certain types of qualifying collateral. We ensure that all of Root Insurance Company’s reinsurers qualify for credit for reinsurance so that Root Insurance Company is able to take full financial statement credit for its reinsurance.
Rate Regulation
Most states require personal property and casualty insurers to file rating plans, policy or coverage forms, and other information with the state’s regulatory authority. In certain cases, such rating plans, policy forms, or both must be approved prior to use.
We currently have products on file and approved in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
The speed with which an insurer can change rates in response to competition or increasing costs depends, in part, on whether the rating laws are (i) prior approval, (ii) file-and-use or (iii) use-and-file laws. In states having prior approval laws, the regulator must approve a rate before the insurer may use it. In states having file-and-use laws, the insurer does not have to wait for the regulator’s approval to use a rate, but the rate must be filed with the regulatory authority prior to being used. A use-and-file law requires an insurer to file rates within a certain period of time after the insurer begins using them. Under all three types of rating laws, the regulator has the authority to disapprove a rate filing.
An insurer’s ability to adjust its rates in response to competition or to changing costs depends on an insurer’s ability to demonstrate to the regulator that its rates or proposed rating plan meet the requirements of the rating laws. In those states that significantly restrict an insurer’s discretion in selecting the business that it wants to underwrite, an insurer can manage its risk of loss by charging a rate that reflects the cost and expense of providing the insurance. In those states that significantly restrict an insurer’s ability to charge a rate that reflects the cost and expense of providing the insurance, the insurer can manage its risk of loss by being more selective in the type of business it underwrites. When a state significantly restricts both underwriting and pricing, it becomes more difficult for an insurer to maintain its profitability.
From time to time, the personal lines insurance industry comes under pressure from state regulators, legislators, and special-interest groups to reduce, freeze, or set rates at levels that do not correspond with our analysis of underlying costs and expenses. In particular, auto insurers have come under increasing pressure and in some states have been required to refund a portion of their premium to their policyholders due to decreasing auto claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether this pressure continues to exist depends on the persistence of COVID-19 generally. State regulators may interpret existing law or rely on future legislation or regulations to impose new restrictions that adversely affect profitability or growth. We cannot predict with precision the impact on our business of possible future legislative and regulatory measures regarding insurance rates.
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In addition, insurers are restricted in their ability to use telematics-based data to set premium rates in California. Proposition 103, which was passed by referendum in 1988, limits the factors that insurers can use to set auto insurance rates to, in decreasing order of importance: (i) the insured’s driving safety record; (ii) the number of miles he or she drives annually; (iii) the number of years of driving experience the insured has had; and (iv) those other factors that the Commissioner of the California Insurance Department may adopt by regulation and that have a substantial relationship to the risk of loss. Under current California regulation, the use of telematics-based data beyond miles driven, including when, where or how the car is driven, is prohibited. We are currently in discussions with the California Department of Insurance, or the CA DOI, to revise its regulations to allow us to use telematics to a greater extent to underwrite and price insurance policies, although we cannot predict the outcome of these discussions, and there can be no assurance that the CA DOI will revise its regulations accordingly, if at all.
Insolvency Funds and Associations, Guarantee Funds, Assigned Risk Plans, Mandatory Pools, and Insurance Facilities
Most states require admitted property and casualty insurance companies to become members of insolvency funds or associations, which they fund through an annual assessment. In addition, certain states have enacted laws that require an insurer conducting business in that state to participate in     assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities and joint underwriting associations. These funds cover payments of claims of state policyholders whose admitted insurance carriers have become insolvent. The annual assessments required in any one year will vary from state to state and are subject to various maximum assessments per line of insurance.
Investment Regulation
Root Insurance Company is subject to Ohio’s rules and regulations governing the investment of its assets. Similarly, Root Property & Casualty is subject to Delaware’s rules and regulations governing invested assets. These laws generally require that an insurance company to invest in a diverse portfolio and limit their investments in certain asset categories. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations would cause non-conforming investments to be treated as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and, in certain circumstances, we would be required to dispose of those investments.
Trade Practices
Insurance producers are subject to regulation on how they may sell, solicit or negotiate insurance and conduct their business, with state laws prohibiting certain unfair trade practices. Such practices include, but are not limited to, false advertising, making false statements to regulators, unfair discrimination and rebating premium to policyholders above certain de minimis amounts. We set business conduct policies and provides training to make our employee-agents and other customer service personnel aware of these prohibitions and requires them to conduct their activities in compliance with these statutes.
Unfair Claims Practices
Insurance companies, third party administrators and individual claims adjusters are generally prohibited by state statutes from engaging in unfair claims practices. Unfair claims practices include, but are not limited to, misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions, failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies, failing to adopt reasonable standards for the investigation and settlement of a claim and attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed such person was entitled. We set business conduct policies to make claims adjusters aware of these prohibitions and to require them to conduct their activities in compliance with these statutes.
Commission Sharing
Insurance producers cannot share insurance commissions with any person for selling, soliciting or negotiating insurance unless such person holds an insurance producer license in the lines of insurance that are being transacted. Under the insurance laws of most states, there is a limited exception to this prohibition on commission sharing for the payment of referral fees to unlicensed persons, provided that the fee is a flat fee that is not contingent on the purchase of insurance and the referral does not involve the discussion of the terms or conditions of the policy.
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Data Privacy
The use of non-public personal information in the insurance industry is subject to regulation under the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act and the NAIC Insurance Information and Privacy Act, as adopted and implemented by the various state legislatures and insurance regulators, including through the California Financial Information Privacy Act. Pursuant to these laws and regulations, among other things, an insurance carrier or producer must disclose its privacy policies to all of its applicants and policyholders and must also provide either an opt-in or opt-out, depending on the state, to the sharing of non-public personal information with unaffiliated third parties. Under these rules and regulations, insurance companies and producers must also establish a program of administrative, technical, and physical safeguards designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information, protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of customer information, and protect against unauthorized access to or use of customer information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to the customers.
We are also subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents the right to access and require deletion of their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed disclosures about how their personal information is used and shared. The CCPA exempts certain information that is collected, processed, sold or disclosed pursuant to the California Financial Information Privacy Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act or the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, which also apply to us. However, the definition of “personal information” in the CCPA is broad and encompasses other information that we process beyond the scope of this exemption.
Cybersecurity
Additionally, in response to the growing threat of cyber-attacks in the insurance industry, certain jurisdictions have begun to consider and adopt new cybersecurity regulations. On October 24, 2017, the NAIC adopted the Insurance Data Security Model Law, intended to serve as model legislation for states to enact in order to govern cybersecurity and data protection practices of insurers, insurance agents, and other licensed entities registered under state insurance laws. Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina and Virginia, have adopted versions of the Insurance Data Security Model Law, each with a different effective date. Root takes steps to comply with financial industry cybersecurity regulations and believes it complies in all material respects with their requirements. Our board of directors oversees cybersecurity risk management and delegates oversight of our information security program to our executive officers and chief information security officer, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of our information security program and provides updates to the audit committee of our board of directors at each of its meetings. Our incident response team, headed by our general counsel, reports material information security incidents to our executive officers, who in turn report them to our board of directors.
Federal Regulation
The regulation of insurance companies is principally a matter of state law, and the federal government does not directly regulate the transaction of insurance. However, federal regulation and initiatives do have an impact on the insurance industry. In particular, the Federal Insurance Office, or FIO, was established within the U.S. Department of the Treasury by the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010 to monitor and coordinate the regulation of the insurance industry across the United States.
Although the FIO has limited direct regulatory authority over insurance companies or other insurance industry participants, it does represent the United States on prudential aspects of international insurance matters, including at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, or IAIS. In addition, the FIO serves as an advisory member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, assists the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury with administration of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, monitors trends in the insurance industry and advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on important national and international insurance matters. The FIO has the ability to make a recommendation to the Financial Stability Oversight Council to designate an insurer as “systemically significant,” subjecting the insurer to regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company, which could lead to higher capital requirements.
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In addition, a number of federal laws affect and apply to the insurance industry, including various privacy laws, false advertising laws, anti-money laundering laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, and the economic and trade sanctions implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC. OFAC has imposed civil penalties on persons, including insurance and reinsurance companies, arising from violations of its economic sanctions program.

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Item 1A.  Risk Factors
The following are certain risk factors that could affect our business, financial position and results of operations. The risks that we have highlighted in the following section of this report are not the only ones that we face. Our business involves various risks and uncertainties as well as those associated with the general business and insurance industry environments.
Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risks, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, before deciding to invest in our Class A common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks or uncertainties, as well as by risks or uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we do not currently believe are material. In that case, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business
We have a history of net losses and could continue to incur substantial net losses in the future. We may not continue to grow at historical rates or achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
We have incurred net losses on an annual basis since our incorporation in 2015, and we may incur significant net losses in the future. We incurred net losses of $363.0 million, $282.4 million and $69.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. We had an accumulated loss of $748.0 million and $385.0 million as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively.
The principal driver of our losses to date is our loss ratios associated with accidents by our customers. As a newer and high growth-focused full-stack insurance company, we have a higher proportion of new customers and/or customers who are inclined to more regularly shop for insurance relative to longer-tenured insurance companies. This higher proportion of new and shopper customers typically generates proportionately greater losses, thus impacting our loss ratio. Like with other more-tenured insurance companies, over time a greater proportion of all customers will be renewal customers. Establishing adequate premium rates is necessary, together with investment income, if any, to generate sufficient revenue to offset losses, loss adjustments expenses, or LAE, and other costs. If we do not accurately assess the risks that we underwrite, the premiums that we charge may not be adequate to cover our losses and expenses, which would adversely affect our results of operations and our profitability.
We expect expenses to continue to increase in the near term as we continue to make investments in the development and expansion of our business. These expenses may occur in the areas of telematics, digital marketing, brand advertising, consumer-facing technologies, core insurance operations services and lines of insurance not presently offered by Root. We may encounter unforeseen or unpredictable factors, including unforeseen operating expenses, complications or delays, which may result in increased costs, and it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of our market, demand for our services and success of current or potential future competitors. Our investments to grow our business may not result in increased or sufficient revenue or growth for several years or at all. Additionally, we will continue to incur significant expenses in connection with the repayment of the outstanding principal and accrued interest on our credit facilities, under which we had approximately $199.5 million of borrowings outstanding as of December 31, 2020, and as a public company, we will also incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company.
Our limited operating history may make it difficult to evaluate our current business and our future prospects. While our revenue has grown in recent periods, this growth rate may not be sustainable and should not be considered indicative of future performance, and we may not realize sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability. As we grow our business, we expect our revenue growth rates may slow in future periods due to a number of reasons. We may encounter unforeseen or unpredictable factors, which may result in increased operating expenses, complications or delays slowing demand for our service, increasing competition, a decrease in the growth of our overall market, and our failure to capitalize on growth opportunities or the maturation of our business. If we fail to manage our losses or to grow our revenue sufficiently to keep pace with our investments and other expenses, our business will be seriously harmed and we may not achieve or maintain profitability in future periods.
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We may lose existing customers or fail to acquire new customers, and our future growth and profitability depend in part on our ability to successfully operate in an insurance industry that is highly competitive. If we are unable to maintain the levels of customer service or continue technological innovation and improvements, our prospects for future growth may be materially adversely affected.
Our ability to attract and retain customers depends, in part, on our ability to successfully expand geographically, grow our business in the markets we currently serve, expand into new lines of business and offer additional products beyond automobile, renters and homeowners insurance. Expanding into new geographic markets takes time, may place us in unfamiliar competitive environments, requires us to navigate and comply with extensive regulations and may occur more slowly than we expect or than it has occurred in the past. While our loss performance has improved over time as more customers renew their policies and remain policyholders for longer, a future loss of customers could lead to higher loss ratios or loss ratios that cease to decline, which would adversely impact our profitability. If we lose customers, our value will diminish. In addition, we may fail to accurately predict risk segmentation of new customers or potential customers, which could also reduce our profitability.
Further, the insurance industry in which we operate is highly competitive. Many of our primary competitors have well-established national brands and market similar products. Our competitors include large national insurance companies, as well as up-and-coming companies and new market entrants in the insurtech industry, some of whom also utilize telematics and offer forms of usage-based insurance. Several of these established national insurance companies are larger than us and have significant competitive advantages over us, including better name recognition, higher financial ratings, greater resources, additional access to capital, and more types of insurance coverage to offer, such as health and life, than we currently do. In particular, many of our competitors offer consumers the ability to purchase multiple types of insurance coverage and “bundle” them together into one policy and, in certain circumstances, include an umbrella liability policy for additional coverage at competitive prices. As we expand into new lines of business and offer additional products, we could face intense competition from traditional insurance companies that are already established in such markets.
Our business model and technology are still nascent compared to the established business models of the well-established incumbents in the insurance market. Our success in the automobile insurance market depends on our deep understanding of this industry. To penetrate new vertical markets, we will need to develop a deep understanding of those new markets and the associated business challenges faced by participants in them. Developing this level of understanding may require substantial investments of time and resources, and we may not be successful. In addition to the need for substantial resources, insurance regulation could limit our ability to introduce new product offerings. New insurance products could take months to be approved by regulatory authorities or may not be approved at all. If we fail to penetrate new vertical markets successfully, our revenue may grow at a slower rate than we anticipate, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We have invested in growth strategies by utilizing unique customer value propositions, differentiated product offerings and distinctive advertising campaigns. If we are unsuccessful through these strategies in generating new business, retaining a sufficient number of customers or retaining or acquiring key relationships, our ability to maintain or increase premiums written or the ability to sell our products could be adversely impacted. Because of the competitive nature of the insurance industry, there can be no assurance that we will continue to compete effectively within our industry, or that competitive pressures will not have a material effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition. If we fail to remain competitive on customer experience, pricing, and insurance coverage options, our ability to grow our business may also be adversely affected.
There are many other factors that could negatively affect our ability to maintain or grow our customer base, including if:
we fail to offer new and competitive products, or fail to obtain regulatory approvals necessary for expansion into new markets or in relation to our products (such as underwriting and rating requirements);
we fail to effectively use search engines, social media platforms, digital app stores, content-based online advertising, and other online sources for generating traffic to our website and our mobile app;
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our digital platform experiences disruptions; technical or other problems frustrate the customer experience, particularly if those problems prevent us from generating quotes or paying claims in a fast and reliable manner; we fail to provide effective updates to our existing products or to keep pace with technological improvements in our industry; or customers have difficulty installing, updating or otherwise accessing our app or website on mobile devices or web browsers as a result of actions by us or third parties;
we suffer reputational harm to our brand including from negative publicity, whether accurate or inaccurate;
customers are unable or unwilling to adopt or embrace new technology or the perception emerges that purchasing insurance products online is not as effective as purchasing those products through traditional offline methods; or
we are unable to address customer concerns regarding the content, privacy, and security of our digital platform.
Our inability to overcome these challenges could impair our ability to attract new customers and retain existing customers and could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
We may require additional capital to support business growth or to satisfy our regulatory capital and surplus requirements, and this capital might not be available on acceptable terms, if at all.
We intend to continue to make investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new features and products or enhance our existing products and services, satisfy our regulatory capital and surplus requirements, cover losses, improve our operating infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Many factors will affect our capital needs as well as their amount and timing, including our growth and profitability, regulatory requirements, market disruptions and other developments. If our present capital and surplus is insufficient to meet our current or future operating requirements, including regulatory capital and surplus requirements, or to cover losses, we may need to raise additional funds through financings or curtail our growth. We evaluate financing opportunities from time to time, and our ability to obtain financing will depend, among other things, on our development efforts, business plans and operating performance, as well as the condition of the capital markets at the time we seek financing. We cannot be certain that additional financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all.
If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of Class A common stock. As an insurance company, we are subject to extensive laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which we conduct business, and any such issuances of equity or convertible debt securities to secure additional funds may be impeded by regulatory approvals or requirements imposed by such regulatory authorities if such issuances are deemed to result in a person acquiring “control” of our company under applicable insurance laws and regulations. Such regulatory requirements may require potential investors to disclose their organizational structure and detailed financial statements as well as require managing partners, directors and/or senior officers to submit biographical affidavits which may deter investment in our company.
Further, we are restricted by covenants in our credit agreements. These covenants restrict, among other things, our ability to incur additional debt without lender consent or grant liens over our assets, which may limit our ability to obtain additional funds.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to our operations and may negatively impact our business, key metrics, and results of operations in numerous ways that remain unpredictable.
Our business has been and may continue to be impacted by the effects of the outbreak of the novel strain of coronavirus, or COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic in March 2020. This pandemic and related measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19, such as government-mandated business closures, orders to “shelter in place,” or SIPs, and travel and transportation restrictions, have negatively affected the U.S. and global economies, disrupted global supply chains, and led to unprecedented levels of unemployment. In the second quarter
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of 2020, our business was favorably impacted by the SIPs as our customers drove less and we had a resulting material decline in loss coverages during this quarter, which have now returned to near pre-COVID-19 levels. Our business has also been impacted by certain state regulations related to COVID-19 relief efforts, including restrictions on the ability to cancel policies for non-payment, requirements to defer insurance premium payments for up to 60 days and restrictions on increasing policy premiums. We continue to assess and update our business continuity plans in the context of this pandemic, including taking steps in an effort to help keep our employees healthy and safe. The spread of COVID-19 has caused us to modify our business practices (including employee travel, employee work locations in certain cases, and cancellation of physical participation in meetings, events, and conferences), and we expect to take further actions as may be required or recommended by government authorities or as we determine are in the best interests of our employees and customers. Furthermore, COVID-19 has impacted and may further impact the broader economies of affected countries, including negatively impacting economic growth, the proper functioning of financial and capital markets, foreign currency exchange rates, and interest rates. It is possible that the pandemic will cause an economic slowdown of potentially extended duration, as well as a global recession. This could result in an increase in costs associated with claims under our policies, as well as an increase in the number of customers experiencing difficulty paying premiums, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Furthermore, due to COVID-19’s negative impact on driving, regulators in many states are either mandating or requesting that auto insurance companies refund a portion of their premium to their policyholders to reflect the insurer’s decrease in projected loss exposure due to the virus. In all of the states in which we operate, state insurance regulators have either encouraged, strongly suggested or mandated insurers to provide COVID-19-related consumer relief. Regulators in 13 states in which we operate placed a mandatory moratorium on non-pay cancellations, providing consumers grace periods ranging from 30 days to 120 days, in duration during which premium did not need to be paid in a timely fashion. These moratoriums were part of the increase of premium write offs to 3.5% during the year ended December 31, 2020. These mandates and similar regulations or requests could negatively impact our ability to charge or increase premiums to adequately cover our losses and could result in continued increased premium write offs.
Though we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely, due to the speed with which it continues to develop, the global breadth of its spread, the range of governmental and community reactions thereto and any delays in wide distribution, or public acceptance, of a vaccine, there is considerable uncertainty around its duration and ultimate impact. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the U.S. economy and other major global economies may experience severe economic aftereffects, such as a recession, and we anticipate our business and operations could be materially adversely affected by an economic downturn in the U.S. The impact of the pandemic may also exacerbate the other risks described in these Risk Factors, and additional impacts may arise that we are not currently aware of, any of which could have a material effect on us. In addition, if there is a future resurgence of COVID-19, these negative impacts on our business may be further exacerbated. As a result, the full extent of the impact of the pandemic on our overall financial and operating results, whether in the near or long term, cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.
We rely on telematics, mobile technology and our digital platform to collect data points that we evaluate in pricing and underwriting our insurance policies, managing claims and customer support, and improving business processes. To the extent regulators prohibit or restrict our collection or use of this data, our business could be harmed.
We use telematics, mobile technology and our digital platform to collect data points that we evaluate in pricing and underwriting certain of our insurance policies, managing claims and customer support, and improving business processes. Our business model is dependent on our ability to collect driving behavior data and utilize telematics. If legislation were to restrict our ability to collect driving behavior data, it could impair our capacity to underwrite insurance cost effectively, negatively impacting our revenue and earnings. In addition, if federal, state or international regulators were to determine that the type of data we collect, the process we use for collecting this data or how we use it unfairly discriminates against a protected class of people, regulators could move to prohibit or restrict our collection or use of this data.
Due to Proposition 103 in California, we are currently limited in our ability to use telematics data beyond miles-driven to underwrite insurance, including data on how the car is driven. This has significantly hindered our ability to
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offer cost-competitive insurance policies in California and could impede our ability to offer insurance policies in other states if they were to pass similar laws or regulations.
Although there is currently limited federal and state legislation outside of California restricting our ability to collect driving behavior data, private organizations are implementing principles and guidelines to protect driver privacy. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers established their Consumer Privacy Protection Principles to provide member automobile manufacturers with a framework with which to consider privacy and build privacy into their products and services while the National Automobile Dealers Association has partnered with the Future of Privacy Forum to produce consumer education guidelines that explain the kinds of information that may be collected by consumers’ cars, the guidelines that governs how it is collected and used, and the options consumers may have to protect their vehicle data. The Global Alliance for Vehicle Data Access is another organization that was formed to advocate for driver ownership of all vehicle data, particularly for insurance underwriting purposes. If federal or state legislators pass laws limiting our ability to collect driver data, particularly through driver’s smartphones, such legislation could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Some regulators have expressed interest in the use of external data sources, algorithms and/or predictive models in insurance underwriting or rating. Specifically, regulators have raised questions about the potential for unfair discrimination and lack of transparency associated with the use of external consumer data. A determination by federal or state regulators that the data points we collect and the process we use for collecting data unfairly discriminates against a protected class of people could subject us to fines and other sanctions, including, but not limited to, disciplinary action, revocation and suspension of licenses, regulatory fines and other sanctions, and withdrawal of product forms. Any such event could, in turn, materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Although we have implemented policies and procedures into our business operations that we feel are appropriately calibrated to our machine learning and automation-driven operations, these policies and procedures may prove inadequate to manage our use of this nascent technology, resulting in a greater likelihood of inadvertent legal or compliance failures.
In addition, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, announced on July 23, 2020 the formation of a new Race and Insurance Special Committee, or the Special Committee. The Special Committee is tasked with analyzing the level of diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector, identifying current practices in the insurance industry that disadvantage minorities and making recommendations to increase diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector and address practices that disadvantage minorities. The Special Committee may look into strengthening unfair discrimination laws, such as prohibiting the use of credit scores in the underwriting of auto insurance. Any new unfair discrimination legislation that would prohibit us from using data that we currently use or plan to use in the future to underwrite insurance could negatively impact our business.
Regulators may also require us to disclose the external data we use, algorithms and/or predictive models prior to approving our underwriting models and rates. Such disclosures could put our intellectual property at risk.
Additionally, existing laws, such as the CCPA, future laws, and evolving attitudes about privacy protection may impair our ability to collect, use, and maintain data points of sufficient type or quantity to develop and train our algorithms. If such laws or regulations were enacted federally or in a large number of states in which we operate, it could impact the integrity and quality of our pricing and underwriting processes.
We depend on search engines, social media platforms, digital app stores, content-based online advertising and other online sources to attract consumers to our website and our mobile app both rapidly and cost-effectively. If these third parties change their listings or increase their pricing, if our relationship with them deteriorates or terminates, or if other factors related to these third parties arise which are beyond our control, we may be unable to attract new customers rapidly and cost-effectively, which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our success depends on our ability to attract consumers to our website and convert them into customers in a rapid and cost-effective manner through our mobile app. We depend in large part on search engines, social media
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platforms, digital app stores, content-based online advertising and other online sources for traffic to our website and our mobile app, which are material sources for new consumers.
With respect to search engines, we are included in search results as a result of both paid search listings, where we purchase specific search terms that result in the inclusion of our advertisement, and free search listings, which depend on algorithms used by search engines. For paid search listings, if one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely modifies or terminates its relationship with us, our expenses could rise if we have to pay a higher price for such listings or if the alternatives we find are more expensive, or we could lose consumers and traffic to our website, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For free search listings, if search engines on which we rely for algorithmic listings modify their algorithms, our websites may appear less prominently or not at all in search results, which could result in reduced traffic to our websites, and fewer new customers.
Our ability to maintain or increase the number of consumers who purchase our products after being directed to our website or our mobile app from other digital platforms depends on many factors that are not within our control. Search engines, social media platforms and other online sources often revise their algorithms and introduce new advertising products. If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for traffic to our website and our mobile app were to modify its general methodology for how it displays our advertisements or keyword search results, resulting in fewer consumers clicking through to our website and our mobile app, our business and operating results are likely to suffer. In addition, if our online display advertisements are no longer effective or are not able to reach certain consumers due to consumers’ use of ad-blocking software, our business and operating results could suffer.
Additionally, changes in regulations could limit the ability of search engines and social media platforms, including but not limited to Google and Facebook, to collect data from users and engage in targeted advertising, making them less effective in disseminating our advertisements to our target customers. For example, the proposed Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data, or DASHBOARD, Act would mandate annual disclosure to the SEC of the type and “aggregate value” of user data used by harvesting companies, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, including how revenue is generated by user data and what measures are taken to protect the data. If the costs of advertising on search engines and social media platforms increase, we may incur additional marketing expenses or be required to allocate a larger portion of our marketing spend to other channels and our business and operating results could be adversely affected. Similarly, changes to regulations applicable to the insurance brokerage and distribution business may limit our ability to rely on key distribution platforms, such as the Root API, if the third-party distribution platforms are unable to continue to distribute our insurance products without an insurance producer license pursuant to applicable insurance laws and regulations.
The marketing of our insurance products depends on our ability to cultivate and maintain cost-effective and otherwise satisfactory relationships with digital app stores, in particular, those operated by Google and Apple. As we grow, we may struggle to maintain cost-effective marketing strategies, and our customer acquisition costs could rise substantially. Furthermore, because many of our customers access our insurance products through a mobile app, we depend on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store to distribute our mobile app.
Operating system platforms and application stores controlled by third parties, such as Apple and Google, may change their terms of service or policies in a manner that increases our costs or impacts our ability to distribute our mobile app, collect data through it, and market our products.
We are subject to the terms of service and policies governing the operating system platforms on which our mobile app runs and the application stores through which we distribute our mobile app, such as those operated by Apple and Google. These terms of service and policies govern the distribution, operation and promotion of applications on such platforms and stores. These platforms and stores have broad discretion to change and interpret their terms of service and policies in a manner that may adversely affect our business. For example, an operating system platform or application store may increase its access fees, restrict the collection of data through mobile apps that run on those platforms, restrict how that data is used and shared, and limit how mobile app publishers advertise online.
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Additionally, limitations on our ability to collect, use or share telematics and other data derived from customer activities on smartphones, as well as new technologies that block our ability to collect, use or share such data, could significantly diminish the value of our platform and have an adverse effect on our ability to generate revenue.
Limitations or blockages on our ability to collect, use or share data derived from use of our mobile app may also restrict our ability to analyze such data to facilitate our product improvement, research and development and advertising activities. For example, in June 2020, Apple announced plans to require applications using its mobile operating systems to obtain an end-user’s permission to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier for advertising and advertising measurement purposes, as well as other restrictions that could adversely affect our business.
If we were to violate, or be perceived to have violated, the terms of service or policies of an operating system platform or application store, the provider may limit or block our access to it. It is possible that an operating system platform or application store might limit, eliminate or otherwise interfere with the distribution of our mobile app, the features we provide and the manner in which we market our mobile app, or give preferential treatment on their platforms or stores to a competitor. To the extent either of these occur, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Furthermore, one of the factors we use to evaluate our customer satisfaction and market position is our Apple App Store ratings. This rating, however, may not be a reliable indicator of our customer satisfaction relative to other companies who are rated on the Apple App Store since, to date, we have received a fraction of the number of reviews of some of the companies we benchmark against, and thus our number of positive reviews may not be as meaningful.
Our expansion within the United States and any future international expansion strategy will subject us to additional regulatory approvals and costs and risks, and our plans may not be successful.
Our success depends in significant part on our ability to expand into additional markets in the United States and abroad. We currently hold Certificates of Authority in 50 states and the District of Columbia and operate in 30 of those states. We plan to have a presence in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the near term but cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide nationwide coverage on that timeline or at all. We have applied for licenses in 11 states that have not been approved or were withdrawn. Root Insurance Company has two pending certificate of authority applications, one with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and one with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance and has not had a license application denied by any insurance regulators. Generally, regulators in states in which our applications were withdrawn preferred that we seek approval at such time that we could demonstrate an underwriting profit and/or willingness to commit to a risk-based capital position greater than what had been required by the Ohio DOI.
In addition to growing our domestic business, we may also seek to expand outside of the United States. International expansion may increase our risks in complying with various laws and standards, including with respect to anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, export controls, and trade and economic sanctions. If we are successful in our efforts to expand abroad, operating outside of the United States may require significant management attention to oversee operations over a broad geographic area with varying cultural norms and customs, in addition to placing strain on our finance, analytics, compliance, legal, engineering, and operations teams.
As we seek to expand in the United States and abroad, we may incur significant operating expenses, including expenses in connection with securing applicable regulatory approvals, marketing, hiring additional personnel, engaging third-party service providers and other research and development costs. If we invest substantial time and resources to expand our operations while our revenues from those additional operations do not exceed the expense of establishing and maintaining them, or if we are unable to manage these risks effectively, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Moreover, our expansion may not be successful for a variety of reasons, including because of:
one or more states could revoke our license to operate, or implement additional regulatory hurdles that could preclude or inhibit our ability to obtain or maintain our license in such state;
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failures in identifying and entering into joint ventures with strategic partners, both domestically and internationally, or entering into joint ventures that do not produce the desired results;
challenges in, and the cost of, complying with various laws and regulatory standards, including with respect to the insurance business and insurance distribution, capital and outsourcing requirements, data privacy, tax and local regulatory restrictions;
difficulty in recruiting and retaining licensed, talented and capable employees;
competition from local incumbents that already own market share, better understand the local market, may market and operate more effectively and may enjoy greater local affinity or awareness;
differing demand dynamics, which may make our product offerings less successful;
currency exchange restrictions or costs and exchange rate fluctuations;
our lack of experience in operating our business internationally;
operating in jurisdictions that do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the United States, and mechanisms for enforcement of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries may be inadequate; and
limitations on the repatriation and investment of funds as well as foreign currency exchange restrictions.
If we fail to grow our geographic footprint or geographic growth occurs at a slower rate than expected, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
Our technology platform may not operate properly or as we expect it to operate.
We utilize our technology platform to gather customer data in order to determine whether or not to write and how to price our insurance products. Similarly, we use our technology platform to process many of our claims. Our technology platform is expensive and complex, its continuous development, maintenance and operation may encounter unforeseen difficulties including material performance problems or undetected defects or errors. We may encounter technical obstacles, and it is possible that we may discover additional problems that prevent our technology from operating properly. If our platform does not function reliably, we may incorrectly select our customers, price insurance products for our customers or incorrectly pay or deny claims made by our customers. These errors could cause us to select an uneconomic mix of customers, encounter customer dissatisfaction, which could lead customers to cancel or fail to renew their insurance policies with us or make it less likely that prospective customers obtain new insurance policies, underprice policies or overpay claims, or incorrectly deny policyholder claims and become subject to liability. Additionally, technology platform errors may lead to unintentional bias and discrimination in the underwriting process, which could subject us to legal or regulatory liability and harm our brand and reputation. Any of these eventualities could result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
While we believe our telematics-based pricing model to be more fair to consumers, it may yield results that customers find unfair. For instance, we may quote certain drivers higher premiums than our competitors, if our model determines that the driver is higher risk even though their higher-risk driving has not resulted in a claim. Such perception of unfairness could negatively impact our brand and reputation.
Regulators may limit our ability to develop or implement our telematics-based pricing model and/or may eliminate or restrict the confidentiality of our proprietary technology.
Our future success depends on our ability to continue to develop and implement our telematics-based pricing model, and to maintain the confidentiality of our proprietary technology. Changes to existing regulations, their interpretation or implementation, or new regulations could impede our use of this technology or require that we disclose our proprietary technology to our competitors, which could negatively impact our competitive position and result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. For example,
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California voters recently approved the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act, or the CPRA, which will become effective January 1, 2023, and which affords California residents significantly more control over their personal information, including the right to information about the logic of certain algorithmic decisions about them and the right to opt-out of such decisions, imposes heightened compliance obligations on covered businesses and establishes a new enforcement agency dedicated to consumer privacy. The CPRA mandates issuance of regulations which could require disclosure of our proprietary technology, limit the effectiveness of our products and reduce demand for them.
We may not be able to manage our growth effectively.
Our rapid growth has placed and may continue to place significant demands on our management and our operational and financial resources. For example, we grew our employee base from 254 as of December 31, 2018 to 1,007 as of December 31, 2020. We have hired and expect to continue hiring additional personnel to support our rapid growth. Our organizational structure is becoming more complex as we add staff, and we will need to enhance our operational, financial and management controls as well as our reporting systems and procedures as we transition from being a private company to a public company. We will require significant capital expenditures and the allocation of valuable management resources to grow and change in these areas without undermining our corporate culture of rapid innovation, teamwork and attention to the insurance-buying experience for the customer. If we cannot manage our growth effectively to maintain the quality and efficiency of our customers’ insurance-buying experience as well as the cost-effectiveness of our insurance products, as well as their experience as ongoing customers, our business could be harmed as a result, and our results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
We are subject to full scope financial examinations by state insurance regulatory authorities in each state in which one of our domestic insurance company subsidiaries is domiciled, which could result in adverse examination findings and necessitate remedial actions.
State insurance regulators perform examinations of insurance companies under their jurisdiction to assess compliance with applicable laws and regulations, financial condition and the conduct of regulated activities at least every five years. Root Insurance Company is Ohio-domiciled and currently undergoing, but has not completed, its first five-year financial examination with the Ohio DOI, which includes a review of the company’s financials, governance, and operations, including its relationships and transactions with affiliates, and a specific examination of our pricing and underwriting methodologies and our regulatory capital. Similarly, Root Property & Casualty is a Delaware-domiciled insurer and subject to similar financial examination by the Delaware DOI. If, as a result of these examinations, our regulators determine that our financial condition, capital resources or other aspects of any of our operations are not satisfactory, or that we have violated applicable laws or regulations, such regulator may subject us to fines or other penalties and/or require us to take one or more remedial actions or otherwise subject us to regulatory scrutiny, such as pursuant to an enforcement action or, in the case of regulatory capital, require us to maintain additional capital. The results of the examinations are a matter of public record, and our reputation may also be harmed by such penalties.
We are subject to market conduct examinations by state insurance regulatory authorities in any state in which our domestic insurance subsidiaries issue insurance policies, which could result in adverse examination findings and necessitate remedial actions.
Our domestic insurance subsidiaries are also subject to other targeted investigations or inquiries, including market conduct examinations, in any state in which they issue policies. These examinations can result in fines and other monetary penalties, as well as other regulatory orders requiring remedial, injunctive, or other corrective action. For example, Root Insurance Company is currently subject to a market conduct examination by the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance. Any regulatory or enforcement action or any regulatory order imposing remedial, injunctive, or other corrective action against us resulting from this examination could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition or results of operations.
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Our exposure to loss activity and regulation may be greater in states where we currently have most of our customers: Texas, Georgia and Kentucky.
Approximately 38.7% of our gross written premium for the year ended December 31, 2020 originated from customers in Texas, Georgia and Kentucky. As a result of this concentration, if a significant catastrophe event or series of catastrophe events occur, and cause material losses in Texas, Georgia or Kentucky, our business, financial condition and results of operation could be materially adversely affected. Further, as compared to our competitors who operate on a wider geographic scale, any adverse changes in the regulatory environment affecting property and casualty insurance in Texas, Georgia or Kentucky may expose us to more significant risks.
We are subject to stringent and changing privacy and data security laws, regulations, and standards related to data privacy and security, increasing the complexity of compliance. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could harm our reputation, subject us to significant fines and liability, or adversely affect our business.
In the United States, insurance companies are subject to the privacy provisions of the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the NAIC Insurance Information and Privacy Protection Model Act, as adopted and implemented by certain state legislatures and insurance regulators. The regulations implementing these laws require insurance companies to disclose their privacy practices to consumers, allow them to opt-in or opt-out, depending on the state, of the sharing of certain personal information with unaffiliated third parties, and maintain certain security controls to protect their information. Violators of these laws face regulatory enforcement action, substantial civil penalties, injunctions, and in some states, private lawsuits for damages. Insurance companies are also subject to state-specific privacy laws governing the use of particular data. For instance, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act regulates the use and storage of biometric data such as fingerprints in the insurance industry and requires the informed written consent from policyholders if the insurance company intends to collect or disclose their personal biometric identifiers.
Privacy and data security regulation in the United States is rapidly evolving. For example, existing laws, such as the CCPA, which became effective January 1, 2020, future laws, and evolving attitudes about privacy protection may impair our ability to collect, use, and maintain data points of sufficient type or quantity to develop and train our algorithms. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and require deletion of their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches, which is expected to increase the volume and success of class action data breach litigation. In addition to increasing our compliance costs and potential liability, the CCPA’s restrictions on “sales” of personal information may restrict our use of cookies and similar technologies for advertising purposes. The CCPA excludes information covered by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act or the California Financial Information Privacy Act from the CCPA’s scope, but the CCPA’s definition of “personal information” is broad and may encompass other information that we maintain.
The requirements of the CCPA will expand substantially in January 2023 as a result of California voters approving the California Consumer Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act, or the CPRA, in November 2020. The CPRA will give California residents the ability to limit use of precise geolocation information and other categories of information classified as “sensitive”; add e-mail addresses and passwords to the list of personal information that, if lost or breached, would entitle affected individuals to bring private lawsuits; and establish the California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the new law, as well as impose administrative fines. The effects of the CCPA, CPRA, and other similar state or federal laws, are potentially significant and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, incur substantial compliance costs and subject us to increased potential liability.
Some observers have noted that the CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States. There is also discussion in Congress of new comprehensive federal data protection and privacy laws to which we likely would be subject if it is enacted. Until an overarching federal privacy law is passed, however, it is anticipated that individual states will continue to adopt or amend state laws and
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regulations governing data privacy and cybersecurity, which could increase the cost and complexity of our compliance efforts and could impact the integrity and quality of our pricing and underwriting processes.
Additionally, in response to the growing threat of cyberattacks in the insurance industry, certain jurisdictions have begun to impose new cybersecurity laws and regulations. On October 24, 2017, the NAIC adopted its Insurance Data Security Model Law, intended to serve as model legislation for states to enact in order to govern cybersecurity and data protection practices of insurers, insurance agents, and other licensed entities registered under state insurance laws. Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia have adopted versions of the Insurance Data Security Model Law, each with a different effective date, and other states may adopt versions of the Insurance Data Security Model Law in the future. Also in 2017, the New York State Department of Financial Services adopted regulations providing minimum standards for insurance companies’ cybersecurity programs, requiring an annual certification confirming compliance. In May 2018, South Carolina passed a cybersecurity bill requiring, among other things, any insurance entity operating in the state to establish and implement a cybersecurity program protecting their business and their customers from a data breach, to investigate data breaches and to notify regulators of a cybersecurity event. Some jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts, Nevada and California have enacted more generalized data security laws that apply to certain data that we process. Although we take steps to comply with financial industry cybersecurity regulations and other data security laws and believe we are materially compliant with their requirements, our failure to comply with new or existing cybersecurity regulations could result in material regulatory actions and other penalties. In addition, efforts to comply with new or existing cybersecurity regulations could impose significant costs on our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
If we expand into Europe, we may also face privacy, data security, and data protection risks in connection with requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (E.U.) 2016/679, or GDPR, and other data protection regulations. Among other stringent requirements, the GDPR restricts transfers of data outside of the E.U. to third countries deemed to lack adequate privacy protections (such as the U.S.), unless an appropriate safeguard specified by the GDPR is implemented. A July 16, 2020 decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidated a key mechanism for lawful data transfer to the U.S. and called into question the viability of its primary alternative. As such, the ability of companies to lawfully transfer personal data from the E.U. to the U.S. is presently uncertain. Other countries have enacted or are considering enacting similar cross-border data transfer rules or data localization requirements. These developments could limit our ability to deliver our products in the E.U. and other foreign markets. In addition, any failure or perceived failure to comply with these rules may result in regulatory fines or penalties including orders that require us to change the way we process data.
Additionally, we are subject to the terms of our privacy policies, privacy-related disclosures, and contractual and other privacy-related obligations to our customers and other third parties. Any failure or perceived failure by us or third parties we work with to comply with these policies, disclosures, and obligations to customers or other third parties, or privacy or data security laws may result in governmental or regulatory investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, criminal compliance orders, litigation or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could cause customers to lose trust in us, all of which could be costly and have an adverse effect on our business.
Data security breaches, or real or perceived errors, failures or bugs in our systems, website or app could impair our operations, compromise our confidential information or our customers’ personal information, damage our reputation and brand, and harm our business and operating results.
Our continued success depends on our systems, applications, and software continuing to operate and to meet the changing needs of our customers and users. We rely on our technology and engineering staff and vendors to successfully implement changes to and maintain our systems and services in an efficient and secure manner. Like all information systems and technology, our website and mobile app may contain or develop material errors, failures, vulnerabilities or bugs, particularly when new features or capabilities are released, and may be subject to computer viruses or malicious code, break-ins, phishing impersonation attacks, attempts to overload our servers with denial-of-service or other attacks, ransomware and similar incidents or disruptions from unauthorized use of our computer
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systems, as well as unintentional incidents causing data leakage, any of which could lead to interruptions, delays or website or mobile app shutdowns.
From time to time, third parties may misappropriate our data through website scraping, bots or other means and aggregate this data on their websites with data from other companies. In addition, copycat websites or mobile apps may misappropriate data and attempt to imitate our brand or the functionality of our website or our mobile app. If we become aware of such websites or mobile apps, we intend to employ technological or legal measures in an attempt to halt their operations. However, we may be unable to detect all such websites or mobile apps in a timely manner and, even if we could, technological and legal measures may be insufficient to halt their operations. Regardless of whether we can successfully enforce our rights against the operators of these websites or mobile apps, any measures that we may take could require us to expend significant financial or other resources, which could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, to the extent that such activity creates confusion among consumers or advertisers, our brand and business could be harmed.
Operating our business and products involves the collection, storage, use and transmission of sensitive, proprietary and confidential information, including personal information, pertaining to our current, prospective and past customers, employees, contractors, and business partners. The security measures we take to protect this information may be compromised as a result of computer malware, viruses, social engineering, ransomware attacks, credential stuffing attacks, hacking and cyberattacks, including by state-sponsored and other sophisticated organizations. Such incidents have become more prevalent in recent years. For example, attempts to fraudulently induce our personnel into disclosing usernames, passwords or other information that can be used to access our systems and the information in them have increased and could be successful. Cybersecurity incidents can also result from malfeasance of our personnel, theft, errors, data leaks, and security vulnerabilities or bugs in our website, mobile apps or the software or systems on which we rely. Cybersecurity incidents have in the past resulted in unauthorized access to certain personal information that we handle, and may in the future result in unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate use, destruction or disclosure of, access to, or inability to access the sensitive, proprietary and confidential information that we handle. These incidents may remain undetected for extended periods of time.
We rely on third-parties to provide critical services that help us deliver our solutions and operate our business. These third-parties may support or operate critical business systems for us or store or process the same sensitive, proprietary and confidential information that we handle. They may not have adequate security measures and could experience a cybersecurity incident that compromises the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the systems they operate for us or the information they process on our behalf. Such occurrences could adversely affect our business to the same degree as if we had experienced these occurrences directly and we may not have recourse to the responsible third-parties for any resulting liability that we incur.
There are many different cybercrime and hacking techniques and such techniques continue to evolve, and we may be unable to anticipate attempted security breaches, react to cybersecurity incidents in a timely manner or implement adequate preventative measures. While we have developed systems and processes designed to protect the integrity, confidentiality and security of the confidential and personal information under our control, we cannot assure you that any security measures that we or our third-party service providers have implemented will be effective against current or future security threats.
A security breach or other cybersecurity incident, or the perception that one has occurred, could result in a loss of customer confidence in the security of our platform and damage our reputation and brand; reduce demand for our insurance products; disrupt normal business operations; require us to expend significant capital and resources to investigate and remedy the incident and prevent recurrence; and subject us to litigation, regulatory enforcement action, fines, penalties, and other liability, which could have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Even if we take steps that we believe are adequate to protect us from cyber threats, hacking against our competitors or other companies in our industry could create the perception among our customers or potential customers that our digital platform is not safe to use. Security incidents could also damage our IT systems and our ability to make the financial reports and other public disclosures required of public companies. These risks are likely to increase as we continue to grow and process, store and transmit an increasingly large volume of data.
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We cannot be certain that our insurance coverage will be adequate for cybersecurity liabilities, will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, particularly in the case of websites or mobile apps operating outside of the United States, our available remedies may not be adequate to protect us against the effect of the operation of such websites or mobile apps. Regardless of whether we can successfully enforce our rights against the operators of these websites or mobile apps, any measures that we may take could require us to expend significant financial or other resources, which could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, to the extent that such activity creates confusion among consumers or advertisers, our brand and business could be harmed.
Our brand may not become as widely known or accepted as incumbents’ brands or the brand may become tarnished.
Many of our competitors have brands that are well-recognized. As a relatively new entrant into the insurance market, we have spent, and expect that we will for the foreseeable future continue to spend, considerable amounts of money and other resources on creating brand awareness and building our reputation. We may not be able to build brand awareness to levels matching our competitors, and our efforts at building, maintaining and enhancing our reputation could fail and/or may not be cost-effective. Complaints or negative publicity about our business practices, our marketing and advertising campaigns (including marketing affiliations or partnerships), our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the integrity of the data that we provide to consumers or business partners, data privacy and security issues, and other aspects of our business, whether real or perceived, could diminish confidence in our brand, which could adversely affect our reputation and business. As we expand our product offerings and enter new markets, we will need to establish our reputation with new customers, and to the extent we are not successful in creating positive impressions, our business in these newer markets could be adversely affected. While we may choose to engage in a broader marketing campaign to further promote our brand, this effort may not be successful or cost effective. If we are unable to maintain or enhance our reputation or enhance consumer awareness of our brand in a cost-effective manner, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We rely on highly skilled and experienced personnel and if we are unable to attract, retain or motivate key personnel or hire qualified personnel, our business may be seriously harmed. In addition, the loss of key senior management personnel could harm our business and future prospects.
Our performance largely depends on the talents and efforts of highly-skilled individuals. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled and experienced personnel and, if we are unable to hire and train a sufficient number of qualified employees for any reason, we may not be able to maintain or implement our current initiatives or grow, or our business may contract and we may lose market share. Moreover, certain of our competitors or other insurance or technology businesses may seek to hire our employees. We cannot assure you that our equity incentives and other compensation will provide adequate incentives to attract, retain and motivate employees in the future, particularly if the market price of our Class A common stock does not increase or declines. If we do not succeed in attracting, retaining and motivating highly qualified personnel, our business may be seriously harmed.
We depend on our senior management, including Alexander Timm and Dan Manges, our co-founders, and Daniel Rosenthal, our Chief Financial Officer, as well as other key personnel. We may not be able to retain the services of any of our senior management or other key personnel, as their employment is at-will and they could leave at any time. If we lose the services of one or more of our senior management and other key personnel, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may not be able to successfully manage our business, meet competitive challenges or achieve our growth objectives. Further, to the extent that our business grows, we will need to attract and retain additional qualified management personnel in a timely manner, and we may not be able to do so. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate, retain and integrate highly skilled personnel in all areas of our organization.
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New legislation or legal requirements may affect how we communicate with our customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business model, financial condition, and results of operations.
State and federal lawmakers and insurance regulators are focusing on the use of artificial intelligence broadly, including concerns about transparency, deception, and fairness in particular. For instance, on August 24, 2020 the NAIC adopted guiding principles on artificial intelligence developed by the NAIC’s AI Working Group to provide guidance to regulators on the use of artificial intelligence in the insurance industry. Changes in laws or regulations, or changes in the interpretation of laws or regulations by a regulatory authority, specific to the use of artificial intelligence, may decrease our revenues and earnings and may require us to change the manner in which we conduct some aspects of our business. We may also be required to disclose our proprietary software to regulators, putting our intellectual property at risk, in order to receive regulatory approval to use such artificial intelligence in the underwriting of insurance and/or the payment of claims. In addition, our business and operations are subject to various U.S. federal, state, and local consumer protection laws, including laws which place restrictions on the use of automated tools and technologies to communicate with wireless telephone subscribers or consumers generally. For example, a California law, effective as of July 2019, makes it unlawful for any person to use a bot to communicate with a person in California online with the intent to mislead the other person about the bot’s artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivize a purchase of goods or services in a commercial transaction. Although we have taken steps to mitigate our liability for violations of this and other laws restricting the use of electronic communication tools, no assurances can be given that we will not be exposed to civil litigation or regulatory enforcement. Further, to the extent that any changes in law or regulation further restrict the ways in which we communicate with prospective or current customers before or during onboarding, customer care, or claims management, these restrictions could result in a material reduction in our customer acquisition and retention, reducing the growth prospects of our business, and adversely affecting our financial condition and future cash flows.
Denial of claims or our failure to accurately and timely pay claims could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Under the terms of our policies, we are required to accurately and timely evaluate and pay claims. Our ability to do so depends on a number of factors, including the efficacy of our claims processing, the training and experience of our claims adjusters, including our third-party claims administrators, and our ability to develop or select and implement appropriate procedures and systems to support our claims functions.
We believe that the speed at which our technology-based claims processing platform allows us to process and pay claims is a differentiating factor for our business relative to our competitors, and an increase in the average time to process claims could lead to customer dissatisfaction and undermine our reputation and position in the insurance marketplace. If our claims adjusters or third-party claims administrators are unable to effectively process our volume of claims, our ability to grow our business while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction could be compromised, which in turn, could adversely affect our operating margins. Any failure to pay claims accurately or timely could also lead to regulatory and administrative actions or other legal proceedings and litigation against us, or result in damage to our reputation, any one of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Unexpected increases in the frequency or severity of claims may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our business may experience volatility in claim frequency from time to time, and short-term trends may not continue over the longer term. Changes in claim frequency may result from changes in mix of business, miles driven, distracted driving, weather, pandemics, macroeconomic or other factors. A significant increase in claim frequency could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Changes in bodily injury claim severity are impacted by inflation in medical costs, litigation trends and precedents, regulation and the overall safety of automobile travel. Changes in auto property damage claim severity are driven primarily by inflation in the cost to repair vehicles, including parts and labor rates, the mix of vehicles that are declared total losses, model year mix as well as used car values. While actuarial models for pricing and
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reserving typically include an expected level of inflation, unanticipated increases in claim severity can arise from events that are inherently difficult to predict such as inflationary shocks or surges in health care costs. Although we pursue various loss management initiatives to mitigate future increases in claim severity, there can be no assurances that these initiatives will successfully identify or reduce the effect of future increases in claim severity.
Failure to maintain our risk-based capital at the required levels could adversely affect our ability to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business.
We are required to have sufficient capital and surplus in order to comply with insurance regulatory requirements, support our business operations and minimize our risk of insolvency. The NAIC has developed a system to test the adequacy of statutory capital and surplus of U.S.-based insurers, known as risk-based capital, that all states have adopted. This system establishes the minimum amount of capital and surplus necessary for an insurance company to support its overall business operations in consideration of its size and risk profile. It identifies insurers that may be inadequately capitalized by looking at certain risk factors, including asset risk, credit risk and underwriting risk with respect to the insurer’s business in order to determine an insurer’s authorized control level risk-based capital. An insurer’s risk-based capital ratio measures the relationship between its total adjusted capital and its authorized control level risk-based capital.
Insurers with a ratio falling below certain calculated thresholds may be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action, including heightened supervision, examination, rehabilitation or liquidation. An insurance company with total adjusted capital that is less than 200% of its authorized control level risk-based capital is at a company action level, which would require the insurance company to file a risk-based capital plan that, among other things, contains proposals of corrective actions the company intends to take that are reasonably expected to result in the elimination of the company action level event. Additional action level events occur when the insurer’s total adjusted capital falls below 150%, 100% and 70% of its authorized control level risk-based capital. Lower percentages trigger increasingly severe regulatory responses. In the event of a mandatory control level event (triggered when an insurer’s total adjusted capital falls below 70% of its authorized control level risk-based capital), an insurer’s primary regulator is required to take steps to place the insurer into receivership.
In addition, the NAIC Insurance Regulatory Information System, or IRIS, is a collection of analytical tools designed to provide state insurance regulators with an integrated approach to screening and analyzing the financial condition of insurance companies operating in their respective states. If our ratios fall outside of the usual range for one or more ratios set forth by the NAIC for any number of reasons, it could subject us to heightened regulatory scrutiny or measures or create investor uncertainty around the stability of our financial condition, which could harm our business. We have disclosed to the Ohio DOI, that certain of our ratios fall outside the usual range for one or more IRIS ratio factors. The Ohio DOI has acknowledged this and taken no regulatory action.
Further, the NAIC has promulgated a Model Regulation to Define Standards and Commissioner's Authority for Companies Deemed to be in Hazardous Financial Condition, or the Hazardous Financial Condition Standards, which has been adopted by states in whole or part. If our financial condition is deemed by state insurance regulators to meet the Hazardous Financial Conditions Standards, it could subject us to heightened regulatory scrutiny or measures or create uncertainty around the stability of our financial condition, which could harm our business. The Ohio DOI has determined that our financial condition does meet certain of those standards and requires us to provide the Ohio DOI with monthly financial reports.
Similarly, our wholly-owned, Cayman Islands-based captive reinsurer, Root Re, is subject to additional capital and other regulatory requirements imposed by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, or CIMA. Although these capital requirements are generally less constraining than U.S. capital requirements, failure to satisfy these requirements could result in regulatory actions from the CIMA or loss of or modification of Root Re’s Class B(iii) insurer license, which could adversely impact our ability to improve our overall capital efficiency and support our “capital-light” model.
As a new entrant to the insurance industry, we may face additional capital and surplus requirements as compared to those of our larger and more established competitors. Failure to maintain adequate risk-based capital at
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the required levels could result in increasingly onerous reporting and examination requirements and could adversely affect our ability to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business.
We may be unable to prevent, monitor or detect fraudulent activity, including policy acquisitions or payments of claims that are fraudulent in nature.
If we fail to maintain adequate systems and processes to prevent, monitor and detect fraud, including fraudulent policy acquisitions or claims activity, or if inadvertent errors occur with such prevention, monitoring and detection systems due to human or computer error, our business could be materially adversely impacted. While we believe past incidents of fraudulent activity have been relatively isolated, we cannot be certain that our systems and processes will always be adequate in the face of increasingly sophisticated and ever-changing fraud schemes. We use a variety of tools to protect against fraud, but these tools may not always be successful at preventing such fraud. Instances of fraud may result in increased costs, including possible settlement and litigation expenses, and could have a material adverse effect on our business and reputation.
We rely on our mobile application to execute our business strategy. Government regulation of the internet and the use of mobile applications in particular is evolving, and unfavorable changes could seriously harm our business.
We rely on our mobile application to execute our business strategy. We are subject to general business regulations and laws as well as federal and state regulations and laws specifically governing the internet and the use of mobile applications in particular. Existing and future laws and regulations may impede the growth of the internet or other online services and increase the cost of providing online services. These regulations and laws may involve taxes, tariffs, privacy and data security, anti-spam, content protection, electronic contracts and communications, electronic signatures and consents, consumer protection and social media marketing. It is at times not clear how existing laws governing issues such as property ownership, sales and other taxes and consumer privacy apply to the internet and the use of mobile applications in particular, as the vast majority of these laws were adopted prior to the advent of the internet and the use of mobile applications and do not contemplate or address the unique issues raised by the internet. It is possible that general business regulations and laws, or those specifically governing the internet and the use of mobile applications in particular, may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices. We cannot be sure that our practices have complied, currently comply or will comply fully with all such laws and regulations. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with any of these laws or regulations could result in damage to our reputation, a loss in business and proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities or others. Any such proceeding or action could hurt our reputation, force us to spend significant amounts in defense of these proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business and decrease the use of our mobile application or website by consumers and suppliers and may result in the imposition of monetary liability. We may also be contractually liable to indemnify and hold harmless third parties from the costs or consequences of non-compliance with any such laws or regulations.
Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products, services and brand.
Our trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights are important assets for us. We rely on, and expect to continue to rely on, various agreements with our employees, independent contractors, consultants and third parties with whom we have relationships, as well as trademark, trade dress, domain name, copyright, and trade secret laws, to protect our brand and other intellectual property rights. Such agreements may not effectively prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, intellectual property or technology and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, intellectual property or technology, and we may fail to consistently obtain, police and enforce such agreements. Additionally, various factors outside our control pose a threat to our intellectual property rights, as well as to our products, services and technologies. For example, we may fail to obtain effective intellectual property protection, or effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which our products and services are available. Also, the efforts we have taken to protect our intellectual property rights may not be sufficient or effective, and any of our intellectual property rights may be challenged, which could result in
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them being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, there can be no assurance our intellectual property rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products or services that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business or that unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our technology and use information that we consider proprietary.
In addition to registered intellectual property rights such as trademark registrations, we rely on non-registered proprietary information and technology, such as trade secrets, confidential information, know-how and technical information. Certain information or technology that we endeavor to protect as trade secrets may not be eligible for trade secret protection in all jurisdictions, or the measures we undertake to establish and maintain such trade secret protection may be inadequate. In order to protect our proprietary information and technology, we rely in part on agreements with our employees, investors, independent contractors and other third parties that place restrictions on the use and disclosure of this intellectual property. These agreements may not adequately protect our trade secrets, these agreements may be breached, or this intellectual property, including trade secrets, may otherwise be disclosed or become known to our competitors, which could cause us to lose any competitive advantage resulting from this intellectual property. To the extent that our employees, independent contractors or other third parties with whom we do business use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions. Current or future legal requirements may require us to disclose certain proprietary information or technology, such as our proprietary algorithms, to regulators or other third parties, including our competitors, which could impair or result in the loss of trade secret protection for such information or technology. The loss of trade secret protection could make it easier for third parties to compete with our products and services by copying functionality. In addition, any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws may compromise our ability to enforce our trade secret and intellectual property rights. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection of our trade secrets or other proprietary information could harm our business, results of operations and competitive position.
We have filed, and may continue in the future to file, applications to protect certain of our innovations and intellectual property. We do not know whether any of our applications will result in the issuance of a patent, trademark or copyright, as applicable, or whether the examination process will require us to narrow our claims or otherwise limit the scope of such intellectual property. In addition, we may not receive competitive advantages from the rights granted under our intellectual property. Our existing intellectual property, and any intellectual property granted to us or that we otherwise acquire in the future, may be contested, circumvented or invalidated, and we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing our rights to our intellectual property. Therefore, the exact effect of the protection of this intellectual property cannot be predicted with certainty. Because obtaining patent protection requires disclosing our inventions to the public, such disclosure may facilitate our competitors developing improvements to our innovations. In addition, given the costs, effort, risks and downside of obtaining patent protection, including the requirement to ultimately disclose the invention to the public, we may choose not to seek patent protection for certain innovations. Any failure to adequately obtain such patent protection, or other intellectual property protection, could later prove to adversely impact our business.
We currently hold various domain names relating to our brand, including joinroot.com and rootinsurance.com. Failure to protect our domain names could adversely affect our reputation and brand and make it more difficult for users to find our website and our mobile app. We may be unable, without significant cost or at all, to prevent third parties from acquiring domain names that are similar to, infringe upon or otherwise decrease the value of our trademarks and other proprietary rights.
We may be required to spend significant resources in order to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights, and some violations may be difficult or impossible to detect. Litigation to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could be costly, time-consuming and distracting to management and could result in the impairment or loss of portions of our intellectual property. Our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims and countersuits attacking the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property rights. Our inability to protect our proprietary technology against unauthorized copying or use, as well as any costly litigation or diversion of our management’s attention and resources, could impair the functionality of our platform, delay introductions of enhancements to our platform, result in our substituting inferior or more costly technologies into our platform or harm our reputation or brand. In addition, we may be required to license additional technology
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from third parties to develop and market new offerings or platform features, which may not be on commercially reasonable terms or at all and could adversely affect our ability to compete.
Although we take measures to protect our intellectual property, if we are unable to prevent the unauthorized use or exploitation of our intellectual property, the value of our brand, content, and other intangible assets may be diminished, competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our service and methods of operations, the perception of our business and service to customers and potential customers may become confused, and our ability to attract customers may be adversely affected. Any inability or failure to protect our intellectual property could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. While we take precautions designed to protect our intellectual property, it may still be possible for competitors and other unauthorized third parties to copy our technology and use our proprietary brand, content and information to create or enhance competing solutions and services, which could adversely affect our competitive position in our rapidly evolving and highly competitive industry. Some license provisions that protect against unauthorized use, copying, transfer and disclosure of our technology may be unenforceable under the laws of certain jurisdictions and foreign countries. While we enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and enter into confidentiality agreements with our third-party providers and strategic partners, we cannot assure you that these agreements will be effective in controlling access to, and use and distribution of, our products and proprietary information. Further, these agreements do not prevent our competitors from independently developing technologies that are substantially equivalent or superior to our offerings.
Some of our products and services contain open source software, which may pose particular risks to our proprietary software, products, and services in a manner that could have a negative effect on our business.
We use open source software in our products and services and anticipate continuing to use open source software in the future. Some open source software licenses require those who distribute open source software as part of their own software product to publicly disclose all or part of the source code of such software product or to make available any derivative works of the open source code on unfavorable terms or at no cost, and we may be subject to such terms. The terms of certain open source licenses to which we are subject have not been interpreted by U.S. or foreign courts, and there is a risk that open source software licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to provide or distribute our products or services. Additionally, we could face claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the open source software or derivative works that we develop using such software, which could include our proprietary source code, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These claims could result in litigation and could require us to make our software source code freely available, purchase a costly license or cease offering the implicated products or services unless and until we can re-engineer such source code to eliminate use of such open source software. This re-engineering process could require us to expend significant additional research and development resources, and we may not be able to complete the re-engineering process successfully. In addition to risks related to license requirements, use of certain open source software can lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties, assurance of title or controls on the origin or operation of the open source software, which are risks that cannot be eliminated, and could, if not properly addressed, negatively affect our business. We have established processes to help alleviate these risks, including a review process for screening requests from our development teams for the use of open source software, but we cannot be sure that all of our use of open source software is in a manner that is consistent with our current policies and procedures, or will not subject us to liability. Any of these risks could be difficult to eliminate or manage, and, if not addressed, could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Claims by others that we infringed proprietary technology or other intellectual property rights could harm our business.
Companies in the internet and technology industries are frequently subject to litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. In addition, certain companies and rights holders seek to enforce and monetize patents or other intellectual property rights they own, have purchased or have otherwise obtained. As we gain an increasingly high public profile, the possibility of intellectual property rights claims against us grows. From time to time, third parties may assert claims of infringement of intellectual property rights against
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us. Although we believe that we will likely have meritorious defenses, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or in reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us. Our competitors and others may now and in the future have significantly larger and more mature patent portfolios than us. In addition, future litigation may involve patent holding companies or other adverse patent owners who have no relevant product or service revenue and against whom our own patents may therefore provide little or no deterrence or protection. Many potential litigants, including some of our competitors and patent-holding companies, have the ability to dedicate substantial resources to the assertion of their intellectual property rights. Any claim of infringement by a third party, even those without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs defending against the claim, could distract our management from our business and could require us to cease use of such intellectual property. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, we risk compromising our confidential information during this type of litigation. We may be required to pay substantial damages, royalties or other fees in connection with a claimant securing a judgment against us, we may be subject to an injunction or other restrictions that prevent us from using or distributing our intellectual property, or from operating under our brand, or we may agree to a settlement that prevents us from distributing our offerings or a portion thereof, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
With respect to any intellectual property rights claim, we may have to seek out a license to continue operations found or alleged to violate such rights, which may not be available on favorable or commercially reasonable terms and may significantly increase our operating expenses. Some licenses may be non-exclusive, and therefore our competitors may have access to the same technology licensed to us. If a third party does not offer us a license to its intellectual property on reasonable terms, or at all, we may be required to develop alternative, non-infringing technology, which could require significant time (during which we would be unable to continue to offer our affected offerings), effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If our customers were to claim that the policies they purchased failed to provide adequate or appropriate coverage, we could face claims that could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Although we aim to provide adequate and appropriate coverage under each of our policies, customers could purchase policies that prove to be inadequate or inappropriate. If such customers were to bring a claim or claims alleging that we failed in our responsibilities to provide them with the type or amount of coverage that they sought to purchase, we could be found liable for amounts significantly in excess of the policy limit, resulting in an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. While we maintain agents errors and omissions insurance coverage to protect us against such liability, such coverage may be insufficient or inadequate.
If we are unable to underwrite risks accurately or charge competitive yet profitable rates to our customers, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
In general, the premiums for our insurance policies are established at the time a policy is issued and, therefore, before all of our underlying costs are known. The accuracy of our pricing depends on our ability to adequately assess risks, estimate losses and comply with state insurance regulations. Like other insurance companies, we rely on estimates and assumptions in setting our premium rates. We also utilize the data that we gather through our interactions with our customers, as evaluated and curated by our technology-based pricing platform.
Establishing adequate premium rates is necessary, together with investment income, if any, to generate sufficient revenue to offset losses, LAE, and other costs. If we do not accurately assess the risks that we underwrite, the premiums that we charge may not be adequate to cover our losses and expenses, which would adversely affect our results of operations and our profitability. Moreover, if we determine that our prices are too low, insurance regulations may preclude us from being able to cancel insurance contracts, non-renew customers, or raise premiums. Alternatively, we could set our premiums too high, which could reduce our competitiveness and lead to fewer customers and lower revenues, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
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Pricing involves the acquisition and analysis of historical loss data and the projection of future trends, loss costs and expenses, and inflation trends, among other factors, for each of our products in multiple risk tiers and many different markets. In order to accurately price our policies, we must:
collect and properly analyze a substantial volume of data from our customers;
develop, test and apply appropriate actuarial projections and rating formulas;
review and evaluate competitive product offerings and pricing dynamics;
closely monitor and timely recognize changes in trends; and
project both frequency and severity of our customers’ losses with reasonable accuracy.
There are no assurances that we will have success in implementing our pricing methodology accurately in accordance with our assumptions. Our ability to accurately price our policies is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including:
insufficient or unreliable data;
incorrect or incomplete analysis of available data;
uncertainties generally inherent in estimates and assumptions;
our failure to implement appropriate actuarial projections and rating formulas or other pricing methodologies;
incorrect or incomplete analysis of the competitive environment;
regulatory constraints on rate increases; and
our failure to accurately estimate investment yields and the duration of our liability for loss and loss adjustment expenses, as well as unanticipated court decisions, legislation or regulatory action.
To address the potential inadequacy of our current business model, we may be compelled to increase the amount allocated to cover policy claims, increase premium rates or adopt tighter underwriting standards, any of which may result in a decline in new business and renewals and, as a result, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to assessments and other surcharges from state guaranty funds, which may reduce our profitability.
We are subject to statutory property and casualty guaranty fund assessments in many states in which we do business. The purpose of a guaranty fund is to protect customers in a particular state by requiring that solvent property and casualty insurers pay the insurance claims of insolvent insurers in such state. These guaranty associations generally pay these claims by assessing solvent insurers proportionately based on each insurer's share of voluntary premiums written in the state. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the amount we contributed to such funds were immaterial, however, as we enter new states the amount we are required to contribute may increase materially.
Maximum contributions required by law in any one year vary by state. We cannot predict with certainty the amount of future assessments because they depend on factors outside our control, such as insolvencies of other insurance companies. Significant assessments due to a rise in insurance insolvencies could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
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Litigation and legal proceedings filed by or against us and our subsidiaries could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
From time to time, we are subject to allegations, and may be party to litigation and legal proceedings relating to our business operations. Litigation and other proceedings may include complaints from or litigation by customers or reinsurers, related to alleged breaches of contract or otherwise. We expect that as our market share increases, competitors may pursue litigation to require us to change our business practices or offerings and limit our ability to compete effectively.
As is typical in the insurance industry, we continually face risks associated with litigation of various types arising in the normal course of our business operations, including disputes relating to insurance claims under our policies as well as other general commercial and corporate litigation. Although we are not currently involved in any material litigation with our customers, members of the insurance industry are periodically the target of class action lawsuits and other types of litigation, some of which involve claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts, and the outcomes of which are unpredictable. This litigation is based on a variety of issues, including sale of insurance and claim settlement practices. In addition, because we employ a technology platform to collect customer data, it is possible that customers or consumer groups could bring individual or class action claims alleging that our methods of collecting data and pricing risk are impermissibly discriminatory. We cannot predict with any certainty whether we will be involved in such litigation in the future or what impact such litigation would have on our business. If we were to be involved in litigation and it was determined adversely, it could require us to pay significant damages or to change aspects of our operations, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results. Even claims without merit can be time-consuming and costly to defend and may divert management’s attention and resources away from our business and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, routine lawsuits over claims that are not individually material could in the future become material if aggregated with a substantial number of similar lawsuits. In addition to increasing costs, a significant volume of customer complaints or litigation could also adversely affect our brand and reputation, regardless of whether such allegations have merit or whether we are liable. We cannot predict with certainty the costs of defense, the costs of prosecution, insurance coverage or the ultimate outcome of litigation or other proceedings filed by or against us, including remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in such litigation, and other proceedings may harm our business and financial condition.
Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards may be limited.
As of December 31, 2020, we had federal income tax net operating losses, or NOLs, of approximately $591.7 million available to offset our future taxable income, if any, prior to consideration of annual limitations that may be imposed under Section 382 of the Code, or otherwise. Of our federal NOLs, $339.4 million of losses will begin to expire in 2035 and $252.3 million of losses can be carried forward indefinitely.
We may be unable to fully use our NOLs, if at all. Under Section 382 of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change” (very generally defined as a greater than 50% change, by value, in the corporation’s equity ownership by certain shareholders or groups of shareholders over a rolling three-year period), the corporation’s ability to use its pre-ownership change NOLs to offset its post-ownership change income may be limited. While we did not experience an ownership change related to our initial public offering, we have experienced ownership changes in the past, and we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, some of which may be outside of our control. If we undergo an ownership change, we may be prevented from fully utilizing our NOLs existing at the time of the ownership change prior to their expiration. Future regulatory changes could also limit our ability to utilize our NOLs. To the extent we are not able to offset future taxable income with our NOLs, our net income and cash flows may be adversely affected.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or the Tax Act, as modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, among other things, includes changes to U.S. federal tax rates and the rules governing NOL carryforwards. For federal NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the Tax Act as modified by the CARES Act limits a taxpayer’s ability to utilize NOL carryforwards in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020, to 80% of taxable income. In addition, federal NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 can be carried forward indefinitely, but carryback of NOLs are generally permitted to the prior
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five taxable years only for NOLs arising in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2021 and after December 31, 2017. Deferred tax assets for NOLs will need to be measured at the applicable tax rate in effect when the NOLs are expected to be utilized. The new limitation on use of NOLs may significantly impact our ability to utilize our NOLs to offset taxable income in the future. In addition, for state income tax purposes, there may be periods during which the use of net operating loss carryforwards is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or permanently increase state taxes owed. For example, California imposed limits on the usability of California state net operating losses to offset taxable income in tax years beginning after 2019 and before 2023.
Risks Related to Our Business Model and Industry
The insurance business, including the market for automobile, renters and homeowners insurance, is historically cyclical in nature, and we may experience periods with excess underwriting capacity and unfavorable premium rates, which could adversely affect our business.
Historically, insurers have experienced significant fluctuations in operating results due to competition, frequency and severity of catastrophic events, levels of capacity, adverse litigation trends, regulatory constraints, general economic conditions, and other factors. The supply of insurance is related to prevailing prices, the level of insured losses and the level of capital available to the industry that, in turn, may fluctuate in response to changes in rates of return on investments being earned in the insurance industry. As a result, the insurance business historically has been a cyclical industry characterized by periods of intense price competition due to excessive underwriting capacity as well as periods when shortages of capacity increase premium levels. Demand for insurance depends on numerous factors, including the frequency and severity of catastrophic events, levels of capacity, the introduction of new capital providers and general economic conditions. All of these factors fluctuate and may contribute to price declines generally in the insurance industry.
We cannot predict with certainty whether market conditions will improve, remain constant or deteriorate. Negative market conditions may impair our ability to underwrite insurance at rates we consider appropriate and commensurate relative to the risk assumed. Additionally, negative market conditions could result in a decline in policies sold, an increase in the frequency of claims and premium defaults, and an uptick in the frequency of falsification of claims. If we cannot underwrite insurance at appropriate rates, our ability to transact business will be materially and adversely affected. Any of these factors could lead to an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Reinsurance may be unavailable at current levels and prices, which may limit our ability to underwrite new policies. Furthermore, reinsurance subjects us to counterparty risk and may not be adequate to protect us against losses, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Reinsurance is a contract by which an insurer, which may be referred to as the ceding insurer, agrees with a second insurer, called a reinsurer, that the reinsurer will cover a portion of the losses incurred by the ceding insurer in the event a claim is made under a policy issued by the ceding insurer, in exchange for a premium. Our regulated insurance subsidiary, Root Insurance Company, obtains reinsurance to help manage its exposure to property and casualty insurance risks. Although our reinsurance counterparties are liable to us according to the terms of the reinsurance policies, we remain primarily liable to our policyholders as the direct insurers on all risks reinsured. As a result, reinsurance does not eliminate the obligation of our regulated insurance subsidiary to pay all claims, and we are subject to the risk that one or more of our reinsurers will be unable or unwilling to honor its obligations, that the reinsurers will not pay in a timely fashion, or that our losses are so large that they exceed the limits inherent in our reinsurance contracts, limiting recovery. We are also subject to the risk that under applicable insurance laws and regulations we may not be able to take credit for the reinsurance on our financial statements and instead would be required to hold separate admitted assets as reserves to cover claims on the risks that we have ceded to the reinsurer. Reinsurers may become financially unsound by the time that they are called upon to pay amounts due, which may not occur for many years, in which case we may have no legal ability to recover what is due to us under our agreement with such reinsurer. Any disputes with reinsurers regarding coverage under reinsurance contracts could be time consuming, costly, and uncertain of success.
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Market conditions beyond our control impact the availability and cost of the reinsurance we purchase. No assurances can be made that reinsurance will remain continuously available to us to the same extent and on the same terms and rates as is currently available, as such availability depends in part on factors outside of our control. A new contract may not provide sufficient reinsurance protection. Market forces and external factors, such as significant losses from hurricanes or terrorist attacks or an increase in capital and surplus requirements, impact the availability and cost of the reinsurance we purchase. If we were unable to maintain our current level of reinsurance or purchase new reinsurance protection in amounts that we consider sufficient at acceptable prices, we would have to either accept an increase in our catastrophe exposure, reduce our insurance underwritings, or develop or seek other alternatives.
The unavailability of acceptable reinsurance protection would have a materially adverse impact on our business model, which depends on reinsurance companies to absorb any unfavorable variance from the level of losses anticipated at underwriting. If we are unable to obtain adequate reinsurance at reasonable rates, we would have to increase our risk exposure or reduce the level of our underwriting commitments, each of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business volume and profitability. Alternatively, we could elect to pay higher than reasonable rates for reinsurance coverage, which could have a material adverse effect upon our profitability unless policy premium rates could be raised, in most cases subject to approval by state regulators, to offset this additional cost.
Reinsurance subjects us to risks of our reinsurers and may not be adequate to protect us against losses arising from ceded insurance, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
The collectability of reinsurance recoverables is subject to uncertainty arising from a number of factors, including changes in market conditions, whether insured losses meet the qualifying conditions of the reinsurance contract and whether reinsurers, their affiliates, or certain regulatory bodies have the financial capacity and willingness to make payments under the terms of a reinsurance treaty or contract. Any disruption, volatility and uncertainty in the financial reinsurance markets may decrease our ability to access such markets on favorable terms or at all. In addition, we are subject to the risk that one or more of our reinsurers will not honor its obligations, that the reinsurers will not pay in a timely fashion, or that our losses are so large that they exceed the limits inherent in our reinsurance contracts, limiting recovery. Reinsurers may become financially unsound by the time that they are called upon to pay amounts due, which may not occur for many years, in which case we may have no legal ability to recover what is due to us under our agreement with such reinsurer. In addition, any disputes with reinsurers regarding coverage under reinsurance contracts could be time consuming, costly, and uncertain of success. Our inability to collect a material recovery from a reinsurer could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to extensive regulation and potential further restrictive regulation may increase our operating costs and limit our growth.
We are subject to extensive laws and regulations by the individual state insurance departments in the states in which we transact business and the Cayman Island Monetary Authority as it pertains to our captive reinsurance company. These laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes may sometimes lead to additional expenses, increased legal exposure, increased required reserves or capital and surplus, and additional limits on our ability to grow or to achieve targeted profitability. Regulations to which our licensed insurance carriers and producer subsidiaries are subject include, but are not limited to: prior approval of transactions resulting in a change of “control”; approval of policy forms and premiums; approval of intercompany service agreements; statutory and risk-based capital solvency requirements, including the minimum capital and surplus our regulated insurance subsidiary must maintain; and establishing minimum reserves that insurance carriers must hold to pay projected insurance claims.
To the extent we decide to expand our current product offerings to include other insurance products, this would subject us to additional regulatory requirements and scrutiny in each state in which we elect to offer such products. Several states have also adopted legislation prohibiting unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts and practices in the business of insurance as well as unfair claims practices. Prohibited practices include, but are not limited to, misrepresentations, false advertising, coercion, disparaging other insurers, unfair claims settlement
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procedures, and discrimination in the business of insurance. Noncompliance with any of such state statutes may subject us to regulatory action by the relevant state insurance regulator, and possibly private litigation. States also regulate various aspects of the contractual relationships between insurers and independent agents as well as, in certain states, insurers and third-party administrators.
Although state insurance regulators have primary responsibility for administering and enforcing insurance regulations in the United States, such laws and regulations are further administered and enforced by a number of additional governmental authorities, each of which exercises a degree of interpretive latitude, including state securities administrators; state attorneys general as well as federal agencies including the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Insurance Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Labor Relations Board. Consequently, compliance with any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue may not result in compliance with another’s interpretation of the same issue, particularly when compliance is judged in hindsight. Such regulations or enforcement actions are often responsive to current consumer and political sensitivities, which may arise after a major event. Such rules and regulations may result in rate suppression, limit our ability to manage our exposure to unprofitable or volatile risks, or lead to fines, premium refunds or other adverse consequences. The federal government also may regulate aspects of our businesses, such as the protection of consumer confidential information or the use of consumer insurance (credit) scores to underwrite and assess the risk of customers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. Among other things, the FCRA requires that insurance companies (i) have a permissible purpose before obtaining and using a consumer report for underwriting purposes and (ii) comply with related notice and recordkeeping requirements. Failure to comply with federal requirements under the FCRA or any other applicable federal laws could subject us to regulatory fines and other sanctions. In addition, given our short operating history to-date and rapid rate of growth, we are vulnerable to regulators identifying errors in the policy forms we use, the rates we charge, with respect to our customer communications. As a result of such noncompliance, regulators could impose fines, rebates or other penalties, including cease-and-desist orders with respect to our operations in an individual state, or all states, until the identified noncompliance is rectified.
In addition, there is risk that any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue or the scope of a regulator’s authority may change over time to our detriment. There is also a risk that changes in the overall legal environment may cause us to change our views regarding the actions we need to take from a legal risk management perspective. This would necessitate changes to our practices that may adversely impact our business. Furthermore, in some cases, these laws and regulations are designed to protect or benefit the interests of a specific constituency rather than a range of constituencies. State insurance laws and regulations are generally intended to protect the interests of purchasers or users of insurance products, rather than the holders of securities that we issue. For example, state insurance laws are generally prescriptive with respect to the content and timeliness of notices we must provide policyholders. We recently became aware that we failed to comply with certain notice period timeliness requirements when cancelling a number of policies for nonpayment, as a result of which we could be liable for claims made under those policies. We are currently working to determine the exact extent to which cancellations were affected, and currently cannot predict with any certainty the impact these non-cancellations may have on our business, results of operations and financial condition, although this impact could be material. Failure to comply with other state insurance laws and regulations in the future could also have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. As another example, the federal government could pass a law expanding its authority to regulate the insurance industry, expanding federal regulation over our business to our detriment. These laws and regulations may limit our ability to grow, raise additional capital or improve the profitability of our business.
Our ability to retain state licenses depends on our ability to meet licensing requirements established by the NAIC and adopted by each state, subject to variations across states. If we are unable to satisfy the applicable licensing requirements of any particular state, we could lose our license to do business in that state, which would result in the temporary or permanent cessation of our operations in that state. Alternatively, if we are unable to satisfy applicable state licensing requirements, we may be subject to additional regulatory oversight, have our license suspended, or be subject to the seizure of assets. Any such events could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. See the sections titled (i) “Regulation — Insurance Regulation”, (ii)
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“Regulation — Insurance Holding Company Regulation” and (iii) “Regulation — Required Licensing” for additional information.
A regulatory environment that requires rate increases to be approved and that can dictate underwriting practices and mandate participation in loss sharing arrangements may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
From time to time, political events and pressures affect the insurance market, including efforts to suppress rates to a level that may not allow us to reach targeted levels of profitability. For example, if our loss ratio compares favorably to that of the industry, state or provincial regulatory authorities may impose rate rollbacks, require us to pay premium refunds to policyholders, or challenge or otherwise delay our efforts to raise rates even if the property and casualty industry generally is not experiencing regulatory challenges to rate increases. Such challenges affect our ability to obtain approval for rate changes that may be required to achieve targeted levels of profitability and returns on equity. In particular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state regulators and legislators are under increased political pressure to provide financial relief to policyholders through premium rebates or requiring insurers to pay claims arising from COVID-19 related losses, regardless of the applicable policy’s exclusions.
In addition, certain states have enacted laws that require an insurer conducting business in that state to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities and joint underwriting associations. Certain states also require insurers to offer coverage to all consumers, often restricting an insurer’s ability to charge the price it might otherwise charge. In these markets, we may be compelled to underwrite significant amounts of business at lower-than-desired rates, possibly leading to an unacceptable return on equity. Laws and regulations of many states also limit an insurer’s ability to withdraw from one or more lines of insurance there, except pursuant to a plan that is approved by the state insurance department. Additionally, as addressed above, certain states require insurers to participate in guaranty funds for impaired or insolvent insurance companies. These funds periodically assess losses against all insurance companies doing business in the state. Our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected by any of these factors.
State insurance regulators impose additional reporting requirements regarding enterprise risk on insurance holding company systems, with which we must comply as an insurance holding company.
In the past decade, various state insurance regulators have increased their focus on risks within an insurer’s holding company system that may pose enterprise risk to the insurer. As an example, an insurance holding company system’s ultimate controlling person is required to submit annually to its primary state insurance regulator an “enterprise risk report” that identifies activities, circumstances or events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer that, if not remedied properly, are likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole. As the ultimate controlling person in the insurance holding company system, we are required to file an annual enterprise risk report. Root Insurance Company submitted its annual enterprise risk report with Ohio on July 31, 2020. Other changes include the requirement that a controlling person submit prior notice to its supervisory insurance regulator of a divestiture of control, having detailed minimum requirements for cost sharing and management agreements between an insurer and its affiliates and expansion of the agreements between an insurer and its affiliates to be filed with its supervisory insurance regulator.
There is also risk that insurance holding company systems may become subject to group capital requirements at the holding company level. The NAIC is currently working to develop a group capital calculation framework that regulators may use for informational purposes. As envisioned, the framework is intended to complement the current holding company analytics framework by providing additional information to the primary state regulator for use in assessing group risks and capital adequacy. The NAIC has not promulgated a model law or regulation on this subject.
We rely on technology and intellectual property from third parties for pricing and underwriting our insurance policies, handling claims and maximizing automation, the unavailability or inaccuracy of which could limit the functionality of our products and disrupt our business.
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We use technology and intellectual property licensed from unaffiliated third parties in certain of our products, and we may license additional third-party technology and intellectual property in the future. Any errors or defects in this third-party technology and intellectual property could result in errors that could harm our brand and business. In addition, licensed technology and intellectual property may not continue to be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.
Further, although we believe that there are currently adequate replacements for the third-party technology and intellectual property we presently use, the loss of our right to use any of this technology and intellectual property could result in delays in producing or delivering affected products until equivalent technology or intellectual property is identified, licensed or otherwise procured, and integrated. Our business would be disrupted if any technology and intellectual property we license from others or functional equivalents of this software were either no longer available to us or no longer offered to us on commercially reasonable terms or prices. In either case, we would be required either to attempt to redesign our products to function with technology and intellectual property available from other parties or to develop these components ourselves, which would result in increased costs and could result in delays in product sales and the release of new product offerings. Alternatively, we might be forced to limit the features available in affected products. Any of these results could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to payment processing risk.
We currently rely exclusively on one third-party vendor to provide payment processing services, including the processing of payments from credit cards and debit cards, and our business would be disrupted if this vendor refuses to provide these services to us and we are unable to find a suitable replacement on a timely basis or at all. If we or our processing vendor fail to maintain adequate systems for the authorization and processing of credit card transactions, it could cause one or more of the major credit card companies to disallow our continued use of their payment products. The failure to do so could result in contractual fines or disruption of our ability to receive credit card payments harming our reputation and financial condition. Data security standards for merchants and service providers that accept credit card payments are prescribed by the PCI Security Standards Council, or PCI, an independent body formed by an association of the major credit card vendors. These standards are intended to promote a common set of data security measures to help ensure the safe handling of sensitive information by companies accepting credit card payments. The PCI data security standards, however, will likely evolve over time to address emerging payment security risks and other issues, requiring additional compliance efforts by us. Our intention is to maintain compliance with PCI’s data security standards.
The payment methods that we offer also subject us to potential fraud and theft by criminals, who are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, seeking to obtain unauthorized access to or exploit weaknesses that may exist in payment systems. If we fail to comply with applicable rules or requirements for the payment methods we accept, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a self-regulatory standard that requires companies that process payment card data to implement certain data security measures, or if payment-related data are compromised due to a breach of data, we may be liable for significant costs incurred by payment card issuing banks and other third parties or subject to fines and higher transaction fees, or our ability to accept or facilitate certain types of payments may be impaired. In addition, our customers could lose confidence in certain payment types, which may result in a shift to other payment types or potential changes to our payment systems that may result in higher costs. If we fail to adequately control fraudulent credit card transactions, we may face civil liability, diminished public perception of our security measures, and significantly higher credit card-related costs, each of which could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our success depends upon the insurance industry continuing to move online at its current pace and the continued growth and acceptance of online and mobile app-based products and services as effective alternatives to traditional offline products and services.
We provide automobile, renters and homeowners insurance products through our website and our online and mobile apps that compete with traditional offline counterparts. We do not offer insurance through traditional, offline brokers. We believe that the continued growth and acceptance of online products and services as well as those
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offered through mobile devices generally will depend, to a large extent, on the continued growth in commercial use of the internet and mobile apps, and the continued migration of traditional offline markets and industries online.
Purchasers of insurance may develop the perception that purchasing insurance products online or through a mobile app is not as effective as purchasing such products through a broker or other traditional offline methods, and the insurance market may not migrate online as quickly as (or at the levels that) we expect. Moreover, if, for any reason, an unfavorable perception develops that telematics, mobile engagement, a technology-based platform and/or bots are less efficacious than traditional offline methods of purchasing insurance, underwriting, claims processing, and other functions that do not use data automation, artificial intelligence and/or bots, or that our processes lead to unfair outcomes, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Our actual incurred losses and LAE may be greater than our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our financial condition and results of operations depend on our ability to accurately price risk and assess potential losses and LAE under the terms of the policies we underwrite. Reserves do not represent an exact calculation of the unpaid claims liability. Rather, reserves represent an estimate of what the expected ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost, and the ultimate liability may be greater or less than the current estimate. In our industry, there is always the risk that reserves may prove inadequate or redundant since we will likely misestimate the cost of claims and claims administration.
We base our estimates on our assessment of known facts and circumstances, as well as estimates of future trends in claim severity, claim frequency, judicial theories of liability, and other factors. These variables are affected by both internal and external events that could increase our exposure to losses, including changes in actuarial projections, claims handling procedures, inflation, severe weather, climate change, economic and judicial trends and legislative and regulatory changes. We regularly monitor reserves using new information on reported claims and a variety of statistical techniques to update our current estimate. Our estimates could prove to be inadequate, and this underestimation could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Recorded claim reserves, including case reserves and incurred but not reported, or IBNR, claims reserves, are based on our estimates of losses after considering known facts and interpretations of the circumstances, including settlement agreements. Additionally, models that rely on the assumption that past loss development patterns will persist into the future are used. Internal factors are considered including our experience with similar cases, actual claims paid, historical trends involving claim payment patterns, pending levels of unpaid claims, loss management programs, product mix, state mix, contractual terms industry payment and reporting patterns, and changes in claim reporting, and settlement practices. External factors are also considered, such as court decisions, changes in law and litigation imposing unintended coverage. We also consider benefits, such as requiring the availability of multiple limits for a single loss occurrence. Regulatory requirements and economic conditions are also considered.
Since reserves are estimates of the unpaid portion of losses and expenses for events that have occurred, including IBNR losses, the establishment of appropriate reserves, including reserves for catastrophes, is an inherently uncertain and complex process that is regularly refined to reflect current estimation processes and practices. The ultimate cost of losses may vary materially from recorded reserves and such variance may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition as the reserves and reinsurance recoverables are reestimated.
If any of our insurance reserves should prove to be inadequate for the reasons discussed above, or for any other reason, we will be required to increase reserves, resulting in a reduction in our net income and stockholders’ equity in the period in which the deficiency is identified. Future loss experience substantially in excess of established reserves could also have a material adverse effect on future earnings and liquidity and financial rating, which would affect our ability to attract new business or to retain existing customers.
Performance of our investment portfolio is subject to a variety of investment risks that may adversely affect our financial results.
Our results of operations depend, in part, on the performance of our investment portfolio. We seek to hold a diversified portfolio of investments in accordance with our investment policy, which is routinely reviewed by the
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Audit Committee. However, our investments are subject to general economic and market risks as well as risks inherent to particular securities.
Our primary market risk exposures are to changes in interest rates. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.” In recent years, interest rates have been at or near historic lows. A protracted low interest rate environment would continue to place pressure on our net investment income, particularly as it relates to fixed income securities and short-term investments, which, in turn, may adversely affect our operating results. Future increases in interest rates could cause the values of our fixed income securities portfolios to decline, with the magnitude of the decline depending on the maturity of the securities included in our portfolio and the amount by which interest rates increase. Some fixed income securities have call or prepayment options, which create possible reinvestment risk in declining rate environments. Other fixed income securities, such as mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, carry prepayment risk or, in a rising interest rate environment, may not prepay as quickly as expected.
The value of our investment portfolio is subject to the risk that certain investments may default or become impaired due to deterioration in the financial condition of one or more issuers of the securities we hold, or due to deterioration in the financial condition of an insurer that guarantees an issuer’s payments on such investments. Downgrades in the credit ratings of fixed maturities also have a significant negative effect on the market valuation of such securities.
Such factors could reduce our net investment income and result in realized investment losses. Our investment portfolio is subject to increased valuation uncertainties when investment markets are illiquid. The valuation of investments is more subjective when markets are illiquid, thereby increasing the risk that the estimated fair value (i.e., the carrying amount) of the securities we hold in our portfolio does not reflect prices at which actual transactions would occur.
Risks for all types of securities are managed through the application of our investment policy, which establishes investment parameters that include, but are not limited to, maximum percentages of investment in certain types of securities and minimum levels of credit quality, which we believe are within applicable guidelines established by the NAIC. The maximum percentage and types of securities we may invest in are subject to insurance laws and regulations, which may change. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations would cause non-conforming investments to be treated as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and, in certain circumstances, we would be required to dispose of such investments.
Although we seek to preserve our capital, we cannot be certain that our investment objectives will be achieved, and results may vary substantially over time. In addition, although we seek to employ investment strategies that are not correlated with our insurance and reinsurance exposures, losses in our investment portfolio may occur at the same time as underwriting losses and, therefore, exacerbate the adverse effect of the losses on us.
Unexpected changes in the interpretation of our coverage or provisions, including loss limitations and exclusions, in our policies could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
There can be no assurances that specifically negotiated loss limitations or exclusions in our policies will be enforceable in the manner we intend, or at all. As industry practices and legal, judicial, social, and other conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge. For example, many of our policies limit the period during which a customer may bring a claim, which may be shorter than the statutory period under which such claims can be brought against our customers. While these limitations and exclusions help us assess and mitigate our loss exposure, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void a limitation or exclusion, or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring the use of such limitations or exclusions. These types of governmental actions could result in higher than anticipated losses and loss adjustment expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. In addition, court decisions, such as the 1995 Montrose decision in California could read policy exclusions narrowly so as to expand coverage, thereby requiring insurers to create and write new exclusions. Under insurance laws, the insurer typically has the burden of proving an exclusion applies and any ambiguities in the terms of a loss limitation or exclusion provision are
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typically construed against the insurer. These issues may adversely affect our business by either broadening coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the frequency or severity of claims. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued insurance contracts that are affected by the changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a contract is issued.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The dual class structure of our common stock will have the effect of concentrating voting control with our executive officers, directors and their affiliates, which will limit your ability to influence the outcome of important transactions.
Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. As of December 31, 2020, holders of our Class B common stock collectively beneficially own shares representing approximately 97.0% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Our directors and executive officers and their affiliates collectively beneficially own, in the aggregate, shares representing approximately 69.9% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, the holders of our Class B common stock are able to exercise considerable influence over matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our company or our assets, even if their stock holdings represent less than 50% of the outstanding shares of our capital stock. This concentration of ownership limits the ability of other stockholders to influence corporate matters and may cause us to make strategic decisions that could involve risks to you or that may not be aligned with your interests. This control may adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.
Further, future transfers by holders of our Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting into shares of our Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected for tax or estate planning purposes. The conversion of shares of our Class B common stock into shares of our Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock, including our directors and executive officers and their affiliates, who retain their shares in the long term.
Applicable insurance laws may make it difficult to effect a change of control.
Under applicable state insurance laws and regulations, no person may acquire “control” of a domestic insurer until written approval is obtained from the state insurance commissioner. Applicable law provides for a rebuttable presumption of “control” by any person which owns or acquires, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting stock of the insurance company, and a person must seek regulatory approval from the superintendent of the supervisory DOI prior to acquiring direct or indirect “control” of a domestic insurer by filing a Form A Statement Regarding the Acquisition of Control of or Merger with a Domestic Insurer, or Form A. As part of this Form A application, the entity acquiring control (as well as any controlling shareholders of such entity) will need to submit, along with other documents and disclosures, its financial statements, organizational charts and biographical affidavits for any officers, directors and controlling shareholders of each applicable entity. Would-be acquirers may find these requirements burdensome, which could deter potential acquisition proposals and may serve to delay or prevent change of control transactions, including transactions that some or all of the stockholders might consider to be desirable. These requirements may also inhibit our ability to acquire an insurance company should we wish to do so in the future.
We are an emerging growth company, and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an emerging growth company, as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years following the year in which we completed our IPO, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier.
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We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our IPO, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which requires the market value of our Class A common stock that is held by non-affiliates to exceed $700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.
Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until the earlier of the date we (i) are no longer an emerging growth company or (ii) affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. As a result, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock, and our stock price may be more volatile.
We do not intend to pay dividends on our Class A common stock so any returns will be limited to the value of our stock.
We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Additionally, we are a holding company that transacts a majority of our business through operating subsidiaries. Consequently, our ability to pay dividends to stockholders is largely dependent on receipt of dividends and other distributions from our subsidiaries. As addressed above, applicable insurance laws restrict the ability of our regulated insurance subsidiary to declare extraordinary stockholder dividends and require insurance companies to maintain specified levels of statutory capital and surplus. Insurance regulators have broad powers to prevent reduction of statutory surplus to inadequate levels, and there is no assurance that dividends of the maximum amounts calculated under any applicable formula would be permitted. State insurance regulatory authorities that have jurisdiction over the payment of dividends by our regulated insurance subsidiary may in the future adopt statutory provisions more restrictive than those currently in effect. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their stock.
As a public company, we are subject to more stringent federal and state law requirements. We will incur significant increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd–Frank Act, the listing requirements of Nasdaq, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Despite reforms made possible by the JOBS Act, compliance with these rules and regulations will nonetheless increase our legal, accounting, investor relations, financial and other costs and expenses, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources, particularly after we are no longer an emerging growth company. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and Nasdaq have imposed various requirements on public companies, including establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and corporate governance practices. Stockholder activism, the current political environment and the current high level of U.S. government intervention and regulatory reform may also lead to substantial new regulations and disclosure obligations, which may in turn lead to additional compliance costs and impact the manner in which we operate our business in ways we do not currently anticipate. Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time to comply with these requirements. Moreover, these requirements will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly. We cannot predict or estimate the amount or timing of additional costs we may incur to respond to these requirements. Being a public company and the associated rules and regulations will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain adequate coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.
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If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting and the trading price of our Class A common stock may decline.
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we are required to furnish a report by our management on our internal control over financial reporting, including an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. However, while we remain an emerging growth company, we will not be required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. The rules governing the standards that must be met for management to assess our internal control over financial reporting are complex and require significant documentation, testing and possible remediation. To comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the requirements of being a reporting company under the Exchange Act and any complex accounting rules in the future, we may need to upgrade our information technology systems; implement additional financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures; and hire additional accounting and finance staff. We are currently in the process of hiring additional accounting and finance staff as we grow our business. If we are unable to hire the additional accounting and finance staff necessary to comply with these requirements, we may need to retain additional outside consultants. If we or, if required, our auditors, are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting and the trading price of our Class A common stock may decline.
There can be no assurance that there will not be material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm determines that we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
Provisions in our corporate charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of us that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your shares. These provisions also could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class A common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our Class A common stock. In addition, because our board of directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors. Among other things, these provisions:
establish a classified board of directors such that not all members of the board are elected at one time;
allow the authorized number of our directors to be changed only by resolution of our board of directors;
limit the manner in which stockholders can remove directors from the board;
establish advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals that can be acted on at stockholder meetings and nominations to our board of directors;
require that stockholder actions must be effected at a duly called stockholder meeting and prohibit actions by our stockholders by written consent;
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prohibit our stockholders from calling a special meeting of our stockholders;
authorize our board of directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could be used to institute a stockholder rights plan, or so-called “poison pill,” that would work to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer, effectively preventing acquisitions that have not been approved by our board of directors; and
require the approval of the holders of at least 66 2⁄3% of the votes that all our stockholders would be entitled to cast to amend or repeal certain provisions of our charter or bylaws.
Moreover, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or DGCL, which prohibits a person who owns 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock from merging or combining with us for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person acquired 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, unless the merger or combination is approved in a prescribed manner. These provisions could discourage potential acquisition proposals and could delay or prevent a change in control transaction. They could also have the effect of discouraging others from making tender offers for our Class A common stock, including transactions that may be in your best interests. These provisions may also prevent changes in our management or limit the price that investors are willing to pay for our stock.
Claims for indemnification by our directors and officers may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us and may reduce the amount of money available to us.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that we will indemnify our directors and officers, in each case, to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Delaware law provides that directors of a corporation will not be personally liable for monetary damages for any breach of fiduciary duties as directors, except liability for:
any breach of the director’s duty of loyalty to the corporation or its stockholders;
any act or omission not in good faith or that involves intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law;
unlawful payments of dividends or unlawful stock repurchases or redemptions; or
any transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit.
Such limitation of liability does not apply to liabilities arising under federal securities laws and does not affect the availability of equitable remedies such as injunctive relief or rescission.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that we are required to indemnify our directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law and may indemnify our other employees and agents. Our amended and restated bylaws also provide that, on satisfaction of certain conditions, we will advance expenses incurred by a director or officer in advance of the final disposition of any action or proceeding, and secure insurance on behalf of any officer, director, employee or other agent for any liability arising out of his or her actions in that capacity regardless of whether we would otherwise be permitted to indemnify him or her under the provisions of Delaware law. We have entered and expect to continue to enter into agreements to indemnify our directors and executive officers. With certain exceptions, these agreements provide for indemnification for related expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and settlement amounts incurred by any of these individuals in connection with any action, proceeding or investigation. We believe that these amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provisions and indemnification agreements are necessary to attract and retain qualified persons as directors and officers.
While we maintain directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, such insurance may not be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur, which may reduce our available funds to satisfy third-party claims and may adversely impact our cash position.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America are the exclusive forums for substantially
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all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware lacks subject matter jurisdiction, any state court located within the State of Delaware or, if and only if all such state courts lack subject matter jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware) is the exclusive forum for the following claims or causes of action under Delaware statutory or common law:
any derivative claim or cause of action brought on our behalf;
any claim or cause of action for breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders;
any claim or cause of action against us or any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees, arising out of or pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws;
any claim or cause of action seeking to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws;
any action or proceeding as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction to the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; and
any claim or cause of action against us or any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees that is governed by the internal-affairs doctrine, in all cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and subject to the court having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants.
This provision would not apply to claims or causes of action brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act, or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, or the Securities Act. Furthermore, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions. In such instance, we would expect to vigorously assert the validity and enforceability of the exclusive forum provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. This may require significant additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions and there can be no assurance that the provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions.
These exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. If a court were to find either exclusive-forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, which could seriously harm our business.
General Risk Factors
Future acquisitions or investments could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition.
In the future we may pursue acquisitions or investments that we believe will help us achieve our strategic objectives. There is no assurance that such acquisitions or investments will perform as expected or will be successfully integrated into our business or generate substantial revenue, and we may overestimate cash flow, underestimate costs or fail to understand the risks of or of related to any investment or acquired business. The process of acquiring a business, product or technology can also cause us to incur various expenses and create
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unforeseen operating difficulties, expenditures and other challenges, whether or not those acquisitions are consummated, such as:
intense competition for suitable acquisition targets, which could increase prices and adversely affect our ability to consummate deals on favorable or acceptable terms;
inadequacy of reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses;
failure or material delay in closing a transaction, including as a result of regulatory review and approvals;
regulatory conditions attached to the approval of the acquisition and other regulatory hurdles;
a need for additional capital that was not anticipated at the time of the acquisition;
anticipated benefits not materializing or being lower than anticipated;
diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
transition of the acquired company’s customers;
difficulties in integrating the technologies, operations, existing contracts and personnel of an acquired company;
retention of employees or business partners of an acquired company;
cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;
the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;
coordination of product development and sales and marketing functions;
theft of our trade secrets or confidential information that we share with potential acquisition candidates;
risk that an acquired company or investment in new offerings cannibalizes a portion of our existing business;
adverse market reaction to an acquisition;
liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and
litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, users, former stockholders or other third parties.
If we are unable to address these difficulties and challenges or other problems encountered in connection with any future acquisition or investment, we might not realize the anticipated benefits of that acquisition or investment and we might incur unanticipated liabilities or otherwise suffer harm to our business generally.
To the extent that we pay the consideration for any future acquisitions or investments in cash, it would reduce the amount of cash available to us for other purposes. Future acquisitions or investments could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities or the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses, increased interest expenses or impairment charges against goodwill on our consolidated balance sheet, any of which could seriously harm our business.
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We expect a number of factors to cause our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which may make it difficult to predict our future performance.
Our revenue and results of operations could vary significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year and may fail to match periodic expectations as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. Our results may vary from period to period as a result of fluctuations in the number of customers purchasing our insurance products and renewing their agreements with us as well as fluctuations in the timing and amount of our expenses. In addition, the insurance industry is subject to its own cyclical trends and uncertainties, including extreme weather which is often seasonal and may result in volatility in claims reporting and payment patterns. Fluctuations and variability across the industry may also affect our revenue. As a result, comparing our results of operations on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and the results of any one period should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. Our results of operations may not meet the expectations of investors or public market analysts who follow us, which may adversely affect our stock price. In addition to other risk factors discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, factors that may contribute to the variability of our quarterly and annual results include:
our ability to attract new customers and retain existing customers, including in a cost-effective manner;
our ability to accurately forecast revenue and losses and appropriately plan our expenses;
the effects of changes in search engine placement and prominence;
the effects of increased competition on our business;
our ability to successfully maintain our position in and expand in existing markets as well as successfully enter new markets;
our ability to protect our existing intellectual property and to create new intellectual property;
our ability to maintain an adequate rate of growth and effectively manage that growth;
our ability to keep pace with technology changes in the insurance, mobile and automobile industries;
the success of our sales and marketing efforts;
costs associated with defending claims, including accident and coverage claims, intellectual property infringement claims, misclassifications and related judgments or settlements;
the impact of, and changes in, governmental or other regulation affecting our business;
the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel;
our ability to choose and effectively manage third-party service providers;
our ability to identify and engage in joint ventures and strategic partnerships, both domestically and internationally;
the effects of natural or man-made catastrophic events;
the effectiveness of our internal controls; and
changes in our tax rates or exposure to additional tax liabilities.
New or changing technologies, including those impacting personal transportation, could cause a disruption in our business model, which may materially impact our results of operations and financial condition.
If we fail to anticipate the impact on our business of changing technology, including automotive technology, our ability to successfully operate may be materially impaired. Our business could also be affected by potential technological changes, such as autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles or technologies that facilitate ride, car
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or home sharing, or vehicles with built-in telematics features. Such changes could disrupt the demand for products from current customers, create coverage issues or impact the frequency or severity of losses, or reduce the size of the automobile insurance market, causing our business to decline. Since auto insurance constitutes substantially all of our business, we are more sensitive than other insurers and more adversely affected by trends that could decrease auto insurance rates or reduce demand for auto insurance over time. We may not be able to respond effectively to these changes, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Future sales of our Class A common stock in the public market by current shareholders could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our Class A common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. We are unable to predict the timing of or the effect that such sales may have on the prevailing market price of our Class A common stock.
In connection with our IPO, all of our directors and officers and the holders of a substantial majority all of our capital stock and securities convertible into our capital stock entered into lock-up agreements that restricted their ability to transfer shares of our capital stock. At midnight on March 7, 2021, most of the shares are expected to be released from the lock-up agreements and become eligible for immediate sale in the public market at the open of trading on March 8, 2021, in each case subject to trading limitations on shares held by our affiliates, continued vesting of any unvested equity awards as of such date, and our insider trading policies. As a result, a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock will become eligible for sale in the public market in early March 2021.
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Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
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Item 2.  Properties
Our corporate headquarters are located in Columbus, Ohio, and consist of 109,062 square feet under lease agreements that expire in 2024 and 2026. We maintain additional offices in Columbus, Ohio and throughout the United States in order to serve our customers in various time zones. We lease all of our facilities and do not own any real property. We believe our facilities are adequate and suitable for our current needs and that, should it be needed, suitable additional or alternative space will be available to accommodate our operations.
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Item 3.  Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we are involved in various legal proceedings arising from the normal course of business activities. We are not presently a party to any litigation the outcome of which, we believe, if determined adversely to us, would individually or taken together have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition. Defending such proceedings is costly and can impose a significant burden on management and employees. The results of any current or future litigation cannot be predicted with certainty, and regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
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Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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PART II
Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
Our Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, or Nasdaq, under the symbol “ROOT.” Our Class A common stock began trading on Nasdaq on October 28, 2020. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. Our Class B common stock is neither listed nor traded, but each share of Class B common stock is convertible at any time at the option of the holder into one share of Class A common stock and is automatically converted upon sale or transfer into one share of Class A common stock.
Holders of Record
As of February 25, 2021, Root had 8 common stockholders of record and 59,660,254 shares of Class A common stock outstanding, and the closing price of our Class A common stock was $16.42 per share as reported on Nasdaq. Because many of our shares of Class A common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these record holders.
As of February 25, 2021, Root had 208 common stockholders of record and 192,034,884 shares of Class B common stock outstanding.
Dividend Policy
We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and future earnings, if any, to fund the development and expansion of our business, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination regarding the declaration and payment of dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on then-existing conditions, including our financial condition, operating results, contractual restrictions, capital requirements, business prospects and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
From June 1, 2020 through October 5, 2020 (the date of the filing of our registration statement on Form S-1), we granted to our directors, officers, employees, consultants and other service providers restricted stock units for an aggregate 76,000 shares of our common stock under our 2015 Equity Incentive Plan.
On October 30, 2020, we issued and sold an aggregate of 18,518,518 shares (the “Private Placement Shares”) of our Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (the “Class A Common Stock”), to funds affiliated with Dragoneer Investment Group, LLC (“Dragoneer”) and Silver Lake Technology Management, L.L.C (“Silver Lake”) in private placements that occurred concurrently with the closing of our IPO.
The aggregate cash purchase price of the Private Placement Shares was $500.0 million, representing a per share price of $27.00, the same price at which shares of Common Stock were sold to the public in the IPO.
The foregoing transactions did not involve any underwriters, any underwriting discounts or commissions, or any public offering. We believe the offers, sales, and issuances of the above securities were exempt from registration under the Securities Act (or Regulation D or Regulation S promulgated thereunder) by virtue of Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act, because the issuance of securities to the recipients did not involve a public offering, or in reliance on Rule 701 because the transactions were pursuant to compensatory benefit plans or contracts relating to compensation as provided under such rule. The sale and issuance of the Private Placement Shares to Dragoneer and Silver Lake were not registered under the Securities Act or any state securities laws. We relied on the exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(a)(2) thereof and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder relating to transactions not involving any public offering. The recipients of the securities in each of these transactions represented their intentions to acquire the securities for investment only and not with a view to or for sale in connection with any distribution thereof. All recipients had adequate access, through
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their relationships with us or otherwise, to information about us. The issuances of these securities were made without any general solicitation or advertising.
Use of Proceeds
On October 30, 2020, we closed our IPO, in which we sold 24,249,330 million shares of our common stock at a price of $27.00 per share. The offer and sale of the shares in the IPO were registered under the Securities Act pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-249692), which was declared effective by the SEC on October 27, 2020. We raised approximately $615.4 million in net proceeds after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions of $39.3 million and offering expenses. We intend to use the net proceeds we received from our IPO to meet regulatory capital requirements and for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Additionally, we may use a portion of the net proceeds we received from our IPO for acquisitions and/or strategic investments in complementary businesses, products, services or technologies. The representatives of the underwriters of our IPO were Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Barclays Capital Inc. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC. No payments were made by us to directors, officers or persons owning ten percent or more of our common stock or to their associates, or to our affiliates, other than payments in the ordinary course of business to officers for salaries and to non-employee directors pursuant to our director compensation policy.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.
Stock Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our Class A common stock with the cumulative total return on the S&P 500 Index and the NASDAQ Composite Index. The graph assumes $100 was invested at the market close on October 28, 2020, which was the first day our Class A common stock began trading. Data for the S&P 500 Index and the NASDAQ Composite Index assume reinvestment of dividends. The offering price of our Class A common stock in our IPO was $27.00 per share. The comparisons in the graph below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.
root-20201231_g1.jpg
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Item 6.  Selected Financial Data
The following tables set forth our selected consolidated financial and operating data. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018 is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should read the following selected consolidated financial and operating data together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our Consolidated Financial Statements and the related Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this annual report. The selected audited consolidated financial and operating data in this section are not intended to replace our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes and are qualified in their entirety by the audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of our results in any future period.
Years Ended December 31,
2020(1)
20192018
(in millions, except per share data)
Consolidated Statements of Operations:
Total revenue$346.8 $290.2 $43.3 
Net loss(363.0)(282.4)(69.1)
Loss per common share: basic and diluted (both Class A and B)$(4.81)$(8.33)$(2.73)
Weighted-average common shares outstanding: basic and diluted
75.5 33.9 25.3 
_______________
(1)In July 2020, we increased our use of third-party quota share reinsurance with the implementation of a staggered multi-treaty approach to our program which resulted in greater external reinsurance cessions. For further information, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
As of December 31,
202020192018
(dollars in millions)
Consolidated Balance Sheets:
Total investments$224.5 $122.8 $20.2 
Cash and cash equivalents(1)
1,112.8 391.7 122.3 
Total assets(2)
1,762.3 728.6 216.0 
Long-term debt and warrants188.2 192.2 15.1 
Total liabilities729.9 542.2 129.1 
Redeemable convertible preferred stock(1)
 560.4 189.6 
Total stockholders’ equity (deficit)(1)
1,032.4 (374.0)(102.7)
_______________
(1)In October 2020, we completed our initial public offering of common stock, or IPO, which resulted in the issuance and sale of 24.2 million shares of common stock at the IPO price of $27.00, Concurrently, we issued and sold 18.5 million shares of our Class A common stock in private placements. We received net proceeds of $1.1 billion after deducting certain underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering costs. For further information, see Note 2, “Significant Accounting Policies,” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
(2)In November 2020, we acquired a shell insurance company for $22.8 million, which included cash, cash equivalents, and accrued investment income of $14.4 million and insurance license indefinite-lived intangibles of $8.4 million. This acquisition will expand our ability to sell personal auto insurance in 48 states and the District of Columbia. For further information, see Note 2, “Significant Accounting Policies,” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the section titled “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to those differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in the sections titled “Risk Factors” and “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” included elsewhere in this annual report. Additionally, our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any period in the future. This Management’s Discussion and Analysis does not discuss 2018 performance or a comparison of 2019 versus 2018 performance for select areas where we have determined the omitted information is not necessary to understand our current period financial condition, changes in our financial condition, or our results. The omitted information may be found in our Final Prospectus for our initial public offering, or our IPO, dated as of October 27, 2020 and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) on October 29, 2020.
Overview
Root is a technology company revolutionizing personal insurance with a pricing model based upon fairness and a modern customer experience. We operate a direct-to-consumer model in which we acquire majority of our customers through mobile applications. We are currently writing auto insurance in 30 states in the US.
Since launch in 2015, our model has delivered rapid growth and continuously improving operating results. Our DWP grew to $616.8 million in 2020 from $451.1 million in 2019 and $106.4 million in 2018. Similarly our DEP grew to $605.2 million in 2020 from $352.9 million in 2019 and $61.4 million in 2018. We experienced declines in our direct loss ratios to 82.0% in 2020, compared to 99.9% in 2019 and 93.6% in 2018 with corresponding declines in our direct accident period loss ratios to 78.0% in 2020 down from 103.7% in 2019 and 112.1% in 2018. See the section titled “ — Components of Our Results of Operations.”
The Root advantage is derived from our unique ability to segment individual risk based on complex behavioral data and proprietary telematics, a customer experience built for ease of use and a product offering made possible with our full-stack insurance structure all uniquely integrated into a single cloud-based technology platform that captures the entire insurance value chain—from customer acquisition to claims and administration to ongoing customer engagement.
Our model benefits from portfolio maturity. As we scale the business rapidly our results are disproportionately weighted towards new customers compared to traditional insurance carriers. As we build an underlying base of recurring customers, we expect the following financial impact:
Improve loss ratio. Renewal premiums, referring to premiums from a customer’s second term and beyond, have lower loss ratios as compared to new premiums in the customer’s first term. As we grow our business, we anticipate, consistent with industry norms, that a greater proportion of our premiums will be from customer renewals driving down the loss ratio across our portfolio.
Increase revenue per customer. Our product expansion provides an opportunity to generate additional premium and fee income per customer without material incremental marketing cost.
Reduce marketing as a percentage of premium. Recurring customer premiums have no associated customer acquisition costs and minimal underwriting costs, driving profitability. As we grow our business, we anticipate, consistent with industry norms, that a greater proportion of our premiums will be from customer renewals without associated marketing costs.
Improve retention. As a young insurance carrier weighted towards new customers, we naturally have a higher percentage of more frequent shoppers. As our business tenures and our flywheel spins allowing us to increase our pricing advantage, we will have the opportunity to acquire more long-standing customers and retain those that
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might naturally shop frequently. In addition to our pricing advantage, our expanding relationships with customers through bundling has also demonstrated improvement in retention.
We use technology to drive efficiency across all functions, including distribution, underwriting, policy administration and claims in particular. This allows us to operate with a cost to acquire and cost to serve advantage. We efficiently acquire customers directly through multiple channels, including digital (performance), strategic partnerships, channel media and referrals, and as a result our marketing costs are well below industry averages. Today, we acquire more than 75% of our customers through our mobile app and mobile website. Additionally, we are realizing operating efficiencies as we scale against our fixed expense base. Our claims management expenses, as represented by our loss adjustment expense, or LAE, are in line with peers within only two years of bringing claims management in-house and will improve as we further embed machine learning into our processes.
We also use our proprietary technology to measure long-term benefits to our business. When a state reaches certain maturation thresholds, we refer to it as a seasoned state. A seasoned state is defined as a state where (1) the regulator has approved our data science-driven telematics and pricing models and (2) we have been writing policies in the state for a minimum of one year with a minimum of two pricing filings.
As a rapidly growing full-stack insurance company, we currently employ a “capital light” model, which utilizes a variety of reinsurance structures at elevated levels of reinsurance. These reinsurance structures deliver three core objectives (1) Top-Line Growth Without a Commensurate Increase in Regulatory Capital Requirements. (2) Support of Customer Acquisition Costs and (3) Protection from Outsized Losses or Tail Events. While reinsurance has been core to our strategy since inception, beginning on July 1, 2020, we increased our use of third-party quota share reinsurance with the implementation of our staggered multi-treaty approach to our program. We expect to maintain an elevated level of third-party quota share reinsurance while rapidly growing our business in order to operate a capital light business model. As our business scales, we expect to have the flexibility to reduce our quota share levels to maximize the return to shareholders.
Given the significant impact of reinsurance on our results of operations, we added new direct basis key performance indicators to enhance investor understanding of the results of our business model prior to reinsurance. We believe our long-term success will be determined by the progression of our direct metrics used to manage and measure operations. Although we believe these direct metrics help investors understand the results of our business model, these results are not achievable under our regulatory landscape given our top-line growth and resulting capital requirements, which are relieved, in part, by obtaining reinsurance. The newly disclosed direct basis metrics include direct contribution, ratio of direct contribution to total revenue, ratio of direct contribution to direct earned premium and direct accident period loss ratio. For additional information, including definitions of these metrics, see “— Key Performance Indicators” and for reconciliation of direct contribution to the nearest GAAP metric, see “— Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
Key Factors and Trends Affecting our Operating Performance
Our financial condition and results of operations have been, and will continue to be, affected by a number of factors, including the following:
Our Ability to Attract New Customers
Our long-term growth will depend, in large part, on our continued ability to attract new customers to our platform. We intend to continue to drive new customer growth by leveraging our differentiated consumer experience and our telematics-based pricing. Additionally, our proprietary dataset will continue to scale as we grow, enabling us to enhance our predictive models that will further improve pricing and attract potential new customers. We will also continue to target attractive potential customer segments through our digital marketing channels and strategic partnerships. Similarly, we intend to increase our presence in digital and traditional channel media and expand on our recently launched a national advertising campaign to build our brand awareness. Our ability to attract new customers will depend on a number of factors, including the pricing of our products, offerings of our competitors, our ability to expand into new markets, and the effectiveness of our marketing efforts. Our ability to attract and retain customers depends on maintaining and strengthening our brand by providing superior customer experiences and competitive pricing. In particular, we are challenged by traditional insurers who have more diverse product
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offerings and longer established operating histories. These competitors can mimic certain aspects of our digital platform and offerings and as they have more types of insurance products, can offer customers the ability to “bundle” multiple coverage types together, which may be attractive to many customers.
Our Ability to Retain Customers
Our ability to derive significant lifetime value from our customer relationships depends, in part, on our ability to retain our customers over time. Strong retention allows us to build a recurring revenue base, generating additional premiums term over term without material incremental marketing costs. As we broadly retain customers and our book of business evolves to be more weighted towards renewals versus new business, as is the case with our mature competitors, we will benefit from the inherently lower loss ratios that characterize renewed premiums. Our ability to retain customers will depend on a number of factors, including our customers’ satisfaction with our products, offerings of our competitors and pricing of products.
Our Ability to be Licensed in all States in the United States
Our long-term growth opportunity will benefit from our ability to provide insurance across more states in the United States. Today, we are currently licensed in 50 states (48 states for personal auto) and the District of Columbia and operate in 30 of those states. Our continuous state expansion has unlocked a large total addressable market for sustained growth, made our direct targeted marketing more efficient and creates an opportunity to build a national brand, supporting our marketing holistically.
To expand our geographic footprint, in November 2020, we acquired all of the authorized, issued and outstanding shares of Catlin Indemnity Company, subsequently renamed Root Property & Casualty Insurance Company, or Root Property & Casualty, for $22.8 million, which included cash, cash equivalents, and accrued investment income of $14.4 million and insurance license indefinite-lived intangible assets of $8.4 million. The transaction costs associated with this acquisition were $0.5 million and were allocated to the insurance license indefinite-lived intangible assets acquired. For further information, see Note 2, “Significant Accounting Policies,” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Our Ability to Expand Premiums and Fee Income Per Policy Through Cross-Sell
We are in the early stages of cross-selling non-auto products across our customer base. In 2019, we began offering renters insurance and, in May 2020, we launched our homeowners insurance policy in partnership with Homesite Insurance, or Homesite. Cross-sales allow us to generate additional premiums (renters) and fee income (homeowners) without material incremental marketing spend, and ultimately higher revenue per customer. We have also observed that bundling products with auto insurance improves retention as the relationship with our customer expands. Our success in expanding revenues through cross-sales depends on our marketing efforts with new products, continuous state expansion of these offerings and the pricing of our bundled products. The success of our renters insurance offering is also subject to our ability to develop underwriting capabilities to adequately price renters risk.
Our Ability to Manage Risk
We leverage technology to help manage risk. For instance, we leverage machine learning to “clean” behavioral data obtained through a customer’s mobile device and we use advanced statistical methods to model that data into usable behavior scores. We leverage intelligent chat functions, and various forms of machine learning and advanced automation help power our claims function. Technology is a key differentiator in managing risk across our key functions. Our success depends on our ability to adequately and competitively price risk.
Recent Developments Affecting Comparability
COVID-19 Impact
In December 2019, COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China and in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. The ongoing global pandemic has severely impacted businesses worldwide, including within the insurance industry. We have been impacted by certain individual state bulletins that
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outline COVID-19 premium relief efforts, including restrictions on the ability to cancel policies for non-payment, requiring deferral of insurance premium payments for up to 60 days and restrictions on increasing policy premiums. Our business has also been impacted by COVID-19 by a slowdown in growth, lower loss ratios due to decreased claim frequency and improved retention. Throughout 2020, COVID-19 has impacted and may further impact the broader economic environment, including negatively impacting unemployment levels, economic growth, the proper functioning of financial and capital markets and interest rates. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is uncertainty around the severity and duration of the pandemic and the pandemic’s potential change on our business and our financial performance. See the section titled “Risk Factors” for more details.
Comprehensive Reinsurance
We expect to continue to utilize reinsurance in the future, and our diversified approach to reinsurance allows us to be flexible in response to changes in market conditions or our own business changes, which allows us to strategically fuel growth and technology investment by optimizing the amount of capital required in a “capital-light” model.
Key Performance Indicators
We regularly review a number of metrics, including the following key performance indicators, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends in our business, prepare financial projections and make strategic decisions. We believe these non-GAAP and operational measures are useful in evaluating our performance, in addition to our financial results prepared in accordance with GAAP. See the section titled “— Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information regarding our use of adjusted gross profit/(loss) and direct contribution and their reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures.
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
(dollars in millions, except Premiums per Policy)
Policies in Force
Auto322,759 281,310 111,736 
Renters7,739 1,747 — 
Premiums per Policy
Auto$939 $904 $729 
Renters$140 $127 $— 
Premiums in Force
Auto$606.1 $508.6 $162.9 
Renters$1.1 $0.2 $— 
Direct Written Premium$616.8 $451.1 $106.4 
Direct Earned Premium$605.2 $352.9 $61.4 
Gross Profit/(Loss)$(14.2)$(83.5)$(10.4)
Gross Margin(4.1)%(28.8)%(24.0)%
Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss)$21.0 $(54.2)$(0.2)
Direct Contribution$18.9 $(57.4)$(7.6)
Ratio of Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss) to Total Revenue
6.1 %(18.7)%(0.5)%
Ratio of Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss) to Direct Earned Premium
3.5 %(15.4)%(0.3)%
Ratio of Direct Contribution to Total Revenue 5.4 %(19.8)%(17.6)%
Ratio of Direct Contribution to Direct Earned Premium3.1 %(16.3)%(12.4)%
Direct Loss Ratio82.0 %99.9 %93.6 %
Direct LAE Ratio10.1 %12.0 %16.9 %
Direct Accident Period Loss Ratio78.0 %103.7 %112.1 %
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Policies in Force
We define policies in force as the number of current and active policyholders underwritten by us as of the period end date. We view policies in force as an important metric to assess our financial performance because policy growth drives our revenue growth, expands brand awareness, deepens our market penetration, and generates additional data to continue to improve the functioning of our platform.
Premiums per Policy
We define premiums per policy as the ratio of direct written premium on policies in force divided by policies in force. We view premiums per policy as an important metric since the higher the premiums per policy the greater the amount of earned premium we expect from each policy.
Premiums in Force
We define premiums in force for our auto policies as premiums per policy multiplied by policies in force multiplied by two. We view premiums in force as an estimate of annualized run rate of direct written premium as of a given period. Since our auto policies are six month policies, we multiply this figure by two in order to determine an annualized amount of premiums in force. We define premiums in force for our renters policies as premiums per policy multiplied by policies in force. We view this as an important metric because it is an indicator of the size of our portfolio of policies as well as an indicator of expected earned premium over the coming 12 months. Premiums in force is not a forecast of future revenue nor is it a reliable indicator of revenue expected to be earned in any given period. We believe that our calculation of premiums in force is useful to investors and analysts because it captures the impact of growth in customers and premiums per policy at the end of each reported period, without adjusting for known or projected policy updates, cancellations and non-renewals.
Direct Written Premium
We define direct written premium, as the total amount of direct premium on policies that were bound during the period. We view direct written premium as an important metric because it is the metric that most closely correlates with our growth in direct earned premium. We use direct written premium, which excludes the impact of premiums ceded to reinsurers, to manage our business because we believe that it reflects the business volume and direct economic benefit generated by our customer acquisition activities, which along with our underlying underwriting and claims operations (direct loss ratio and direct LAE) are the key drivers of our future profit opportunities. Additionally, premiums ceded to reinsurers can change significantly based on the type and mix of reinsurance structures we use, and as such we have the optionality to fully retain the premiums from customers acquired in the future.
Direct Earned Premium
We define direct earned premium as the amount of direct premium that was earned during the period. Premiums are earned over the period in which insurance protection is provided, which is typically 6 months. We view direct earned premium as an important metric as it allows us to evaluate our growth prior to the impacts of reinsurance. It is the primary driver of our consolidated GAAP revenues. As with direct written premium, we use direct earned premium, which excludes the impact of premiums ceded to reinsurers to manage our business, because we believe that it reflects the business volume and direct economic benefit generated by our customer acquisition activities, which along with our underlying underwriting and claims operations (direct loss ratio and direct LAE) are the key drivers of our future profit opportunities.
Gross Profit/(Loss)
We define gross profit/(loss) as total revenue minus net loss, LAE and other insurance (benefit) expense inclusive of depreciation and amortization. We view gross profit/(loss) as an important metric because we believe it is informative of the financial performance of our core insurance business.
Gross margin is equal to gross profit/(loss) divided by total revenue.
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Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss)
We define adjusted gross profit/(loss), a non-GAAP financial measure, as gross profit/(loss) excluding net investment income, net realized gains (losses) on investments, report costs, Personnel Costs, allocated Overhead, licenses, professional fees and other expenses, which are included in other insurance (benefit) expense. After these adjustments, the resulting calculation is inclusive of only those variable costs of revenue incurred on the successful acquisition of business. We view adjusted gross profit/(loss) as an important metric because we believe it measures our progress towards profitability for our core insurance business.
The ratio of adjusted gross profit/(loss) to total revenue is equal to adjusted gross profit/(loss) divided by total revenue.
See the section titled “— Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation of total revenue to adjusted gross profit/(loss).
Direct Contribution
We define direct contribution, a non-GAAP financial measure, as adjusted gross profit/(loss) excluding ceded earned premium, ceded loss and LAE, and net ceding commission and other. Net ceding commission and other is comprised of ceding commission received in connection with reinsurance ceded, partially offset by sliding scale commission adjustments and amortization of excess ceding commission, and other impacts of reinsurance which are included in other insurance (benefit) expense. After these adjustments, the resulting calculation is inclusive of only those direct variable costs of revenue incurred on the successful acquisition of business, but exclusive of net ceding commission, ceded loss and LAE and other impacts of reinsurance. We view direct contribution as an important metric because we believe it measures progress towards the profitability of our total policy portfolio prior to the impact of reinsurance.
The ratio of direct contribution to total revenue is equal to direct contribution divided by total revenue.
See the section titled “— Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation of total revenue to direct contribution.
Ratio of Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss) to Direct Earned Premium
The ratio of adjusted gross profit/(loss) to direct earned premium measures the relationship between the underlying business volume and gross economic benefit generated by our underwriting operations, on the one hand, and our underlying profitability trends, on the other. We rely on this measure, which supplements our gross margin as calculated in accordance with GAAP, because it provides management with insight into our underlying profitability trends with respect to our customer base. We use direct earned premium as the denominator in calculating this ratio because it reflects business volume free of elective capital efficiency choices related to our reinsurance programs.
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
(dollars in millions)
Numerator: Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss)$21.0 $(54.2)$(0.2)
Denominator: Total Direct Earned Premium$605.2 $352.9 $61.4 
Ratio of Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss) to Direct Earned Premium
3.5 %(15.4)%(0.3)%
Ratio of Direct Contribution to Direct Earned Premium
The ratio of direct contribution to direct earned premium measures the relationship between the underlying business volume and gross economic benefit generated by our underwriting operations, on the one hand, and our underlying profitability trends, on the other, without contemplating the impacts of reinsurance. We rely on this measure, which supplements our gross margin as calculated in accordance with GAAP, because it provides management with insight into our underlying profitability trends with respect to our total policy portfolio. We use
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direct earned premium as the denominator in calculating this ratio because it reflects business volume free of elective capital efficiency cession or commission structures choices from our reinsurance programs.
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
(dollars in millions)
Numerator: Direct Contribution$18.9 $(57.4)$(7.6)
Denominator: Total Direct Earned Premium$605.2 $352.9 $61.4 
Ratio of Direct Contribution to Direct Earned Premium3.1 %(16.3)%(12.4)%
Direct Loss Ratio
We define direct loss ratio expressed as a percentage, as the ratio of direct losses to direct earned premium. Direct loss ratio excludes LAE. We view direct loss ratio as an important metric because it allows us to evaluate incurred losses and LAE separately prior to the impact of reinsurance.
Direct LAE Ratio
We define direct LAE ratio expressed as a percentage, as the ratio of direct LAE to direct earned premium. We view direct LAE ratio as an important metric because it allows us to evaluate incurred losses and LAE separately. We actively monitor LAE ratio as it has a direct impact on our results regardless of our reinsurance strategy.
Direct Accident Period Loss Ratio
Direct accident period loss ratio, expressed as a percentage, represents all losses and claims expected to arise from insured events that occurred during the applicable period regardless of when they are reported and finally settled divided by direct earned premiums for the same period. Changes to our loss reserves are the primary driver of the difference between our direct accident period loss ratio and direct loss ratio. We believe that direct accident period loss ratio is useful in evaluating expected losses prior to the impact of reinsurance.
Components of Our Results of Operations
Revenue
We generate revenue primarily from the sale of auto insurance policies within the United States and to a lesser extent from the sale of renters insurance policies. We have agency operations that generate commission revenue by selling homeowners insurance policies on behalf of a third-party insurance company. We also generate revenue through fee income from our customers paying on installment and from net investment income earned on our investment portfolio.
Net Premiums Earned
Premiums written are deferred and earned pro rata over the policy period. Net premiums earned represents the earned portion of our gross written premium, less the earned portion that is ceded to third-party reinsurers under our reinsurance agreements.
Net Investment Income
Net investment income represents interest earned from our fixed maturity and short-term investments and cash and cash equivalents less investment expenses. Net investment income is directly correlated with the overall size of our investment portfolio and with the market level of interest rates. Net investment income will vary with both the size of our investment portfolio, market returns and the investment strategy.
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Fee and Other Income
For those policyholders who pay premiums on an installment basis, we charge a flat fee for each installment related to the additional administrative costs associated with processing more frequent billing. Other income primarily comprises commissions earned for homeowners policies placed with third-party insurance companies where we have no exposure to the insured risk, recognized on the effective date of the associated policy, and sale of enterprise technology products to provide telematics-based data collection and trip tracking, recognized ratably as the service is performed.
Operating Expenses
Our operating expenses consist of loss and loss adjustment expenses, sales and marketing, other insurance (benefit) expense, technology and development, and general and administrative expenses.
Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses
Loss and LAE include an amount determined using adjuster determined case-base estimates for reported claims and actuarial determined unpaid claim estimates using past experience and historical emergence patterns for unreported losses and loss adjustment expenses. These reserves are established to cover the estimated ultimate cost to settle insured losses. The unpaid claim estimates consider loss trends, mix of business, and other risk factors impacting claims settlement. The method used to estimate unpaid LAE reserves is based on claims transaction data, including the relative cost of settling the range of claim types from express material damage claims to more complex injury cases.
Loss and LAE is net of amounts ceded to reinsurers. We enter into reinsurance contracts to limit our exposure to potential losses as well as to provide additional capacity for growth. These expenses are a function of the size and term of the insurance policies we write and the loss experience associated with the underlying risks. Loss and LAE may be paid out over a period of years.
Various other expenses incurred during claims processing are allocated to LAE. These amounts include claims salaries, health benefits, bonuses, employee retirement plan related expenses and share-based compensation expense, or Personnel Costs; software expense; internally developed software amortization; and overhead allocated based on headcount, or Overhead.
Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing includes spend related to performance and partnership channels, channel media, advertising, branding, public relations, consumer insights and referral fees. These expenses also include related Personnel Costs and Overhead. We incur sales and marketing activities for all product offerings. Sales and marketing are expensed as incurred.
We plan to continue investing in marketing to attract and acquire new customers, increase our brand awareness, and expand our Enterprise product offering. We expect that sales and marketing will increase in absolute dollars in future periods and vary from period-to-period as a percentage of revenue in the near-term. We expect that, in the long-term, our sales and marketing will decrease as a percentage of revenue as the proportion of renewals to our total business increases.
Other Insurance (Benefit) Expense
Other insurance (benefit) expense includes underwriting expenses, credit card and policy processing expenses, premium write-offs, insurance license expenses, and Personnel Costs and Overhead related to actuarial and certain data science activities. Other insurance expense also includes amortization of deferred acquisition costs like premium taxes and report costs related to the successful acquisition of a policy. Other insurance expense is expensed as incurred, except for costs related to deferred acquisition costs that are capitalized and subsequently amortized over the same period in which the related premiums are earned. These expenses are also recognized net of ceding commissions earned.
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Technology and Development
Technology and development consists of software development costs related to our mobile app and homegrown information technology systems; third-party services related to infrastructure support; Personnel Costs and Overhead for engineering, product, technology, and certain data science activities; and amortization of internally developed software. Technology and development is expensed as incurred, except for development and testing costs related to internally developed software that are capitalized and subsequently amortized over the expected useful life.
We expect technology and development to increase in absolute dollars and as a percentage of total revenue as we continue to devote significant resources to enhance our customer experience and continually improve our integrated technology platform. Over time, we expect technology and development to decrease as a percentage of revenue.
General and Administrative
General and administrative expenses primarily relate to external professional service expenses; Personnel Costs and Overhead for corporate functions; and depreciation expense for computers, furniture and other fixed assets. General and administrative expenses are expensed as incurred.
We expect general and administrative expenses to continue to increase in the near term, both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of total revenue, and then decrease as a percentage of revenue over time.
Interest Expense
Interest expense is not an operating expense; therefore, we include these expenses below operating expenses. Interest expense primarily relates to interest incurred on our long term debt; certain fees that are expensed as incurred; and the amortization of debt issuance costs, and the issuance of warrants. In addition, changes in the fair value of warrant liabilities that are associated with our long term debt and changes in the fair value of our former Simple Agreement for Future Equity, or SAFE, are recorded as interest expense.
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Results of Operations
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

The following table presents our results of operations for the periods indicated:
Years Ended December 31,
2020% of Total Revenue2019% of Total Revenue$ Change% Change
(dollars in millions)
Revenue:
Net premiums earned$322.5 93.0 %$275.3 94.9 %$47.2 17.1 %
Net investment income5.4 1.6 %5.2 1.8 %$0.2 3.8 %
Net realized gains on investments0.3 0.1 % — %$0.3 100.0 %
Fee and other income18.6 5.4 %9.7 3.3 %$8.9 91.8 %
Total revenue346.8 100.0 %290.2 100.0 %56.6 19.5 %
Operating expenses:
Loss and loss adjustment expenses362.8 104.6 %321.4 110.8 %41.4 12.9 %
Sales and marketing139.7 40.3 %109.6 37.8 %30.1 27.5 %
Other insurance (benefit) expense(1.8)(0.5)%52.3 18.0 %(54.1)(103.4)%
Technology and development52.9 15.3 %24.0 8.3 %28.9 120.4 %
General and administrative78.5 22.6 %43.0 14.8 %35.5 82.6 %
Total operating expenses632.1 182.3 %550.3 189.6 %81.8 14.9 %
Interest expense77.7 22.4 %22.3 7.7 %55.4 248.4 %
Loss before income tax expense(363.0)(104.7)%(282.4)(97.3)%(80.6)28.5 %
Income tax expense — % — %— — %
Net loss(363.0)(104.7)%(282.4)(97.3)%(80.6)28.5 %
Other comprehensive income:
Changes in net unrealized gains on investments5.0 1.4 %0.6 0.2 %4.4 N.M.
Comprehensive loss$(358.0)(103.2)%$(281.8)(97.1)%$(76.2)N.M.
______________
N.M. - Percentage change not meaningful
Revenue
Net Premiums Earned
Net premiums earned increased $47.2 million, or 17.1%, to $322.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily due to growth in direct earned premium driven by deeper penetration in the markets in which we operate and a greater proportion of seasoned states, partially offset by higher cessions of earned premium as a result of a change in third-party reinsurance structure.
During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we ceded approximately 46.7% and 22.0% of our direct earned premiums to third-party reinsurers, respectively. The change in ceding percentage was driven by a new reinsurance treaty that became effective on July 1, 2020 whereby we increased our use of third-party quota share reinsurance with the implementation of a staggered multi-treaty approach. Under this new quota share reinsurance program, we began ceding approximately 70% of direct earned premiums with a sequence of inception and maturity dates, and with the majority of the ceded premiums covered on a cohort basis for a four year duration.
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The following table presents direct written premium, ceded written premium, net written premium, direct earned premium, ceded earned premium and net earned premium for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Years Ended December 31,
20202019$ Change% Change
(dollars in millions)
Direct written premium$616.8 $451.1 $165.7 36.7 %
Ceded written premium(378.0)(82.3)(295.7)359.3 %
Net written premium238.8 368.8 (130.0)(35.2)%
Direct earned premium605.2 352.9 252.3 71.5 %
Ceded earned premium(282.7)(77.6)(205.1)264.3 %
Net earned premium$322.5 $275.3 $47.2 17.1 %
Direct earned premium growth was primarily due to a 36.7% increase in direct written premium from greater market share in served U.S. states and expansion of our U.S. state footprint. Since December 31, 2019, we began writing auto insurance policies in one additional U.S. state. We also saw a 3.9% increase in Premium per Policy for automobile insurance primarily resulting from pricing increases in several U.S. states.
Fee and Other Income
Fee and other income increased $8.9 million, or 91.8%, to $18.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily due to increased customer volumes and an increase in customers paying in installments.
Operating Expenses
Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses
Loss and LAE increased $41.4 million, or 12.9%, to $362.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily due to higher claims volume and reserves related to the growth in policies in force, net of higher cessions of incurred losses as a result of a change in third-party reinsurance structure. We experienced declines in our direct loss ratios to 82.0% in 2020, compared to 99.9% in 2019 with corresponding declines in our direct accident period loss ratios to 78.0% in 2020 down from 103.7% in 2019. The decrease in direct loss ratios and direct accident period loss ratios year over year was driven by deployment of improved and additional underwriting and rating criteria in 2020, an increase in the number of seasoned states from three at the end of 2019 to 20 at the end of 2020, as well as a decrease in claims frequency beginning in March 2020 as a result of a reduction in driving attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our net loss ratios experienced similar declines between the periods primarily driven by the same factors outlined above, partially offset by an increase in loss corridor provisions.
In addition, loss and LAE for the year ended December 31, 2020 includes an increase to held reserves for prior accident periods of $20.9 million primarily related to higher than estimated reported losses resulting from frequency and severity in excess of expectations for bodily injury claims as well as higher emergence of collision claims from accident years 2019 and prior, partially due to timing of reported claims. The year ended December 31, 2020 also included development of incurred losses related to accident years 2019 and prior as a result of a change in estimate. The adjustments recorded in the year ended December 31, 2020 were necessary in order to effectuate management’s best estimate for determining the estimated ultimate cost of settling claims using our knowledge and experience about past and current events and developments.
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Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing increased $30.1 million, or 27.5%, to $139.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily due to increased investment in digital advertising and partnership marketing channels to support growth and market expansion.
Other Insurance (Benefit) Expense
Other insurance (benefit) expense decreased $54.1 million, or (103.4)%, to $(1.8) million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The decrease was primarily due to increased ceding commission contra-expense of $91.6 million related to our increased use of third-party quota share reinsurance compared to $7.2 million of ceding commission contra-expense net of sliding scale commission expense for the year ended December 31, 2019. Under the external quota share reinsurance agreement effective July 1, 2020, which is on a loss occurring basis, we recognized ceding commissions under the agreement in proportion to the recognition of the direct written premiums during the period, including the remaining unearned premiums on ceded policies at the inception of the agreement. The ceding commission provides for reimbursement of both direct and other periodic acquisition costs, including certain underwriting and marketing costs, and is presented as a reduction of other insurance expense. This was partially offset by a $14.6 million increase in bad debt expense primarily related to delayed cancellation of policies for non-payment stemming from compulsory state issued notices in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and driven by growth in direct written premiums, $8.8 million increase in premium taxes driven by growth in direct written premiums and a $3.1 million increase in payment processing fee expense driven by the increase in collected premiums between periods, $1.9 million increase in personnel and overhead costs due to headcount growth.
Technology and Development
Technology and development increased $28.9 million, or 120.4%, to $52.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily driven by a $16.7 million increase in personnel and overhead costs due to headcount growth of engineering and product teams and a $5.8 million increase in share-based compensation expense related to the secondary tender offer completed in the first quarter of 2020. In addition, we incurred a $6.4 million increase in external software and amortization of internally developed software expense for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019, as we continued to invest in developing and improving our technology platforms and infrastructure.
General and Administrative
General and administrative increased $35.5 million, or 82.6%, to $78.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily driven by a $14.2 million increase in legal and other professional costs to support our overall growth and emerging compliance initiatives, including the IPO. In addition, a $10.3 million increase in share-based compensation expense mainly due to the secondary tender offer completed in the first quarter of 2020 and a $10.3 million increase in personnel costs across finance, legal, and administrative teams as a result of an increase in headcount.
Interest Expense
Interest expense increased $55.4 million, or 248.4%, to $77.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase was primarily due to a $54.7 million fair value adjustment of warrants that were exercised to purchase common stock. In addition, there was a $8.6 million increase in payment-in-kind, or PIK, interest expense and interest paid, and a $3.3 million increase in amortization of debt discount and debt and warrants issuance costs as a result of a higher average debt balance during 2020 compared to 2019. This was partially offset by a $11.2 million SAFE instrument fair value adjustment recognized during 2019.
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Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018

The following table presents our results of operations for the periods indicated:
Years Ended December 31,
2019% of Total Revenue2018% of Total Revenue$ Change% Change
(dollars in millions)
Revenue:
Net premiums earned$275.3 94.9 %$40.2 92.8 %$235.1 584.8 %
Net investment income5.2 1.8 %1.2 2.8 %$4.0 333.3 %
Fee and other income9.7 3.3 %1.9 4.4 %$7.8 410.5 %
Total revenue290.2 100.0 %43.3 100.0 %246.9 570.2 %
Operating expenses:
Loss and loss adjustment expenses321.4 110.8 %43.5 100.5 %277.9 638.9 %
Sales and marketing109.6 37.8 %40.3 93.1 %69.3 172.0 %
Other insurance expense52.3 18.0 %10.2 23.6 %42.1 412.7 %
Technology and development24.0 8.3 %8.2 18.9 %15.8 192.7 %
General and administrative43.0 14.8 %9.3 21.5 %33.7 362.4 %
Total operating expenses550.3 189.6 %111.5 257.5 %438.8 393.5 %
Interest expense22.3 7.7 %0.9 2.1 %21.4 2377.8 %
Loss before income tax expense(282.4)(97.3)%(69.1)(159.6)%(213.3)N.M.
Income tax expense— — %— — %— %
Net loss(282.4)(97.3)%(69.1)(159.6)%(213.3)N.M.
Other comprehensive income:
Changes in net unrealized gains on investments0.6 0.2 %— — %0.6 N.M.
Comprehensive loss$(281.8)(97.1)%$(69.1)(159.6)%$(212.7)N.M.
______________
N.M. - Percentage change not meaningful
The December 31, 2019 and 2018 results of operations discussion can be found in our Final Prospectus for our IPO, dated as of October 27, 2020 and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) on October 29, 2020.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
The non-GAAP financial measures below have not been calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP, and should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP and should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, GAAP results. In addition, adjusted gross profit/(loss) and direct contribution should not be construed as indicators of our operating performance, liquidity or cash flows generated by operating, investing and financing activities, as there may be significant factors or trends that they fail to address. We caution investors that non-GAAP financial information, by its nature, departs from traditional accounting conventions. Therefore, its use can make it difficult to compare our current results with our results from other reporting periods and with the results of other companies.
Our management uses these non-GAAP financial measures, in conjunction with GAAP financial measures, as an integral part of managing our business and to, among other things: (1) monitor and evaluate the performance of our business operations and financial performance; (2) facilitate internal comparisons of the historical operating performance of our business operations; (3) facilitate external comparisons of the results of our overall business to
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the historical operating performance of other companies that may have different capital structures and debt levels; (4) review and assess the operating performance of our management team; (5) analyze and evaluate financial and strategic planning decisions regarding future operating investments; and (6) plan for and prepare future annual operating budgets and determine appropriate levels of operating investments.
Adjusted Gross Profit/(Loss)
For the definition of adjusted gross profit/(