We’re hiring a Data Scientist / Lead Data Scientist in Columbus, OH

About the company:
Root Insurance is the world's first mobile-only, usage-based-insurance-only car insurance company! Located in Columbus, Ohio, Root was founded in 2015 with the goal of solving the following problem: good drivers pay FAR too much for car insurance. If the sensors in your smartphone prove to us that you are a safe driver, then we will give you an unbeatable price, which we can afford to do since we don't sell insurance to dangerous drivers. Other guiding principles at Root are the improvement of UX via extensive testing, and the achievement of efficiency through modern technology and paradigms. Root currently has around 150 employees, but we are growing very rapidly! Root is an exciting, happy, inclusive place to work, where you are free to be yourself. Employment at Root includes a competitive benefits package including a flexible vacation policy, a 401K with partial company match, paid health insurance for the employee, etc. Root has raised almost $200 million in venture capital funding to date, and we recently closed our Series D, raising $100 million in capital at a $1 billion valuation in August 2018.

Making sense of diverse datasets related to key business problems. Responsible for the full stack of data analytics, including querying or otherwise procuring data, cleaning data, feature generation, problem formulation, error / success metric choice, machine learning / predictive model building, and translation of results into business action. The final product can range from reporting that will be used to advise strategic planning, to recommendation of a specific action, to handing off a predictive model for deployment in production. Data scientists at Root are responsible for solving a wide variety of problems, including our core business problem of understanding how mobile sensor data can measure driving behaviors and risk, in addition to other business-critical modeling tasks such as advertising more cost-effectively, making all our various teams and processes more efficient, and pricing our products more accurately.

For this particular role, we are looking for the person who will revolutionize the processes of our customer service or claims organization. Key problems may be related to automating various customer service operations, such as our responses to emails or phone calls, algorithmic measurement of customer sentiment / other attributes of audio recordings, predicting development of reported as well as unreported claims, fraud detection, and other exciting initiatives. The person in this role will have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the profitablity of the business, and as such, will enjoy considerable exposure to upper management.


  • Since this role will enjoy a considerable degree of autonomy, the ideal candidate must be comfortable making lots of decisions on his/her own, especially regarding the inner workings of analysis and predictive modeling.
  • Open communication with software developers, business owners, and team members is crucial to success in this role. The ideal candidate is able to describe complex technical concepts to non-experts in simple terms. The ideal candidate is very comfortable speaking up constructively when any aspect of business operations or decision making is believed to be suboptimal. The ideal candidate will constantly strive toward excellence, and when mistakes are found, quickly inform anyone necessary to minimize their impact. 
  • Due to the diverse set of cutting-edge problems we face, you will need lots of different techniques to succeed, including some you will have to research, learn or create.
  • Creativity and innovation are essential to success in this role, since many of the problems we work on have never been solved before.

Key Problems:

  • Mining raw text data for use in classification / predicting business outcomes.
  • Topic classification based on raw audio recordings.
  • Building models to detect fraudulent customer activity.
  • Applying machine learning to image classification for key business applications.
  • Identifying, evaluating, and productionizing new data sources (geospatial data, web scraping, etc.)
  • Predictive modeling related to estimating the final cost of an open claim.

Required Skills:

  • Advanced R or Python
  • Demonstrated experience in building, validating, and leveraging machine learning models
  • Demonstrated experience with image classification and/or natural language processing
  • Demonstrated skill with data mining, data munging, coping with missing / corrupt / unstructured data
  • Deep understanding of key probability and statistics concepts
  • Ability to identify and learn new tools and techniques as needed
  • Passion for empirical research and answering difficult questions with data 
  • Strong problem solving skills, attention to detail and solid collaboration skills
  • The ability to take an ambiguous business problem and translate it into a well-posed mathematical problem

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience using big data tools (ex: HDFS, Hadoop, Pig, Hive, etc.)
  • Experience with anomoly detection methods
  • Advanced physics knowledge
  • Advanced linear algebra knowledge
  • Experience with version control (preferably git/GitHub)
  • Experience building insurance pricing models
  • Experience with design of experiments


  • Masters degree or Ph.D. in mathematics, physical sciences, or engineering
  • 2+ years experience building predictive models in a business setting

Get in touch

Finding the right people to help us build Root is a top priority. Whether you would like to explore the possibility of working together or simply learn more about the position, we’d love to hear from you!

Apply now