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UPDATE 1-At IPO road show, Lyft executives look to lower insurance costs

Ross Kerber

(Adds details from Boston event, net loss and revenue figure, byline)

BOSTON, March 20 (Reuters) - Lyft Inc executives are focused on cutting insurance costs and will phase in self-driving vehicles on simple routes first, they said at a road show for investors ahead of the ride-hailing company's initial public offering set for next week.

Reducing insurance costs is "the number one initiative," said Chief Financial Officer Brian Roberts at a luncheon at a Boston hotel on Wednesday for investors considering whether to buy into the closely watched IPO.

Roberts and Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer did not directly address questions from the audience during the hour-long event about when the company might become profitable, citing ongoing investments to build out technology and car-servicing centers.

Lyft reported a net loss of $911 million on revenue of $2.16 billion in 2018, according to its preliminary prospectus.

One audience member asked: "The obvious question is, what revenue do you have to have to get to break even?"

"It's not necessarily just a question of scale. It's about beating down those operating costs," Zimmer replied.

For instance, Green said the company might look to lower insurance costs by optimizing routes for safety rather than speed.

The leaders also said the company will stay focused on transportation services, unlike rival Uber Technologies Inc that has expanded into markets like trucking and food delivery.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)