The pandemic has made people aware not only of the indispensability of a health insurance policy, but also of the need for adequate coverage, better features, and seamless services. This awareness has led more people to transfer their health insurance policies in the time of COVID.
“There has been a pretty strong increase in portability. We are seeing more and more people opting in and showing interest in porting their fonts. Of the 100% premium, our portability was around 15%, but that number has now increased to 25%,” says Amit Chabra, business manager of Policybazaar’s health insurance unit.
Insurance portability is a process when a policyholder moves their insurance policy from one service provider to another without losing the benefits acquired in the existing policy.
According to data shared by Policybazaar, 63% of their customers ported for a better price and higher sum assured, while the remaining 37% ported for better features and services. Additionally, 54% of customers in Tier 1 cities transitioned their policies to higher coverage, followed by 18% in Tier 2 cities and 28% in Tier 3 cities.
Experts say that since the insurance regulator and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) came up with a standardized portability process and mandated the deferral of certain benefits such as waiver of period of waiting, etc., they saw an increase in portability.
“We specifically witnessed this trend during COVID-19 when many customers focused on Niva Bupa. The increased incidences of portability have coincided with more clients visiting larger and better equipped hospitals over the same period,” says Bhabatosh Mishra, Director of Underwriting, Products and Claims, Niva Bupa Health Insurance.
Mishra adds: “Portability is largely driven by the ‘flight to safety’ where customers want to opt for more established brands and companies with a track record of delivery, both in the insurance and healthcare industry. .”
Reasons for the leap forward in health insurance portability
IRDAI’s standardization of the portability procedure and deferral mandate of benefits such as waiver of waiting times, among others, has helped customers make transfers with more confidence and ease.
“Several factors have led to the increase in health insurance portability. COVID has seen the flight to security i.e. customers choosing more established brands with a consistent track record of service delivery Innovative new products launched by insurers, ease of purchase, etc. have also played a role in increasing portability,” explains Mishra.
How to transfer a health insurance policy
A policyholder must inform the new health insurance company 45 days before the renewal of the existing health insurance plan. The policyholder must complete the application form and submit it to the new company.
After receiving the portability form, the new insurance company will request the necessary details from the existing insurance company within 5 days, as per IRDAI guidelines. Once the new insurance company receives all the information, they have the right to accept or decline the policy within the time limit. If the decision is not made within this period, he will have to accept the portability request.
Before transferring your policy, you should carefully assess the advantages and disadvantages of changing insurance companies in order to obtain broader coverage than the existing one.