Insurance Portability: A Competitive Imperative in the Era of Remote Work

To accommodate the evolving needs of the modern workforce, insurers must implement robust, modular platforms that facilitate insurance portability. This refers to policyholders’ ability to transfer their existing coverage, benefits, and claims history from one insurer to another without facing significant penalties, coverage gaps, or loss of benefits.

A growing portion of the labor market is leaving traditional employment for remote or gig work, requiring them to transfer coverage from an employer-sponsored plan to their own. Thus, insurers that offer portability and facilitate seamless policy transfers can enhance the policyholder experience and earn higher retention. This can also help them stand out in a crowded marketplace and build a strong reputation as policyholder-centric insurers. However, any insurer that wants to earn more business by offering portable insurance policies must have an agile and responsive insurance platform to facilitate this.

Read on to explore the growing importance of insurance portability and how it applies to the P&C insurance space, as well as some great strategies for getting started.

Understanding Insurance Portability

Offering portable policies means insurers will allow current policyholders to transfer benefits to another provider or offer comparable individual plans for those previously on a group plan. Though insurance portability is generally referred to in the context of health insurance, it’s also relevant to P&C insurers, who need to respond to changing demands and trends to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

In general, the insurance space is becoming increasingly policyholder-centric. Facilitating a seamless policyholder journey–such as allowing them to transfer existing coverage and benefits–is a key way insurers can differentiate themselves.

Insurance portability is also becoming more relevant as remote and gig work grows in popularity. Workers who decide to leave traditional employment often seek greater flexibility, though this typically comes at the cost of insurance coverage and other benefits. This is where insurance portability comes into play, with a growing number of workers wanting to move or adjust coverage from their employer-sponsored provider without disruption.

The Rise of Remote and Gig Work

The modern workforce looks quite different from how it did a few decades ago, even a few years ago, largely thanks to the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. A growing number of workers are drawn to the flexibility of remote or gig work, and in recent years there’s been a significant reshuffling of the workforce toward these types of roles. In fact, according to McKinsey & Co., 36% of Americans identified as independent workers in 2022, up from 27% in 2016.

Millions of people who are leaving permanent employment in order to have more control over how and where they work. But leaving full-time in-house roles often means giving up employer-sponsored insurance, resulting in a growing market of people looking to transfer their existing benefits to an individual plan.

Benefits of Insurance Portability for Employees and Freelancers

Insurance portability in the P&C space gives policyholders greater flexibility and protection when switching insurers. Here are some of the main advantages that freelancers, employees, and all other policyholders can enjoy from portable insurance policies:

No Coverage Gaps

Portable policies allow policyholders to switch providers while maintaining continuous coverage for their property or casualty needs. This ensures there are no gaps in protection for assets like homes, cars, or businesses when transferring policies, therefore reducing policyholder exposure.

Stronger Consumer Choice

Insurance portability gives policyholders more buying power and allows them to shop around for better coverage, rates, or services, without being locked into a single insurer to avoid penalties or loss of benefits. As a result, insurers are more compelled to offer fair and competitive rates and benefits since policyholders can easily transfer if they find another insurer with better terms.

Favorable Terms

Insurance portability ensures the policy terms and conditions offered by the new insurer are comparable to those of the previous insurer. Portability makes sure policyholders are not subjected to significantly different or unfavorable terms upon switching providers. In other words, policyholders don’t have to feel punished with inferior benefits or conditions because they need to switch insurers. (However, not all riders or policy add-ons will be portable.)

Transfer of No-Claims Bonus

One of the most important benefits of portability in P&C insurance is the ability for policyholders to transfer a no-claims bonus or discount that they may have earned with their current provider. So, if a policyholder has a claims-free history with one insurer, they can carry this benefit to the new insurer for the possibility of a lower premium.

Challenges in the Current Insurance Landscape

The concept of portability in P&C insurance offers numerous benefits for both insurers and policyholders. However, implementing portability isn’t always a straightforward task. Here are some of the main roadblocks insurers may face when offering portable policies.


Unlike health insurance, P&C insurance policies can vary widely in terms of coverage options, exclusions, and terms. For instance, some auto insurance policies include a student discount that rewards young drivers for getting better grades, while others may not. Since P&C policies are not standardized, there is a risk that policyholders will lose certain benefits or terms when switching to a new insurer.

Underwriting Practices

Underwriting practices may vary between insurers, complicating the transfer process from one insurer to another. In other words, it will not always be a clean transfer that allows the policyholder to simply change to whom they pay their monthly premium. The new insurer will likely want to do a proper risk assessment before taking over the policy, which may impact premiums and coverage to fit their underwriting standards.

Regulatory Differences

It’s important to note that regulations supporting portability may vary significantly between regions or countries, which impacts how easily policies can be transferred. Insurers should be aware of the relevant regulations in their jurisdiction to keep their operations compliant.

Strategies for Insurance Carriers

P&C insurers that want to offer a portability feature in their policies need to take a strategic approach. They must leverage the proper tools and platforms to support efficiency while ensuring a seamless policyholder experience. These are some of the strategies that P&C insurers can adopt to support portability:

Adopt an Agile System

The back-end system insurers use for policy administration, managing claims, and billing should be flexible and agile to support insurance portability. Their system should have a convenient configuration tool that allows them to make product changes quickly when a current policyholder is porting to a new insurer or when a new policyholder is transferring coverage from a different provider.

Agile systems allow insurers to react quickly to market changes and new opportunities without being burdened by a clunky or outdated system that requires them to wait for IT to build and install compiled code.

Implement User-Friendly Portals

After transferring a policy, it can take policyholders a while to get used to a new provider, their platform, and the processes they use for support, document management, submitting a claim, and making a payment.

To make the transition easier, policyholders should offer an intuitive and easy-to-use portal, where policyholders can access self-service documents, information, and forms so they can manage their new policy at their own convenience.

A user-friendly policyholder portal can reduce the time the insurer’s customer support team spends addressing basic questions from new policyholders. Plus, it can make policyholders feel more at ease with their new insurer if they can quickly and easily find key information and documents when and where they need them.

Deliver Proactive Communication

In a similar vein, insurers should be transparent about the portability of their plans. The reality of insurance portability is that it can go both ways: insurers could lose policyholders to competitors or win new business from other providers. Therefore, they should be open with current policyholders about how they can request a transfer and manage their policies, as well as offer adequate support options to new policyholders who have recently transferred.

Build Your Competitive Insurance Solution with Insuresoft

Insurance portability will remain a key focus in the P&C space over the coming years. As policyholders demand more convenience and personalization from insurers, they will prioritize policies that are portable and allow them to transfer whenever they want or need.

With an agile insurance platform like Insuresoft, it’s easier for insurers to take advantage of emerging market opportunities without being limited by a rigid back-end system that hinders growth. Insuresoft’s flexible configuration tool means business users can design, change, and update their rates, rules, workflows, and more without IT input.

Overall, our insurance technology solutions are designed for the fast-paced and tech-driven modern insurance market, allowing insurers to grow and adapt while delivering more engaging and personalized policyholder experiences.

To see Insuresoft in action, contact us today to request a demo.