Looking for life insurance but coming across a company you haven’t heard of before, like Banner?
While many haven’t heard of Banner Life Insurance Company before, it’s because they don’t advertise like other carriers.
Fortunately, the savings from not needing to market themselves trickles down to you by way of cheaper term life insurance premiums.
Here is our full Banner Life Insurance Company review, which is our own independent opinion of the insurer and its products.
Our Complete Banner Life Insurance Company Review
Perhaps one of the best life insurance companies for term insurance in the market today, Banner Life Insurance Company started as Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) back in 1949, which was part of the infamous GEICO we all know today.
The two are, however, no longer of business relation.
GELICO grew extremely fast over the next 3 decades and was eventually acquired by Legal & General Group, Plc. in 1981.
A little over a year later, the name was modified to what it is today, Banner Life, to further exemplify its base product and primary business model, life insurance.
Banner Life Insurance Company is licensed to offer its insurance products all across the United States (49 states and D.C.), but is known as William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York in the state of New York.
As it continued its remarkable industry growth, the company continued to find success while remaining ahead of the game at all times.
It was one of the very first life insurance companies to begin offering what would be considered a staple product in today’s market, universal life insurance.
Today, it continues to offer both Term Life and Universal life through independent agents and agencies across America.
Banner Life Ratings & Financials
Extremely financially strong, Banner Life has been awarded:
This means it has some of the highest ratings available from the most well known and reputable rating agencies (though it has not been rated by Moody’s).
Banner Life Assets & Income
With nearly $734 billion of in-force policies and now eclipsing the $58 billion mark of new business just within the past year, it is clear they have a big leg up on many of its competing insurers, and this reflects in product pricing and performance.
Banner last reported a hefty $82.5 million net income in a previous year.
Banner Life is one of the few life insurance companies who focus almost strictly on just growing their business through life insurance products, and they have amassed greater than $5 billion in total assets since its inception.
While many companies have investment and retirement sides to their books, Banner, and its sister company, William Penn, which operates solely in the state of New York, focus their efforts on building their core product to be durable and competitive across all their target markets.
Their parent company, Legal & General America, is the corporate center of operations and has its headquarters, not in the United States, but the UK. Legal & General now claims to be the 8th largest insurance company, when comparing assets under management, in the world.
It also has locations and different arms of its business in France, India, Egypt and more with core products in insurance and retirement alike.
Banner’s Life Insurance Products
Banner Life Insurance Company has an excellent line up of products which truly can cover just about any need for life insurance for consumers and business people alike.
But, before we got too in-depth into products themselves, let’s briefly talk about why their underwriting alone is a huge advantage to considering them for coverage.
When you apply for life insurance, in general, every company has the same tiers, or classifications, for issuing a policy.
For example, you see Preferred, or Preferred Plus, or Standard Table 2.
Virtually every company has these, but Banner’s pricing schedule is vastly different because it doesn’t line up toe to toe with each rating. In sub-standard cases, they operate a step up.
Let’s say someone had a higher-risk condition and were likely a Table 4 for most carriers. Banner might be able to offer the same rating, but it’ll be priced as though it were equal to a Table 2.
So, in a nutshell, so long as Banner can compete in rating, they’ll be extremely competitive almost every time.
Term Life from Banner
The OPTerm® series from Banner Life, its core term line, includes level term policies available to these ages:
The premiums stay level for the duration of the period in which you choose and rise annually thereafter. Unless otherwise stated (such as in the state of NY), all classes are available through Table 12.
Coverage can be renewed to age 95 with annual premium increases once the level term period has ended.
Enjoy the following rider availability from Banner Life Insurance Company:
- Waiver of Premium – if you become disabled and unable to pay your premiums, the Waiver of Premium rider ensures your policy remains in force until you can resume making payments. This rider is available only for those between ages 20 and 55, and up to age 50 for the OPTerm 30® product if the insured smokes, and requires underwriting to be added to a policy.
- Policy Conversion – should you decide to convert to a more permanent product, Banner’s universal life product, you can do so without the need to re-qualify, and you’ll be given the same rate class as your old term policy.
- Flexible Payment Schedule – Banner makes it easy to pay, allowing several methods of payment and several frequencies as well. Save more by paying annual.
- Term Riders – sometimes, you need to have a little additional coverage for just a few years. Term riders allow you to ladder your death benefit all in one policy. This rider is not available in all states.
- Accelerated Death Benefit – if you are declared terminally ill or have less than one full year to live, you can access your death benefit ahead of time. The final death benefit is simply reduced by the amount taken.
- Children’s Rider – young ones need basic coverage as well, and the Children’s rider allows them to get covered up to 25 years of age. This rider is only available when the primary insured first applies.
Universal Life from Banner
One of the pioneers in Universal Life, Banner offers its Life Step UL®, a permanent life insurance policy which is vastly more affordable than many rival whole life products.
Here are the primary features:
- Guaranteed Cash Value. There is a stated guarantee from Banner to keep both a minimum coverage and cash value within the policy.
- Lifetime Guarantee. The Life Step UL® can truly last a lifetime without ever experiencing a change in premium.
- Short Pay Guarantee. If you’ve ever wanted to “pay off” a life insurance policy, the Short Pay Guarantee allows you to do just that by over-funding the policy in the first 10 or 15 years.
These benefits allow you to “lock-in” your life insurance coverage up to a certain age, or for as long as you live.
This policy type allows allows you to build in flexibility, since life is not always perfectly planned.
All this and, as long as you make your premiums, the policy will never lapse.
Policy loans are available and may void this provision if it exceeds the total cash surrender value remaining in the policy.
No Exam Life Insurance from Banner
One of the newest no exam life insurance companies, in 2016, Banner introduced its APPcelerate, which is its first automatically underwritten system.
Consumers can use an independent agent to complete an application over the phone which requires no medical, no blood tests, and no Attending Physician’s Statements (doctor’s records).
Even better, they’ve attempted to best the industry by approving applications in as little as a few hours, and even hosting a maximum of one full business day to get the application approved.
Here is some more information:
- Available for their OPTerm® 10, 15, 20, and 30 product line
- Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 50
- Death benefits available for coverage are between $100,000 – $500,000
- Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco, Preferred Non-Tobacco, and Standard Plus Non-Tobacco rate classes only
The best of all, prices are the same for the no exam life insurance from Banner as they are for their regularly underwritten term products which fall into the same duration and face amount.
Even if an applicant can’t qualify for the no medical policy from Banner Life, they can still be approved by going through the underwriting process.
Final Expense Insurance from Banner
If you just need a small policy of $15,000 or less, Banner has you covered there, too.
For those who are between the ages of 50 and 80, a final expense insurance policy from Banner can be an affordable way to pay last minute bills and funeral expenses.
Here are the major perks:
- You can’t be turned down.
- Your rates are always the same.
- You’re done paying at 85, period.
A burial insurance policy from Banner Life Insurance Company is the easiest way to to get a minimum death benefit locked-in for life, and never requires questions on your application, or even and exam.
Banner Life Insurance Sample Rates
If you care to see how cheap Banner Life Insurance Company really is, let’s take a look at a few sample rates from the industry to see how they stack up.
Here’s a chart showing rates for a $100,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for a 39 year-old male, who is in great health, and is not a smoker.
|Company||Coverage Amount||Product||Monthly Rate||Annual Rate|
|Sagicor||$100,000||Sage Term 20 – Non Med||$11.01||$122.32|
|SBLI||$100,000||Level Term 20 – No Exam||$10.28||$123.41|
|Protective||$100,000||Classic Choice Term 20||$10.83||$126.66|
|Foresters||$100,000||Your Term 20||$11.11||$127.00|
While Savings Bank Life Insurance Company (SBLI) is slightly lower on a monthly basis, Banner is the cheapest small term policy you can find in the marketplace on an annual basis.
However, not everyone would be covered enough with $100,000 in coverage.
Let’s check some prices when we increase the death benefit substantially on a man who is just above average health and see what changes.
|Company||Coverage Amount||Product||Monthly Rate||Annual Rate|
|AIG||$1,000,000||Select a Term 20||$85.41||$998.90|
|ANICO||$1,000,000||Signature Term 20||$86.40||$1,000.00|
|Principal||$1,000,000||Term Insurance 20||$88.53||$1,011.79|
|SBLI||$1,000,000||Level Term 20||$85.21||$1,022.61|
Once again, Banner takes the cake. But, this time, Banner Life is both the cheapest monthly and annually to fit whichever you prefer.
Banner focuses on strong life insurance products, but also philanthropy.
It has a long-standing charitable nature, even going as far as hosting its Annual Giving Campaign, where the employees of the company make donations to whichever charity they adore most, and the company matches their donations dollar for dollar!
The company is also unique in the industry as its core underwriting practices are different than all the rest of the insurers.
For those individuals who are lower than average in their health class, Banner’s premiums go off of a Standard Plus rating table, meaning most if not all of their premiums are discounted premiums when compared to the competition of equal health ratings.
This, in effect, means any policy compared apples to apples in rating, will likely show up cheaper than most or all other carriers at that particular class.
While this isn’t the only unique item about Banner Life, it has certainly put their product at the forefront, and they continue to operate with peak performance and excellent pricing models.
While it’s not the longest standing company, its reputation has surpassed many other insurers already.
As we always suggest, please remember to review as many companies as you need to find the right carrier for you.