Banner Life Insurance Company Review

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Banner Life is a financially strong and highly praised life insurance company, offering a full range of financial products and the most affordably priced term policies in the industry.

A.M. Best

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA-

BBB

A+

The Good

  • Best term life insurance
  • Very safe, secure
  • Lenient table ratings
  • Versatile policy options
  • International presence

The Bad

  • Small final expense policies
  • Less brand recognition

Product Availability

Policy Types
  • Term
  • Universal
  • Final Expense
Riders
  • Accelerated death benefit
  • Children’s insurance
  • Increasing death benefit
  • Term rider
  • Waiver of premium

Review Breakdown

Overall

4.52

Price/Value

4.2

Financial Strength

3.4

User Experience

3.6

Product Availability

3.7

Brand/Size

2.9

Price/Value

Price is central to choosing a life insurance company. If you’re comparing two financially secure providers with similar policies, you’ll likely choose the one that offers you the lowest rates.

When it comes to a cost comparison, Banner Life is hard to beat. 

The company is known for offering the lowest rates around for term life policies, with competitive prices for applicants across the board.

Their rates are well below average for younger applicants and healthy individuals of all ages, but they’re also good for people with common health conditions.

Banner Life’s underwriting for common health issues is more generous than many other providers.

When you apply for life insurance, in general, every company has the same tiers, or classifications, for issuing a policy.

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.

The company’s table rating system could grant you access to lower rates than you might expect if you’re in less than excellent health.

Financial Strength

The price of coverage is irrelevant if you’re working with a company that can’t pay out your life insurance policy.

It’s incredibly important to choose a carrier you can rely on, one with financial fortitude that instills confidence.

Fortunately, Banner Life fits the bill, as you can see from the credit ratings they’ve received below:

A.M. BestA+
FitchAA-
Standard & Poor’sAA-

These are some of the highest ratings available from the most well known and reputable rating agencies, meaning you can count on Banner Life’s claims-paying ability.

The numbers surrounding Banner Life’s financial strength are equally impressive. 

Banner Life has over 1.3 million policyholders across the United States and last reported a hefty $82.5 million net income.

The company has amassed greater than $5 billion in total assets since its inception.

Banner Life is one of the largest issuers of term life insurance in the nation, underwriting more than $58 billion of new term life coverage in 2018.

Based on all of the information above, you can wholeheartedly trust Banner Life to maintain its financial promises to you as a policyholder.

User Experience

While buying life insurance can get complicated with some providers, it doesn’t have to be. 

The best life insurance companies seek to simplify the process, providing you with the resources and communication outlets you need to successfully research, apply for coverage, manage your policy, or file a claim.

As a top-tier life insurance company, Banner Life provides users with a positive customer experience through each of the steps of the process above.

Ratings

Just as we used credit ratings to assess Banner’s financial strength, we can turn to consumer ratings to weigh its customer experience.

Both J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau provide useful insight into user experience. 

Unfortunately, Banner Life has not been included in the J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance study. They do, however, hold an A+ with the BBB.

This rating is indicative of Banner Life’s strong commitment to communicating with clients and working to resolve complaints.

Website

A life insurance company website can be a wealth of valuable knowledge to help you through the life insurance process.

Banner Life’s website, which encompasses all of its parent company Legal & General’s financial products, is simple to navigate.

It provides transparent information about the company and its financial performance, as well as adequate information on each of its policies.

While many providers leave this information off their website, it provides a transparent look at its claims filing process with average turnaround times and acceptance rates.

What’s more, you can easily get a quote on the website without having to talk to an agent or await email results.

You can also manage your policy on the website, making most changes to beneficiaries and policy details online.

Application

Banner Life’s application process is standard for the industry. 

Though you can get quotes online, you’ll be prompted to provide your phone number and email address if you want to apply for coverage.

From there, you’ll be contacted to start the application process, which will include a phone interview and medical exam for most policies.

After those steps are complete, Banner Life will work to assign rates based on your age, health, family history, and lifestyle.

Banner Life has a quicker turnaround time than its competitors when it comes to standard underwriting, cutting the waiting time of 4 to 6 weeks in half in many cases.

Depending on your age and health, you may be able to skip the medical exam and get same-day approval for a number of Banner Life’s term policies.

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.

Product Availability

Banner Life offers a variety of term and permanent policy option to adequately meet most people’s life insurance needs.

Term

Term life insurance is Banner Life’s sweet spot.

The OPTerm® series from Banner Life, its core term line, includes level term policies available to these ages:

DurationNon-SmokerSmoker
OPTerm 10®20-7520-75
OPTerm 15®20-7520-75
OPTerm 20®20-7020-65
OPTerm 30®20-6020-55
OPTerm 35®20-5520-50
OPTerm 40®20-4520-40

The premiums stay level for the duration of the period you choose and rise annually thereafter. 

Coverage can be renewed to age 95 with annual premium increases once the level term period has ended.

Non-Med Term

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).

You could get approved between a few hours and a day’s time.

Here is some more information:

  • Available for their OPTerm® 10, 15, 20, 25, 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

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.

Universal 

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 you 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 you to build in flexibility in case life doesn’t go as planned.

As long as you make your premiums, the policy will never lapse. However, policy loans are available and may void this provision if it exceeds the total cash surrender value remaining in the policy.

Final Expense 

If you just need a small policy of $15,000 or less, Banner has you covered, 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:

  1. You can’t be turned down.
  2. Your rates are always the same.
  3. You’re done paying at 95, 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 health questions on your application, or even an exam.

Just note that you may be able to find higher levels of final expense insurance from other companies.

Riders

Enjoy the following rider availability from Banner Life Insurance Company:

  1. Waiver of Premium: The Waiver of Premium rider is available for applicants between 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.
  2. Policy Conversion: This rider allows you to convert to Banner’s universal product, without the need to re-qualify, keeping you in the same rating class.
  3. Term Riders: Term riders allow you to ladder your death benefit all in one policy. This rider is not available in all states.
  4. 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. 
  5. Children’s Rider: The children’s rider can insure your kids up to 25 years of age. This rider is only available when the primary insured first applies.

Brand/Size

Banner Life Insurance Company started as Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) back in 1949, which was part of the famous GEICO we all know, though the two industry giants are no longer in business together today.

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 and universal life insurance through independent agents and agencies across America.

Banner Life now has over $734 billion of coverage in force, insuring more than a million Americans.

Their parent company, Legal & General America, is the corporate center of operations and has its headquarters, not in the United States, but the UK.

It also has locations and different arms of its business in France, India, Egypt and more with core products in insurance and retirement alike.

Legal and General America employs over 7,000 individuals across the US and the UK.

Philanthropy

Legal and General takes its role of social responsibility seriously, working with a range of organizations to build a sustainable future.

Through its annual charitable giving campaign, the company encourages its employees to give to charities near to their heart, matching their donations to charities like America’s VetDogs and ThanksUSA.

They also recognize employees who go above and beyond to serve the community with an annual awards ceremony honoring and celebrating their efforts. 

Legal and General is also a member of the NAILBA Charitable Foundation, for whom it hosts annual fundraiser events and matches donations up to $25,000. In 2018, the company raised $66,000 for the foundation.

Brand

Banner Life isn’t one of the most well-known household names in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped it from turning out impressive numbers and building a strong relationship with its customers.

Though Banner Life isn’t the oldest provider, it has been an outstanding life insurance provider since its inception in 1949, building a solid reputation.

The company doesn’t have a social media presence under the name “Banner Life,” but there are active accounts under the Legal and General brand, though they have a comparatively small following.

Legal and General interacts fairly regularly on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and LinkedIn. 

All in all, Banner appears to be more concerned with offering the best products and customer experience it can, letting its ratings and reviews speak for themselves.

Consensus

The results are in, and there’s a strong consensus surrounding Banner Life’s status as a top-tier life insurance provider.

It often ranks among the best life insurance companies, based on agents, customers, and industry experts’ opinions.

While it’s not the longest standing company, Banner Life’s reputation has surpassed many other insurers already.

The company is also unique in the industry as its core underwriting practices are different than all the rest of the insurers.

If your main concern is affordability, Banner Life is a strong contender, perhaps the strongest. 

While this isn’t the only unique feature of Banner Life’s coverage, it has certainly put their product at the forefront, and they continue to operate with peak performance and excellent pricing models.

Banner Life Insurance Company Review

Phone
(800) 638-8428
Address
3275 Bennett Creek Avenue
Frederick, MD 21704

Company Name (and subsidiaries)

  • Legal & General America (Parent)
  • William Penn Life Insurance Company of NY

Author:

Avatar

Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of BestLifeRates.org, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.