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Our take on Banner Life Insurance
Banner Life Insurance began as Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GEICO) in 1949, but in 1981, the company was acquired by Legal & General. Legal & General also acquired William Penn in 1989, which is why you will often see Banner Life, William Penn, and Legal & General America used almost interchangeably. However, the policies issued by Banner Life are unique and are actually among the industry’s best.
Policyholders may especially appreciate the flexibility of their stackable term riders, which give them the ability to increase coverage when they need it most. If you’re looking for affordable life insurance, Banner Life would make an excellent choice.
Banner Life Company Details
|A.M. Best Rating||A+|
|Customer Service Phone||800-638-8428|
|Address||Legal & General America|
3275 Bennett Creek Avenue
Frederick, Maryland 21704
What we like
Though not quite the same as a no-exam policy, their APPcelerate plan lets you receive term coverage in as little as one business day.
Stackable Term Optionse
One of their term riders lets you stack term policies. For example, a 20-year term policyholder can add an additional 10-year term, overlapping the first half of his 20-year policy and maximizing benefits during a period of pronounced financial need.
What we don’t like
No Whole Policies Offered
While Banner Life offers two different universal life insurance plans, customers will have to look elsewhere if they specifically need a whole life plan.
Applicants Must Pay Reconsideration Fee
If applicants want to be reconsidered for their policies, they will be responsible for paying their own reconsideration fee.
Banner Life’s policies offer great rates to the young and healthy, but have a reputation for excluding those who have health conditions or a history of drug and alcohol dependence.
Banner Life Insurance Products
|Length of Coverage||10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 years|
|Estimated Time to Approval||Up to a week or 1 day with APPcelerate plan|
Banner offers some of the most flexible term life insurance in the industry, with plans ranging from 10 to 30 years, as well as 40-year terms for residents outside of the state of New York. Coverage ranges from $100,000 to $1 million and is available to applicants as old as 75, though term lengths will be reduced with age as follows:
|Coverage Length:||Applicant Age Range:|
|20 Years||20-75 (non-smoker); 20-70 (smoker)|
|25 Years||20-60 (non-smoker); 20-55 (smoker)|
|30 Years||20-55 (non-smoker); 20-50 (smoker)|
Banner Life doesn’t offer a traditional no-exam policy, but they do offer accelerated underwriting for certain applicants. Applicants can expect to receive coverage within one business day, provided they meet the following criteria:
- A health interview passed
- Not a resident of Connecticut, Alaska, or Hawaii
Otherwise, Banner Life’s traditional underwriting can take weeks to complete.
Great Policy for Healthy Applicants
Banner Life’s term policy is great for younger, healthy applicants. You can generally expect to see the greatest value when you meet their health screening requirements, which include a comprehensive personal and family medical history.
The flip side, of course, is that Banner Life tends to be more challenging for those who have health conditions, along with those who have family members with health issues such as heart disease or cancer. In order to be reconsidered, the applicant must pay fees.
Annual Policy Fee
Banner Life’s term policies come with a $60 annual fee, though this is built into the term price.
Term life policyholders have the option of converting their policy into a universal life policy at any time prior to their 70th birthday.
Banner Life gives their term policyholders the option to “ladder” their policy using additional riders. This means that you can increase your death benefit during times of greater financial need, such as when your mortgage is at its highest or when your kids are preparing for college.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance policy, which means that the policy will last as long as the premiums are paid for.
Banner Life’s universal policy can be issued up to age 85 and will remain in effect to age 121. The minimum death benefit is $50,000.
Banner Life offers two different universal life policies: Life Step and Life Choice. Both policies can be issued to applicants between the ages of 20 and 85, though they differ in their benefits.
Life Step UL
Life Step UL offers the flexibility to surrender your policy earlier, and you can also pay for your policy over a shorter period of time (e.g., 10 years) and still lock in lifetime coverage. This can be a good choice for those who prefer the lower minimum death benefit amount of $50,000. The flip side is that Life Step UL has 20-25% higher premiums and a lower guaranteed interest rate.
Life Choice UL
Life Choice UL has lower premiums, as well as a higher guaranteed interest rate. However, this policy is only available to those seeking a minimum death benefit of $100,000 or higher.
Accelerated Death Benefit
This rider will pay you an advance on your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a qualifying illness. You can use this to cover medical expenses, groceries, debts, and any end-of-life expenses you incur from your illness.
Children’s Term Rider
With this rider, your children are covered until age 25.
Waiver of Premium Rider
If you become disabled by a qualifying illness or injury, your premiums are waived.
Stacking Term Rider
This rider can provide an additional term period on top of an existing term. For example, if you have a 30-year term policy, you can purchase an additional 10-year rider to increase coverage during a specific period. This can be useful early in your policy when your financial obligations tend to be higher.
As we mentioned, term policies can be converted to a universal life insurance policy (either Life Step or Life Choice UL) at any point prior to your 70th birthday.
For healthy applicants, Banner Life’s monthly premiums tend to be lower than industry averages. For a 20-year, $500,000 policy, Banner Life offers consistently competitive premiums across a range of ages:
|Age Range||Banner Life||Industry Average|
* These figures are given for reference purposes only. Please consult Banner Life for precise quotes.
However, many third-party reviews indicate that Banner Life’s monthly rates can increase sharply for applicants who smoke or have a history of health problems.
Banner Life has received consistently high scores from third-party consumer agencies, including:
- S&P Rating: A+ (superior)
- A.M. Best Rating: AA-
- BBB: A+
These ratings indicate strong financial performance, illustrating the reliability of Banner Life.
Despite some negative customer reviews floating around, Banner Life has been rated highly in terms of their customer service performance.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issues a complaint ratio that reflects a company’s history of customer service. A score of 1.0 indicates that a company receives an average number of customer complaints. Banner Life has received a score of 0.16, indicating a below-average number of customer complaints when compared to companies of a similar size.
However, some of the negative reviews that circulate online indicate a past problem with Banner Life’s customer service team. If you choose to purchase a policy through Banner Life, you can protect yourself by requesting written confirmation for any policy changes you make.
See what you qualify for by answering some health questions.