Legal & General (Formally William Penn) Life Insurance Company of New York Review

Legal & General/William Penn Life Insurance was formed in 1949. They are one of the most simple and clear life insurance companies that we work with for New York residents.
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Legal & General/William Penn

Written by Brian Greenberg
CEO / Founder & Licensed Insurance Agent

Last updated: February 17th, 2023

Reviewed by Grant Desselle
Licensed Insurance Agent

Our take on William Penn Insurance

Initially, it served as the Government Employee’s Life Insurance Company with its sister company, GEICO. In 1981, William Penn and GEICO were brought together under the name Banner Life.

However, due to legal regulations, William Penn continues to operate exclusively in New York State. Customers outside of New York can still shop through Banner Life for life insurance in other states, albeit the policies and stipulations vary slightly due to these legal regulations.

William Penn’s main selling point is their straightforward, affordable life insurance. Their policies are less flexible as a result, with fewer riders and options, but the tradeoff is a simple application process that provides some of the most affordable rates available.

William Penn life Insurance Company Details
A.M Best RatingA+
S&P RatingAA-
BBB RatingA+
Customer Service Phone800-346-4773
AddressWilliam Penn Life Insurance Company of New York
100 Quentin Roosevelt Boulevard
Garden City, New York 11530

What we like

Simple, Affordable, Clear

Customers looking for a lot of add-ons and flexible options may wish to look elsewhere, but other customers will appreciate the simple, straightforward approach that William Penn offers.

A Wide Range of Term Life Insurance Options

William Penn still has a range of term life insurance policies available, and these policies can be converted to a permanent policy as long as the insured does so before age 70.

No Medical Exam

If you’re under the age of 50, you can receive term life insurance with no medical exam.

Online Quotes

William Penn offers free online quotes through their website, making it easy to learn whether their products fit your budget.

What we don’t like

Only in New York

William Penn is only available to New York residents. While Banner offers similar products, some of the terms and conditions will differ due to legal regulations.

Minimum Policy Amounts May be Higher than Expected

Customers expecting low policy amounts may be surprised to learn that William Penn offers coverage starting at $100,000. For example, some customers may wish to look elsewhere if they desire policies that start at $50,000.

William Penn Insurance Products

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Both Banner and William Penn offer term and permanent life insurance, though some limits apply.

Term Life

Term Life Details
Length of Coverage10, 15, 20, and 30-year periods
Minimum Coverage:$100,000
Maximum Coverage:$10 million
Estimated Time to Approval:Immediate (with accelerated underwriting)
Product Features:
  • No Medical Exam Option
  • Level Premiums
  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider Available

Term life insurance is available with coverage ranging from $100,000 to $10 million. Both William Penn and Banner offer terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. Outside of New York, however, Banner offers a 35- and a 40-year term.

No Medical Exam

Term life insurance is also available through an application and phone exam, with no medical exam required. The following table illustrates the stipulations and age restrictions for a policy with no medical exam:

Amount of Death Benefitpolicy LengthAge requirements
Less than $500k10-year20-50
Less than $500k15, 20, 25, 30-year46-50
Less than $750k15, 20, 25, 30-year41-45
Less than $1 million15, 20, 25, 30-year20-40

As you can see, if you’re under age 50, you can obtain term life insurance without a medical exam.

Policies Available to Older Applicants

Policies are available to applicants as old as 75, though older applicants will be limited to shorter terms based on gender and health conditions.

Level Premiums

The annual price of the policy remains fixed throughout the term. You may also convert the term policy to a permanent policy as long as the policyholder is under 70.

Accelerated Death Benefit Option

Some states allow the policyholder to receive accelerated death benefits. This grants access to either $75,000 of the death benefit or $500,000, whichever is less.

Whole Life

Whole life insurance lasts the duration of the applicant’s life and allows the policyholder to take out loans against the cash value of their policy. The insured may also surrender their policy in exchange for a percentage of the cash value. This may be beneficial if the policyholder has medical needs or other necessities, reducing the death benefit for future beneficiaries.

Universal Life

Banner and William Penn issue universal life insurance policies for applicants as old as 85, and the coverage stays in effect until age 121. Death benefits have a minimum of $50,000, and paying premiums on time guarantees a full death benefit payout.

Applicants can pay in one of two ways. Applicants can pay the same price every year, or they may pay upfront for a certain number of years. This “short-pay” option allows applicants to receive lifetime coverage even when they complete payments ahead of schedule.

Final Expense

Final expense insurance is also available. These policies typically are $50,000 or less but are ideal for covering funeral expenses, outstanding debt, and other final expenses.

Policy benefits

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William Penn offers many standard riders, though unlike other companies, none of these riders come standard in any of their policies.


William Penn and Banner offer riders to further customize your term or permanent life insurance policies.

These include:

  • Waiver of Premium – If the insured becomes disabled for 6 months or more, they may stop making payments without losing their policy. The disability must occur prior to age 65 for the rider to take effect.
  • Accelerated Death Benefit– If the insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they may receive a portion of the death benefit while alive to cover medical bills and other expenses. Policyholders may receive 75% of the death benefit or $500,000, whichever is less.
  • Child Rider – The child rider adds limited coverage for your children in the unlikely event of their death. Coverage is available at two rates: $5,000, (costs $55.00 per year), $10,000, (costs $55.00 per year)

This rider ends when the child turns 25, or the policyholder turns 65.


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Not only does William Penn offer affordable rates and level premiums (on select policies), they also provide financial incentives and discounts for healthy customers

The following table compares rates by age for 20-year term life insurance:


These rates are competitive with others in the industry.

Affordable Coverage with No Medical Exam

Accelerated underwriting will raise the monthly premium, but the rates remain competitive with other companies that don’t require a medical exam.

Discounts offered

Additionally, William Penn and Banner offer discounts for applications that meet certain conditions, such as:

  • Applicants haven’t used tobacco in 10 years or more
  • Applicant’s parents lived until age 75 or older
  • Applicants maintain low cholesterol (HDL ratio of 4.5 or lower)
  • Applicants commit to a regular checkup or exercise program
  • Applicants has outstanding results from cardiac test in the last 2 years

While other companies offer the flexibility of riders and other benefits, William Penn and Banner offer their customers simple, direct rates, as well as the option to convert to a permanent policy prior to their 70th birthday.


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William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York has a strong financial reputation.

Financial ratings

William Penn has recently been ranked highly by industry experts:

  • A.M. Best Rating: A+ (superior)
  • S&P Rating: AA-
  • BBB: A+

This indicates a trustworthy company that you can count on to provide your benefits at the appropriate time.

Recycling Program

William Penn Life Insurance of New York was awarded the EPA’s Energy Star Certification, having reduced their carbon footprint and participated in recycling initiatives.

Customer reviews

According to the NAIC, the complaint ratio for William and Penn is 0.16, meaning the company draws fewer customer complaints than other companies of equal size. Some third-party reviews indicate some problems with the customer service team, but this could be remedied by obtaining written confirmations of any policy decisions or changes you make.

4.8 /5
Based on 8 reviews

Mar 25,2021
Shayla Johnson Verified
My experience applying for life insurance was easy and straighforward with no surprises.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
20 years

Nov 18,2020
Robert Sangalli Verified
Overall very good experience and very pleased
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
20 years

Oct 08,2020
Alicia(Kelly) Day Verified
There were some issues with miscommunication or computer glitches. Appointments made and then changed and alot of waiting. The people themselves were all wonderful, friendly and eager to correct issues.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
20 year

Jun 26,2019
Shawn McDonell Verified
Pretty easy and straight forward. Communication amongst everyone involved was good.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
30 years

Jun 20,2019
Richard Resto Verified
Long Island,NY
App process was painless. When there was a issue getting the docs they needed, they stepped in and made it happen and foot the bill for the paperwork requested. I’d highly recommend them to anyone.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
10 year

Oct 25,2017
Ajay Kumar Verified
Very satisfied, everything on time.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
10 years

May 22,2017
Richard Resto Verified
Long Island,NY
I would recommend them to anybody
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:
10 year

Apr 21,2011
John Hynd Verified
Clarence Center,NY
Good company that kept me up to date on the whole process. My only complaint is that the process took a long time.
William Penn Life Insurance Co of NY
Penn Term
Policy length:

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