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Banner Life Insurance Review

This insurer packs a lot of value into its term, universal, and final expense life insurance policies.
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Licensed Life Insurance Agent/Staff Writer
Published on December 04, 2019

Banner Life Insurance Company offers competitive rates, financial stability, and a clean claims history. This insurer is owned by Legal and General America and, along with William Penn Life, sells policies under that brand.

Who might choose Banner for life insurance?

  • Older adults looking for no exam life insurance: Banner’s final expense insurance (available after age 50) doesn’t require a medical exam.
  • People who want fast claim payouts: For death benefits under $10,000, your beneficiaries could have claims approved and funded in one business day.
  • People with sleep apnea: Banner's prices are exceptionally competitive for those with this condition.
  • People looking for a long term policy: Unlike most companies, Banner Life offers a 40-year term.

Banner Life insurance policies

Banner Life offers the following types of life insurance:

  • Term
  • Universal
  • Final expense (guaranteed-acceptance whole life)

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Banner term life insurance

Banner’s term life insurance policies are called OPTerm and come in five-year increments from 10 to 40 years. Generally, you can apply for a policy between the ages of 20 and 75. The upper age limit may vary depending on which term you choose, whether you use tobacco, and whether or not you live in New York State.

If you’re 50 years old or older, find out if you can buy Banner term life insurance by getting a quote.

Banner offers a unique rider that allows you to add a short term policy to cover an additional need, such as a mortgage or other debt. This rider could make it easy to build a life insurance ladder strategy without having to apply for multiple policies.

Banner universal life insurance

Banner’s universal life insurance product is called Life Step UL. It offers a flexible premium. You can pay enough in monthly premiums to fund lifetime coverage, or you can choose coverage for a specific duration, such as until age 100. Banner’s Short Pay Guarantee allows you to pay higher premiums for a shorter period but keep your policy for life.

Banner doesn’t sell indexed universal or variable universal life insurance.

Banner final expense life insurance

Banner’s final expense policy is designed to cover the costs of a burial or other end-of-life expenses, but your beneficiaries can spend it on whatever they need. With these policies, you can choose from $1,000 to $15,000 for the death benefit payout.

Because you must apply between the ages of 50 and 80, Banner’s final expense insurance could be considered a form of life insurance for seniors. No matter what your age when you buy a policy, you’ll pay life insurance premiums until age 90 and have coverage for your whole life.

How much does life insurance with Banner cost?

Banner Life is known for having low prices. To find out if that’s true, we sampled this insurer’s rates, including those in the following tables:

Banner sample rates

20-year term life policy for a healthy 25 year old
Death benefit payout

Monthly premium, male

Monthly premium, female

$100K

$11

$8

$250K

$16

$11

$500K

$25

$16

$1M

$43

$24

Sample quotes based on LGAmerica.com and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 7/15/2019.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50 year old
Death benefit payout

Monthly premium, male

Monthly premium, female

$100K

$22

$18

$250K

$40

$32

$500K

$73

$57

$1M

$141

$111

Sample quotes based on LGAmerica.com and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 7/15/2019.

Banner Life’s rates are consistently low and are some of the best life insurance rates on the market. People with conditions such as sleep apnea or asthma, as well as those with a family history of health issues, will see Banner’s most competitive rates.

Things to consider about Banner

In addition to competitive pricing, financial strength, and claims history, here’s what you should know if you’re considering buying a life insurance policy with Banner Life.

40-year term life

While the 40-year term isn’t unheard of, most insurers’ term offerings cap out at 30 or 35 years. So if you’re young, you might have a hard time finding a long enough term to suit your needs. But Banner Life has you covered.

Unfortunately, Banner’s 35- and 40-year terms aren’t available for residents of New York State.1

If you live in New York…

Banner Life Insurance Company provides quality life insurance products under the Legal and General brand in every US state except New York. If you live in New York, you can still buy life insurance from Legal and General, but it will be provided by William Penn Life instead. William Penn Life doesn’t offer 35- and 40-year terms to New Yorkers either.


FYI

For nationwide insurers, having a separate entity or arm that serves New York state is standard practice. New York's insurance laws are unique, so if that's where you live, you may see different life insurance products or limitations.


How Banner stacks up

Although Banner was founded in 1949 as the Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO), it was later bought by Legal and General—which was founded over 180 years ago. Today, Legal and General serves 1.3 million customers in the US and is the eighth-largest insurance company in the world.2

This insurance company has a long history of stability, and its financial ratings speak to that.

Is Banner Life financially stable?

Banner financial ratings
Rating Agency
Rating
AM Best (FSR)

A+

S&P

AA-

Moodys

N/A

Fitch

AA-

Table created using information available at AMBest.com, StandardAndPoors.com, Moodys.com, and FitchRatings.com. Data effective 7/15/2019.

AM Best, the gold standard for the insurance industry, gives Banner Life its highest rating of A+, which means it's superior in performance. Meanwhile, AA- represents the second-highest score from both S&P and Fitch, two companies that rate financial stability. Overall, these marks indicate a robust and stable company.

Claims and customer service

Banner Life has an impressive claims history. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the company had just seven complaints filed against it in 2018. Considering it also brought in over $1 billion in life insurance premiums, seven complaints is next to nothing.3

This insurer also offers something many companies don't: fast-tracked claims. While it's available only for low death benefits ($10,000 or less), your beneficiaries could get a claim paid out in as little as a single business day. This feature will be helpful primarily for final expense policies, which cap out at a $15,000 death benefit.

Bottom line: Banner Life offers a lot of value

With Banner’s financial stability, prompt claims, and competitive rates, you don't have to sacrifice quality for low-cost life insurance.

Banner Life Insurance Company has a lot to offer at a low price, but people who want variable or indexed life will have to choose another company. If Banner seems like the right insurer for you, get a quote. If you’re still on the fence, compare life insurance quotes from several companies.

Need help understanding how life insurance works? Read up here:

Banner FAQ

What kinds of riders does Banner offer?

Many of Banner’s policies come with several riders (add-ons):

  • Waiver of premium rider: premium payments are forgiven while coverage continues if you have a severe long-term illness or disability.
  • Conversion rider: convert a term policy to a universal without taking a medical exam
  • Accelerated death benefit rider: allows you to receive part of your death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Children’s rider: add life insurance for your child.
  • Term rider: add a term life policy to cover a short-term need, such as a mortgage.

Sources

1. Legal and General, “Legal Stuff

2. Legal and General, “Financial Strength

3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “Banner Life Ins Co

Written by
Kathryn Casna
Kathryn Casna is a licensed insurance agent and life insurance specialist who has appeared on The Simple Dollar and Best Company. On a weekly basis, she dives into complex life insurance topics to wring out genuinely useful information. When she’s not wrangling big ideas into easy-to-understand articles, Kathryn nerds out on budget-tracking spreadsheets and tries to coax her leash-trained cat to take outdoor adventures.