- Key Takeaways
- — Banner offers two products: Universal Life Insurance and Term Life Insurance
- — You might not need a medical exam in some cases
- — Banner has a reputation for having some of the most affordable policies
- — The company has very strong financial credentials and a very low number of complaints
Millions of Americans have a financially dependent person in their lives — whether a spouse, children, or an elderly parent. Yet, according to a 2019 study by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization, only 57% of Americans have a life insurance policy to lessen the financial hardship of their surviving family.
If you’re looking for life insurance, you might’ve come across the Banner Life Insurance company. It’s not necessarily the right company for everyone (no company is). But if you’re in the market and just starting your search, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to choose Banner Life Insurance.
About Banner Life Insurance
One of the most confusing things about Banner Life Insurance company is that even though this is the company’s official name, you’ll rarely see it when working with them. Instead, most of Banner Life Insurance’s communications (emails, phone calls, and letters) are through its parent company, Legal & General America.
Banner Life Insurance itself was acquired by Legal & General America in 1981, along with another life insurance company (William Penn) in 1989. The reason Legal & General America keeps these separate is due to licensing issues: Banner Life Insurance is licensed to give out policies in every state, except for New York — the only state that William Penn serves. No matter where you live in the U.S., you can get life insurance through one of these two companies.
Despite the differing names, we’ll refer to “Banner Life Insurance” in this review for simplicity.
Unlike a lot of other insurance companies, Banner Life Insurance focuses on selling one thing: life insurance. It’s also a relatively small player among a crowded field. In 2017, for example, Banner Life Insurance took in less than 1% of all life insurance premiums paid.
Banner Life Insurance Products
Banner Life Insurance isn’t a complicated life insurance company. It only sells two different flavors of life insurance: term life insurance and universal life insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is probably the best type of life insurance for most people because it’s the most affordable, and likely meets your needs. You generally don’t need life insurance forever, and term life insurance only covers you for a specific period of time, called — as the name suggests — the term. Banner Life Insurance offers term life insurance policies ranging from 10 to 40 years in length, although 20 years is what most of its customers choose.
Its term policies offer a convertible option — i.e., if you decide you really do need universal life insurance for whatever reason, you can convert your term policy into a universal policy without going through the underwriting process again.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is a much more complex life insurance product, similar to whole life insurance. It’s better to talk to a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor to see if you really do need universal life insurance. In most cases, despite what insurance salesmen will tell you, you don’t.
But if you do need universal life insurance coverage, Banner Life Insurance offers it. This type of insurance covers you for your entire life, not just a specific term period. You also get the freedom to choose how much you pay toward your premiums each year. If you pay more, you can actually increase your death benefits and build up a cash value that you can use while you’re still alive. You can also opt to pay less, although this might decrease your death benefits.
Banner Life Insurance also offers a “short pay” option, where you can essentially pre-pay your insurance coverage. You can opt to pay a higher-than-normal premium for several years (such as before you retire) and if you’ve paid enough to reach the “lifetime guarantee” amount, you can stop making payment entirely while still being covered until you pass away.
- Flexible payment options: You can pay your premiums on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.
- Waiver of premium for disability: If you become sick or disabled for at least six months and can prove it, Banner Life Insurance will waive your premium payments while you’re incapacitated.
- Might not need a medical exam: In some cases, you might not need a medical exam as part of the underwriting process. You might be allowed to bypass this if you’re in very good health, are financially stable, have no criminal history, and take few or no prescription drugs.
- High customer satisfaction: Banner Life Insurance has a complaint index of 0.05 according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners — that’s 20X less than the national average.
- High percentage of payouts: The worst-case scenario with life insurance is that they won’t pay out to your beneficiaries when you pass on. But in 2019, Banner Life Insurance paid out 99.9% of its claims.
- Quick and easy claims process: If your beneficiaries do need to file a claim, they can get full payment in as soon as one day after an approved claim.
- Rider options: Banner Life Insurance allows several types of insurance riders, like a Children’s Rider to automatically cover your kids until age 25, an Accelerated Death Benefit rider to use your benefits before you die in case you have a terminal illness, and a Term Rider to add additional coverage for specific life events, such as a mortgage.
Who Banner Life Insurance Is Best For
Banner Life Insurance is a great choice for most people due to its financial strength, affordable premiums, and good customer service.
However, if you think you might be harder or more expensive to insure than the average person, it might be worth working with an independent life insurance agent. They can generally point out the companies that are most likely to meet your coverage and budgetary needs. For example, life insurance companies vary in how they treat smokers, vapers, people with certain chronic conditions, and more.
Banner Life Insurance vs. Other Life Insurance Competitors
|Company||Insurance Options||A.M. Best Rating (measures financial strength)||NAIC Consumer Complaint Ratio (1.00 is average)|
|Banner Life Insurance||Universal LifeTerm Life (10-40 years)||A+||0.05|
|USAA Life Insurance||Universal LifeWhole LifeTerm Life (10-30 years)||A++||0.13|
|Allstate Life Insurance||Universal LifeWhole LifeTerm Life (10-30 years)||A+||1.33|
What To Know About Life Insurance
Life insurance is one of those protections that’s always easy to put off until later. Sometimes, however, it’s too late — you might’ve developed health conditions that prevent you from getting good coverage, or worse, you’ve passed on and left people who depend on you without any support. The good news is that after your policy is set up, you won’t have to worry much about it again for a long time.
One of the barriers to buying insurance is being unsure about how much life insurance coverage you need. If you have any special cases — such as disabled adult children, a very high net worth, or some other unique situation, it might be best to speak with a financial advisor. These industry experts can explain your options and offer recommendations for where to find the best coverage.
The Bottom Line
Banner Life Insurance is a great option to consider when shopping for life insurance. It’s especially good for people who are looking for:
- Competitive rates
- A longer term life insurance policy (up to 40 years)
- A company with a great customer service record
- A financially strong company that’ll still be around for your beneficiaries to submit a claim
Still, it’s always good to consider other top life insurance companies before entering into a long-term relationship. This is more than just a year-by-year car insurance deal. Make sure you find a company that you’re comfortable staying hitched to until death do you part, if necessary.
Banner Life Insurance FAQs
Yes, Banner Life Insurance gets good marks on customer service, percent of claims paid out, insurance options offered, affordability of premiums, and more.
That depends on your needs. But for most people, Banner Life Insurance will be a great option.
Banner Life Insurance is owned by Legal & General America.