My review of Banner Life Insurance is a real eye-opener.
Life insurance is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. That’s why it’s SO important to find out as much information as you can about the life insurance companies you’re considering BEFORE you commit!
If you’re considering Banner Life as a potential life insurer, we have all the answers you need.
Dive into this comprehensive review of one of the best-known companies in the industry to get the inside scoop.
Quick Guide / Table of Contents:
A Brief History of Banner Life Insurance
Every life insurance company has a story. Banner Life Insurance can trace its origins back to Great Britain in 1836. Six well-known lawyers gathered in London, England to form a life insurance company, which came to be known as Legal & General Group Plc, Banner Life’s parent company.
Legal and General went on to purchase GEICO (Government Employees Life Insurance Company) in 1981, which became Banner Life Insurance in 1983.
Banner Life was licensed to sell products in every state in the US, with the exception of New York. To solve this issue, William Penn Life Insurance joined the Legal and General group in 1989 and now provides services to New York.
Legal and General, a multinational insurance company, has its headquarters in London, England. They also have operations in the United States, U.K., Egypt, France, Germany, India and the Netherlands.
Banner Life uses independent life insurance agents to sell its products and presently, there are approximately 70,000 active brokers on their books.
The home office for Banner Life Insurance is located in Urbana, Maryland.
The Financial Strength of Banner Life Insurance
Banner Life Insurance is an exceedingly strong and financially sound life insurer.
They currently have about 1,140,000 U.S. customers and in 2015, Banner Life sold over $50.1 billion in new coverage.
This makes it the 5th best seller of life insurance products in the country!
The parent company, Legal and General, has approximately $685 billion of life insurance in force and over $7.3 billion in assets. In 2015, they reported a staggering net profit of $150.2 million!
Now, this is quite an accomplishment. To say that Legal and General is financially stable in rather an understatement
From a business perspective, Banner Life has taken a financially conservative approach with its investment portfolio.
It’s highly liquid and well-diversified carrying 94% investment grade corporate bonds. It also has structured securities and commercial mortgage loans.
…but how do the financial rating companies view Banner life insurance? In a nutshell, companies such as A.M Best, Standard & Poors, Fitch and COMDEX give them two thumbs up!
I’ve concluded that Banner life insurance is backed by an international life insurance powerhouse and is financially solid. You can rest comfortably knowing that Banner life insurance will be able to honor its claims both now and many years down the road.
Products Offered By Banner Life Insurance
The life insurance products offered by Banner Life are similar to those offered by other companies. Banner Life provides both Term and Permanent life insurance policies and riders.
The life insurance policies which Banner promotes include:
Let’s look at what they specifically offer in more detail.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance…is life insurance that provides coverage at a fixed rate of payments for a limited period of time, the relevant term. After that period expires, coverage at the previous rate of premiums is no longer guaranteed and the client must either forgo coverage or potentially obtain further coverage with different payments or conditions. If the life insured dies during the term, the death benefit will be paid to the beneficiary. Term insurance is the least expensive way to purchase a substantial death benefit on a coverage amount per premium dollar basis over a specific period of time. Wikipedia, Term Insurance
Universal Life Insurance
Banner’s Universal life insurance products are some of the most versatile available in the market. These policies give you a great deal more flexibility in terms of how you pay your premiums and additionally, you can adjust the amount of death benefits you need.
Of course, it follows that Universal policies cost much more than term because they provide lifetime coverage, death benefits, and guaranteed cash value accumulation.
Banner Specific Policy Features
Banner Life has a variety of different features to enhance your coverage which include:
- Waiver of Premium: If you become totally disabled or suffer from either an injury or long term illness, the company will waive all premiums during the period of disability. All you have to do is provide proof of a disability that will last at least 6 months.
- Policy Conversion: This feature applies to term only and allows you to convert your policy to a Universal policy at any time during the period of the guaranteed level premium, up to age 70. The underwriting class will remain the same for your existing term. Clients who buy their policies when they are 66 and older can convert them within the first 5 years.
- Flexible Premium Payments: Banner allows you to choose how you pay your premiums. This can be annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly.
Available Term Riders
Banner Life offers a limited number of riders. A rider is simply a separate form of coverage which you buy in addition to your main policy.
The riders which Banner sells include:
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider: This allows you to receive up to 75% of your death benefit or $500,000, whichever is the lesser amount, should you incur a terminal illness. As we all know illness is expensive and this can help you in the event of unanticipated medical care.
NOTE: Death benefits are reduced by any amount used and subject to interest.
Children’s Rider: This rider will provide life insurance protection for your children up to age 25, the 65th birthday of the insured or until termination of the policy.
Although the death of a child typically would not result in income loss, as would the death of a spouse, the tragedy still would have some financial consequences, which could be an additional hardship for a bereaved family. This term life insurance rider provides coverage for final expenses in case the unthinkable happens. Fox Business, The 9 Most Useful Life Insurance Riders
A Comparison of Banner Life Insurance Underwriting
One of the best ways to determine if a life insurance company is right for you is to look at how their underwriters view applicants.
To give you some insight into Banner’s underwriting guidelines, I’m going to compare their approach to 2 other companies randomly chosen.
For this review, I used the guidelines for Banner, American General Life Insurance and Principal Life Insurance for a client with a “Preferred Plus” rating seeking term life insurance.
Insurance underwriters are employed by insurance companies to help price life insurance…(and) use computer programs and actuarial data to determine the likelihood and magnitude of a claims payout over the life of the policy. Evaluating an insurer’s risk prior to the policy period and at renewal is a vital function of an underwriter. Investopedia, Insurance Underwriter
Let’s take a moment to review what factors the underwriters use to make their determinations. The following 5 categories are assessed for each applicant:
So let’s see how Banner Life compares!
Banner Life Insurance
- Height/Weight Build: A 5’ 11’ person cannot weigh more than 201 pounds for a male and 175 pounds for a female.
- Smoking: No use of nicotine or nicotine-based products for the last 36 months. One cigar allowed per month with HO specimen negative for cotinine.
- Blood Pressure: Must be well controlled with or without treatment and the average readings in the past 2 years cannot be greater than 136/86.
- Cholesterol Levels: Must be 120-300 with or without treatment. May not exceed 4.5 with or without treatment.
- Family History: There must be no cardiovascular disease in either parent or siblings before age 60. CAD is disregarded for applicants over age 70 that don’t use tobacco. Cancer is no longer a factor preventing consideration for preferred classes.
American General Life Insurance
- Height/Weight Build: A 5’ 11’ male must weigh between 134 – 211 pounds. A female must weigh between 120 – 208 pounds.
- Smoking: No tobacco for 5 years.
- Blood Pressure: Maximum blood pressure ages 0 – 60 (140/85) – age 61 Plus (150/85). Blood pressure treatment must be successful.
- Cholesterol Levels: Maximum cholesterol ratio, if treated < 5.0 – 215 If Ratio < 4.5 – 290
- Family History: No coronary artery disease or cancer prior to age 60 (parents only).
Note – Ignore family history if proposed insured is age 65 or greater, and ignore gender-specific cancers at all ages.
Principal Life Insurance
- Height/Weight Build: Ages 18 – 44 (126 – 208 pounds) Ages 45 – 60 (126 – 212 pounds)
- Smoking: No tobacco use for 2 years ages 20 – 70; no tobacco use for 3 years ages 71 – 85. The exception is 12 or fewer cigars per year with negative urine.
- Blood Pressure: Cannot exceed 140/85 for ages 20 -44, 40/90 for ages 45 – 64, 145/90 for ages 65 -85
- Cholesterol Levels: Ages 20 – 64 total cholesterol cannot exceed 270 or cholesterol/HDL of 5.5, ages 65 – 85 total cholesterol cannot exceed 280 or cholesterol/HDL of 6.0
- Family History: Will take into account if there was a death of family member prior to age 60 due to breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes. Family is not considered for applicants over age 71
Summary of Banner Underwriting
Banner life insurance has very lenient underwriting guidelines. If you have minor or even major health issues, then this is a great company to consider. Banner is superb for those with pre-existing conditions such as:
- Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
- Weight Issues
- Anxiety and Depression
- Sleep Apnea
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Unfavorable Family History
- Some Skin Cancers
NOTE: Banner Life is also considered to have very lenient underwriting when it comes to seniors.
Summary of Banner Life Insurance’s Prices
Let’s run through some numbers for Banner Life Insurance to show you how they compare with the companies I used above.
All quotes are for non-smoking males and females, age 35 with a “preferred plus” rating.
These figures are for a 20-year term policy with $500,000 in coverage.
Premiums quoted are monthly and annual.
Here Are Our Results
All quotes generated by Term 4 Sale:
- Banner Life Insurance: $22.75 monthly – $259.99 annual
- American General Life Insurance: $21.97 monthly – $259.99 annual
- Principal Life Insurance: $22.75 monthly – $260.00 annual
- Banner Life Insurance: $19.36 monthly – $221.25 annual
- American General Life Insurance: $20.24 monthly – $234.00 annual
- Principal Life Insurance: $20.83 monthly – $238.00 annual
The Final Word
Based on its products, underwriting criteria, and premium costs, Banner Life stands out as a leading life insurer.
If you happen to have a pre-existing medical condition you will be especially happy to hear that this company has some of the most lenient underwriting criteria in regard to multiple health issues.
What a package!
Not only is Banner Life a financially strong and solid company, but they provide some of the most affordable quotes in the business, especially for women.
If you are looking for an affordable policy from a fantastic company, Banner Life is a great place to start. This venerable company consistently comes up in the list of the top 5 – 10 life insurers with the lowest term rates.
Let Us Help You!
If you are looking to find low-cost term or permanent life insurance, then you are in the right place!
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