Banner Life Insurance Review: Straightforward Life Insurance
Though life insurance is a vital financial tool, it can also be costly to maintain. There are ways to be smart about your premiums – namely, finding an insurance company that offers policies at competitive rates.
The Banner Life Insurance company is an insurance provider that's been known to offer simple and reliable insurance products at decent price points. In this Banner Life insurance review, we discuss whether Banner Life is a practical choice compared to some of today's top rated insurance companies.
What To Look For In A Life Insurance Company
What should you look for in an insurance company? In our review articles, we always look at five important factors to compare life insurance providers properly:
Policy And Coverage
What kinds of life policies does the company offer (e.g. term life, whole life, etc.)? What are terms like? And how much life insurance coverage is available? These are the questions you should be asking when assessing a life insurance company. A variety of add-ons and riders is essential too, especially if you want to customize your policy.
The average life insurance application process takes three to eight weeks, from the time you request a quote to the day you're approved for your policy. You should find a company that makes the process quick, hassle-free, and accessible to everyone.
Certain factors can affect the price of your premiums, like your age, health, gender, and lifestyle. It all boils down to the perceived risks you pose to the insurance company – the older and unhealthier you are, the riskier you are to insure.
However, this doesn’t mean that those with poor health and high-risk lifestyles can’t find a good deal. Different life insurance companies have different ways of classifying their customers, and some are more lenient about certain conditions and lifestyle choices than others.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Complaint Index shows how companies fare compared to the national average in terms of customer complaints. The Better Business Bureau is another agency that provides a snapshot of how a company takes care of its customers. Aside from looking at these two ratings, you can also check out customer reviews online to gauge if a company truly cares about their customers.
Financial Strength Ratings
This represents a company's ability to honor death benefit claims. Reliable rating agencies include Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and A.M. Best.
Banner Life Insurance Review
The Banner Life Insurance Company is an American insurance provider that operates under parent company Legal & General America. Together with sister insurer William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York, which is also under the Legal & General umbrella, Banner Life serves more than 1.3 million policyholders in the United States. While William Penn operates strictly in New York state, Banner Life serves the other 49 U.S. states, including the District of Columbia.
According to their website, Legal & General, and in effect William Penn and Banner Life, "deeply believe in the value of insurance protection because we know how beneficial it can be".
Now let’s take a look at Banner Life and how it measures up according to our criteria.
Unlike other insurance companies that offer a wide range of life insurance products, the Banner Life Insurance company only offers two kinds – term and universal life insurance. Here's what you'll find in each policy:
Banner Term Life Insurance
Unlike whole life insurance where you’re covered until you die, term life insurance only lasts for a specific timeframe or term. Banner Life offers terms between 10 and 40 years, offered in increments of five. So you can get a 10-year term policy, 15-year term policy, 20-year term policy, and so on. For the death benefit, Banner Life offers coverage between $100,000 and $10,000,000.
With Banner's term policy, your monthly or annual premium payments stay level throughout the term. And if you ever change your mind, you can always convert your term policies into a whole life or permanent plan.
As for riders and add-ons, you'll have plenty of options. Banner Life offers the following riders for term life policyholders (at extra cost):
Waiver of premium rider: Also known as a disability rider, this allows policyholders to defer their payments for up to six months if they ever become disabled. This rider is only valid until the policyholder is 65 years old.
Child protection rider: This rider provides your children either $5,000 or $10,000 worth of protection until they turn 25.
Accelerated death benefit rider: An accelerated death benefit gives your loved ones up to 75 percent of your policy coverage or $500,000 (whichever is lower) if ever you're diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Banner Life Step Universal Life Insurance
While term policies only provide temporary coverage, universal life insurance gives policyholders long-term protection. Banner Life's Life Step universal life insurance policy provides life coverage ranging from $50,000 to $10,000,000.
Much like whole life insurance products, universal life insurance policies also come with a cash value component. The cash value is an account in which policyholders can allow their money to grow over time. You may withdraw from your cash value or leave it to grow interest.
However, unlike the simpler whole life policy, universal life insurance is characterized by flexible premiums and adjustable death benefits. Policyholders can choose to pay in one of two ways:
Level premiums for the lifetime of the policy
Increased premiums for a few years
The latter option allows policyholders to finish payments early and still get lifelong coverage. This is great for those who want to be free of financial obligations as soon as possible.
Just like with term life, universal life policyholders can add the following riders at extra cost:
Waiver of premium
Accelerated death benefits can be added to your policy free of charge.
Banner universal life policyholders enjoy a special "partial surrender benefit" which allows customers to surrender their policy with decreasing penalty charges over nine years. This feature is not available to term life policyholders.
Applying for Banner Life insurance is relatively easy and can be done in 6 simple steps:
Request a quote. To do so, just head to the Banner website. Then, input your date of birth, gender, height, weight, state, and nicotine usage, as well as the policy length (for term life insurance products) and death benefit you need. You can't actually apply for any of their life insurance policies online, but you can connect with an insurance agent to get started on your application.
Once you've sent in your quote, you can expect to hear back from the life insurance company within a day. The representative assigned to you will schedule a follow-up interview at your convenience.
During the interview, you'll be asked to provide more information, such as your driver's license information, social security number, financial history, and credit score. You'll also be asked for details of any medication you're currently on or have previously taken, as well as the contact information of physicians you've sought out in the past.
The insurance company takes this information to get a clearer picture of all the risks you might pose to the company, from your ability to meet payments to your overall health.
The company may require you to undergo a medical exam. You may also be required to provide urine and blood samples. Based on the information you've provided and the results of the medical exam, you'll be placed into a risk class, which then determines the rate of your premiums. We'll delve more into that later.
Once you've completed your medical exam, all you have left to do is to wait for your application to be reviewed. According to past applicants, Banner Life doesn't take too long to review applications. In fact, some said that the company processes applications in half the time that most insurance companies take.
If your policy is approved, you can expect to receive the news via email.
As mentioned, Banner Life insurance applicants are placed into health/risk classifications, which determine the amount they'll have to pay in premiums. Basically, the lower your health rating, the more you'll have to pay each month.
Banner Life rates clients into Excellent, Good, and Fair health categories. Excellent clients are considered "above average" and receive much higher coverage for lower rates compared to everyone else. Meanwhile, those in the Fair category will be charged higher rates for the same amount of coverage.
The good news is that the Banner Life Insurance company is considerably lenient in their evaluation, allowing policyholders to get high classifications (and thus cheaper life insurance) despite having a chronic or genetic condition.
For example, those with a history of tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are placed in the Good category. Those with less severe conditions like sleep apnea can be placed in the Excellent category.
How do Banner’s rates stack up against similar life insurance companies? You can get free quotes for term policies on the Legal & General website. All you have to do is input some of your personal information, along with the policy length and coverage amount you desire.
According to their website, you can get term life insurance for as little as $7 a month. This is assuming that you get the lowest possible coverage ($100,000) for the shortest term life policy length (10 years). A 25-year-old non-smoker male can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $28 a month for $500,000 worth of coverage for 20 years.
Do keep in mind that your premium rates will always depend on your age, gender, and overall health, so we can't tell you exactly how much you could spend on insurance.
Unfortunately, you can only get term life insurance rates from the website. The Banner Life insurance company doesn't provide much information on their universal life insurance policies, so you'll have to get in touch with an agent to figure out how much one of their universal life policies could cost you.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a nonprofit organization that sets standards and regulations for insurance companies in America. They have a national complaint index, which reflects how often companies receive complaints from consumers.
The baseline average is a score of 1.0. Banner Life Insurance currently holds a score of 0.31, meaning they perform well compared to most insurance companies.
Another important metric to look at is the Better Business Bureau's rating. According to their website, the Bureau's ratings represent their "opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers" and are based on customer complaints, transparent practices, and a company's ability to honor commitments to the Bureau, among others. Banner Life Insurance currently holds an A+ rating from the BBB, the highest ranking there is.
And if you want to test out Banner Life Insurance's service yourself, you can shoot them an email at email@example.com or call one of their phone numbers from 8 am to 5 pm, Mondays through Fridays. If you're an existing customer, you should already be aware that the company allows policyholders to manage their life policies through an online portal 24/7.
Financial Strength Ratings
A.M. Best rating: A+ (Superior Rating)
Better Business Bureau rating: A+
Standard & Poor's rating: AA- (Very Strong)
Moody’s rating: N/A
Affordable rates: Banner Life insurance offers some of the most affordable insurance products today, whether you're healthy or dealing with a minor condition.
Excellent customer service: NAIC and BBB ratings show that Banner Life does an excellent job of resolving complaints. Aside from this, policyholders can access their accounts and manage their policies whenever they want, wherever they want.
Straightforward application process: Applying for a Banner Life insurance policy is simple and fast. So fast, in fact, that it only takes one day to hear back from an agent.
Few life insurance coverage options: One of the few downsides to this company is its dearth of policy offerings. As of now, you can only get term and universal insurance from Banner Life. If you're looking for whole life, VUL, or indexed universal life insurance, you'll have to look somewhere else.
Standard underwriting process: While the application process is simple enough, you will have to wait six to eight weeks for your application to be processed. This is the standard in the industry, but some newer companies offer same-day approvals.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to straightforward application processes, affordable policies, and good service, Banner Life Insurance is one of the best in the game. However, its lack of variety when it comes to insurance policy options and its average underwriting time frame make it lag behind more modern contenders.
Looking for life insurance products? Wesley LLC has a whole host of life insurance company reviews on our website. Check them out to learn more about your options.
Need advice on something specific? Consider a consultation with our financial experts. At Wesley LLC, we're dedicated to helping people make smart and sound financial decisions. Contact us to find out how we can be of service to you!