Banner Life Insurance is an outstanding choice for term and universal life insurance coverage. Banner offers some of the best life insurance rates, whether you’re healthy or have a medical condition, such as asthma or sleep apnea. In addition, Banner’s life insurance policies have built-in flexibility so you can choose what features you want to pay for.
For example, while most term life insurance policies offer a fixed death benefit for the term length, Banner’s term policy lets you combine terms and coverage amounts. This means you can pay a lower premium for the base coverage and only pay more when you need additional financial protection.
Banner Life Insurance is a subsidiary of Legal and General America and issues its life insurance policies in every state besides New York (where the same policies are issued by William Penn Life Insurance).
Banner Life Insurance products
Banner Life offers term and universal life insurance policies, with a variety of coverage options and low premiums. While Banner Life is an established insurer with a strong financial strength rating they also compete well on price, in part due to their flexible underwriting.
Banner’s underwriting process is less strict than those of other insurers when it comes to having a single issue (such as smoking or having osteoporosis). Instead, they look at combinations of other health factors, meaning you’re less likely to be hit with a high premium
if you’re very healthy overall with one medical condition or lifestyle concern. For example, you would be moved up a health tier and qualify for lower life insurance quotes with Banner Life if you met at least three of the following qualifications:
- You haven’t used tobacco in at least 10 years (besides a maximum of one cigar per month)
- Both of your parents lived till they were at least 75 and you don’t have a sibling that contracted cancer or heart disease before age 60
- Your Cholesterol/HDL ratio is 4.5 or lower
- You regularly do at least one of the following: get an annual checkup, participate in an exercise program, or get routine preventative tests (such as a pap * smear, prostate exam or colonoscopy)
- You’ve had a cardiac test in the past two years showing outstanding results
- Your Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT) level is below 30 (an indication of your likelihood of liver disease)
- If you’re over 60, your NT Pro BnP is below 100 (an indication of your likelihood of heart failure)
Banner term life insurance
Term life insurance policies offer flexible coverage with lower premiums than many competitors. As you can see below, Banner’s life insurance quotes for term policies range from 17% to 26% lower than similarly established insurers. While this discount isn’t as significant for smokers, premiums are still 9% to 14% below the competition.
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Banner’s term life insurance death benefits range from $100,000 to $10 million. Depending on your age, you can get a term policy for:
|20 years||20-70 (non-smoker), 20-65 (smoker)|
|25 years||20-60 (non-smoker), 20-55 (smoker)|
|30 years||20-55 (non-smoker), 20-50 (smoker)|
In addition, Banner’s term policies can be "laddered" using a term rider. This means you can increase your coverage during certain periods of time during which your needs are higher.
Banner Life doesn’t offer a traditional no-medical exam term policy and their full underwriting process can take several weeks. However, their APPcelerate program offers the opportunity to get term coverage within one business day if you pass a health interview, are a non-smoker, and don’t live in certain regions (it’s not available in Connecticut, Hawaii or Alaska). Essentially, if you complete an application and phone interview with no issues, you can qualify for coverage within a few hours without a medical exam.
This option is available for:
- Policies with less than $500k death benefit, if you’re between the ages of 20-50 (only for 10-year term policies)
- Policies with less than $500k death benefit, if you’re between the ages of 46-50 (for 15, 20, 25, and 30-year term policies)
- Policies with less than $750k death benefit, if you’re between the ages of 41-45 (for 15, 20, 25, and 30-year term policies)
- Policies with less than $1 million death benefit, if you’re between the ages of 20-40 (for 15, 20, 25, and 30-year term policies)
In addition, if you’re undecided between term and permanent coverage, any of Banner’s term policies can be converted to a universal policy so long as you’re below age 70.
Banner Life universal life insurance
Universal life insurance is a form of permanent coverage. The policy stays in-force so long as you continue to pay premiums and it builds a cash value. The policy’s cash value is the amount of money you would receive if you surrendered and it can be borrowed against or withdrawn. With universal life policies, the cash value grows according to the performance of the insurer’s portfolio, but there’s also a guaranteed minimum annual return.
Banner Life offers two universal life insurance policies, Life Step UL and Life Choice UL, which are available if you’re between the ages of 20 and 85. While Life Choice UL is the better policy for those that know they want over $100,000 of universal life coverage, Life Step UL charges a bit more to come with greater flexibility.
Life Step UL has 20-25% higher premiums and a lower guaranteed interest rate, but comes with lower minimum coverage requirements and the ability to surrender your policy several years earlier. In addition, with Life Step UL, you can pay higher premiums for a shorter period of time, such as 10 years, in order to lock in lifetime coverage.
Life Choice UL not only comes with lower premiums, but has additional opportunities to reduce the amount you’ll pay in exchange for a bit of added risk. Banner’s standard universal life insurance policy matures when you turn 121, but Life Choice UL lets you reduce or extend the maturity date. At the time a universal life insurance policy matures, if you’re still alive, you would receive the policy’s cash value and surrender coverage.
A farther off maturity date increases premiums since it increases the likelihood you’ll pass away before maturity while reducing the maturity date lowers premiums. So, for example, you could pay lower premiums if your policy matured when you turned 100 or 110.
Life Step UL
Life Choice UL
|Guaranteed Cash Value Interest Rate||2% annually||3% annually|
|Surrender Charges||None after 9 years||None after 14 years|
|Policy Loan Interest Rate||7.4% (3.8% in NY through William Penn)||7.4% (4.8% in NY through William Penn)|
|Changes to Death Benefit||Can decrease death benefit, but not below $50,000||Can increase or decrease death benefit, but not below $100,000|
|Term Conversion||Can convert a term policy to Life Step UL if it has been in place at least five years||Can convert a term policy to Life Step UL if it has been in place less than five years|
Banner Life Insurance riders
Life insurance riders are policy add-ons offered by insurers to let you adjust your coverage or edit standard features of a policy. Banner Life offers threee riders which are available for their term and universal life insurance policies:
- Waiver of Premium - If you demonstrate that you have become totally disabled for at least 6 months, you can stop making payments and your policy will remain in force so long as you’re disabled. The only limitation is that the disability has to occur before you turn 65.
- Accelerated Death Benefit - If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can receive a portion of the death benefit while you’re still alive. This reduces the strain on your family as it can help to cover hospital bills, treatment and other expenses. The maximum amount of money you can receive early is $500,000 or 75% of the policy’s full death benefit (whichever is less).
- Child Rider - This allows you to add coverage for your children, an option that’s typically meant to protect parents from burial costs if the child passes away in an accident. Coverage is available for $5,000 (costs $27.50 per year) or $10,000 (costs $55.00 per year) and ends when the child turns 25. This rider also expires when you turn 65.
Banner Life Insurance customer reviews and complaints
The Banner Life Insurance Company has an A+, or Superior, financial strength rating for the best life insurance companies from A.M. Best. In addition, their NAIC Complaint Ratio is 0.16, meaning the company receives a proportionately low number of complaints as compared to the amount of coverage it writes. Banner Life’s reputation is based upon a smooth process and competitive prices, and these features are reflected in their positive reviews.
However, they do receive some negative reviews indicating challenges interacting with the customer service team. These customer service issues seem to crop up primarily when a clerical error was made or a client tries to surrender a policy. Therefore, while it’s always a good practice, with Banner Life you will want to get confirmation of any policy actions you take, even small edits such as changing a name or updating your mailing address.