Looking for life insurance but coming across a company you haven’t heard of before, like Banner? We break down every company so you can feel comfortable in knowing you picked the right carrier. While many haven’t heard of Banner Life Insurance Company before, it’s because they don’t advertise like other carriers. Fortunately, the savings from not needing to market themselves trickles down to you, the customer, by way of cheaper term life insurance premiums. Here is our full Banner Life Insurance Company review, updated for 2017, which is our own independent opinion of the insurer and their products. As we always suggest, please remember to review as many companies as you need to find the right carrier for you.
OUR COMPLETE BANNER LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY REVIEW FOR 2017
Perhaps one of the best life insurance companies for term insurance in the market today, Banner Life Insurance Company started as Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) back in 1949, which was part of the infamous GEICO we all know today. The two are, however, no longer of business relation. GELICO grew extremely fast over the next 3 decades and was eventually acquired by Legal & General Group, Plc in ’81. A little over a year later, the name was modified to what it is today, Banner Life, to further exemplify its base product and primary business model, life insurance. It is licensed to offer its insurance products all across the United States. As it continued its remarkable industry growth, the company continued to find success while remaining ahead of the game at all times. It was one of the very first life insurance companies to begin offering what would be considered a staple product in today’s market, Universal Life Insurance. Today, it continues to offer both Term Life and Universal life through independent agents and agencies across America.
THE FINANCIAL SIDE
Extremely financially strong, Banner Life has been awarded an “A+” from A.M. Best, an “AA-” from Fitch, and an “AA-” from Standard & Poor’s, meaning it has some of the highest ratings available from the most well known and reputable rating agencies. With nearly $624 billion of in-force policies and now eclipsing the $6.2 billion mark, it is clear they have a big leg up on many of its competing insurers, and this reflects in product pricing and performance. Banner enjoyed a hefty $82.5 million net income last year. Banner Life is one of the few life insurance companies who really focus almost strictly on just growing their business through life insurance products. While many companies have investment and retirement sides to their books, Banner, and its sister company, William Penn, which operates solely in the state of New York, focus their efforts on building their core product to be durable and competitive across all their target markets. Their parent company, Legal & General America, is the corporate center of operations and has its headquarters not in the United States, but in the UK. Legal & General now claims to be the 7th largest insurance company, when comparing assets under management, in the world. It also has locations and different arms of its business in France, India, Egypt and more with core products in insurance and retirement alike.
BANNER’S LIFE INSURANCE PRODUCTS
Banner Life Insurance Company has an excellent line up of products which truly can cover just about any need for life insurance for consumers and business people alike. But, before we got too in-depth into products themselves, let’s briefly talk about why their underwriting alone is a huge advantage to considering them for coverage. When you apply for life insurance, in general, every company has the same tiers, or classifications, for issuing a policy. For example, you see Preferred, or Preferred Plus, or Standard Table 2. Virtually every company has these, but Banner’s pricing schedule is vastly different because it doesn’t really line up toe to toe with each rating. In substandard cases, they operate a step up. Let’s say someone had a higher risk condition and were likely a Table 4 for most carriers. Banner might be able to offer the same rating, but it’ll be priced as though it were equal to a Table 2.So, in a nutshell, so long as Banner can compete in rating, they’ll be extremely competitive almost every time.
The OPTerm® series from Banner Life, its core term line, includes the OPTerm 10®, OPTerm 15®, OPTerm 20®, and OPTerm 30®, where each coincides with its duration, respectively. The premiums stay level for the duration of the period in which you choose and rises annually thereafter. All health classes are available for these term products. Enjoy the following rider availability from Banner Life Insurance Company:
1. Waiver of Premium – if you become disabled and unable to pay your premiums, the Waiver of Premium rider ensures your policy remains in force until you can resume making payments.
2. Policy Conversion – should you decide to convert to a more permanent product, Banner’s universal life product, you can do so without the need to re-qualify, and you’ll be given the same rate class as your old term policy.
3. Flexible Payment Schedule – Banner makes it easy to pay, allowing several methods of payment and several frequencies as well. Save more by paying annual.
4. Term Riders – sometimes, you need to have a little additional coverage for just a few years. Term riders allow you to ladder your death benefit all in one policy.
5. Accelerated Death Benefit – if you are declared terminally ill or have less than one full year to live, you can access your death benefit ahead of time. The final death benefit is simply reduced by the amount taken.
6. Children’s Rider – young ones need basic coverage as well, and the Children’s rider allows them to get covered up to 25 years of age.
One of the pioneers in Universal Life, Banner offers their Life Step UL®, a permanent life insurance policy which is vastly more affordable than many rival whole life products.
Lock in a flat rate, and have the flexibility to modify payments, as well. Even pay off the policy in 10 or 15 years with Banner’s Short Pay Guarantee. Banner’s Step Up UL® boasts a guaranteed minimum death benefit for as long as you make your payments, and your minimum payment will never change regardless of what happens in the future.
In addition, paying using the lifetime premium also guarantees some amount of cash value growth within the policy.
NO EXAM LIFE INSURANCE FROM BANNER
One of the newest no exam life insurance companies, in 2016, Banner introduced its APPcelerate, which is its first automatically underwritten system. Consumers can use an independent agent to complete an application over the phone which requires no medical, no blood tests, and no Attending Physician’s Statements (doctor’s records).Even better, they’ve attempted to best the industry by approving applications in as little as a few hours, and even hosting a maximum of one full business day to get the application approved.
Here is some more information:
• Available for their OPTerm® 10, 15, 20, and 30 product line
• Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 50
• Death benefits available for coverage are between $100,000-$500,000
• Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco, Preferred Non-Tobacco, and Standard Plus Non-Tobacco rate classes only
The best of all, prices are the same for the no exam life insurance from Banner as they are for their regularly underwritten term products which fall into the same duration and face amount. Even if an applicant can’t qualify for the no medical policy from Banner Life, they can still be approved by going through the underwriting process.
MORE ON BANNER LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Banner focuses on strong life insurance products, but also on philanthropy. It has a long-standing charitable nature, even going as far as hosting its Annual Giving Campaign, where the employees of the company make donations to whichever charity they adore most, and the company matches their donations dollar for dollar! The company is also unique in the industry as its core underwriting practices are different than all the rest of the insurers. For those individuals who are lower than average in their health class, Banner’s premiums go off of a Standard Plus rating table, meaning most if not all of their premiums are actually discounted premiums when compared to the competition of equal health ratings.
This, in effect, means any policy compared apples to apples in rating, will likely show up cheaper than most or all other carriers at that particular class. While this isn’t the only unique item about Banner Life, it has certainly put their product at the forefront, and they continue to operate with peak performance and excellent pricing models. While its not the longest standing company, its reputation has definitely surpassed many other insurers already.