Selecting the right life insurance company is no simple task. After all, you’re making a lifelong commitment, trusting the insurance company will be able to provide for your family after you’re no longer around. Do you know how to find a life insurance company you can count on?
The Banner Life Insurance Company offers many popular options for people of any age interested in purchasing life insurance.
Never heard of Banner Life? You’re not alone. They have very limited advertising compared to other carriers.
We’re here to help you get informed with a complete, impartial Banner Life Insurance Company review. Here’s a rundown of their products, financial health and everything else you need to know in order to make an informed decision:
The History of Banner Life Insurance Company
The Banner Life Insurance Company was founded in 1949. They’re not the oldest insurance company out there, but they’re not the newest, either. Insurance companies first appeared in the U.S. around 1905. Some newer life insurance carriers are only 20 years old.
When they first launched, they were known as the Government Employees Life Insurance Company, or GELICO. Over the next 30 years, GELICO grew to become one of the largest insurance companies in the country.
(A quick note: parts of GELICO eventually became GEICO, which still exists as a popular insurance provider today. Banner Life and GEICO are completely separate companies.)
In 1981, Banner was purchased by a different insurance company, Legal & General Group, PLC. This is their corporate center of operations. Located in the U.K., Legal & General is the seventh largest insurance company in the world. Aside from the U.S. and U.K., Legal & General also has offices in France, Egypt and India. In the U.S., they still operate under the name Banner Life.
In 2016, they introduced the first automatic underwriting system. Called APPcelerate, customers can apply over the phone without having to talk to an agent. The application process requires no blood tests, doctor’s records or other medical records.
Banner’s Strength Ratings
The overall financial picture of Banner is strong. They have some of the highest ratings in the industry. The major ratings breakdown is as follows:
We find nothing unusual or troubling about Banner’s overall financial health as determined by the major rating agencies.
Other Company Financials
Banner Life is bigger than many of their competitors, including insurance providers who have been in business for much longer. They have over $624 billion in force policies and over 1.1 million U.S. customers.
The company’s coverage ranks fifth in the country. Once again, they’re outshining the competition, including some of the major names in the insurance industry. Their targeting of cheap term life insurance is a key component to their growth, as it’s a leader in the term life market.
At the end of 2015, they held over $7.3 billion in assets through Legal & General America. Their net income was $150.2 million.
Company Product Specialization
Banner Life’s pricing structure is a bit different from other insurance carriers. Standard insurers base policy rates on what actuary table the applicant belongs in. Banner Life uses a different pricing system which typically benefits people with existing health conditions.
For instance, someone with a higher risk condition would typically be rated according to a higher number table, like a Table 4. Under Banner’s system, they’d be rated more as a Table 2. This allows a lot of opportunities for people in high-risk medical categories to find a lower price for life insurance.
Term Life Policies
One of their most popular products is their OPTerm series. The series includes 10, 15, 20 and 30-year terms. Each is referred to as OPTerm 10, OPTerm15, etc.
Premiums remain level during the term. If you wish to continue after the term is up, rates will increase each year. OPTerms have a variety of riders available:
- Children’s Rider – Covers ages 25 and under
- Accelerated Death Benefit – Death benefit accessible if life expectancy is under one year
- Flexible Payment Schedule – Save more by paying annually
- Term Riders – Add extra coverage for a period of time
- Waiver of Premium – Allows payment suspension due to temporarily disability
- Policy Conversion – Turn a Term policy into a permanent one with no re-qualification exam
Universal Life Policies
Banner’s Life Step UL is a permanent policy with a flat rate, guaranteed minimum death benefit and the ability to modify your payments. They offer a Short Pay Guarantee plan where you can pay off the entire policy in as little as 10 years. The lifetime set premium allows for cash growth – not much in many cases, but certainly better than nothing.
The main benefit here is price. Banner’s Universal Life Policy is often much more affordable than similar policies from other providers.
Claim Application Process
Banner places a lot of emphasis on quick and easy application processes. They offer many policies which can be approved in just a few hours.
In order to qualify for the fastest possible approval time, applicants must:
- Apply for an OPTerm between 10 and 30 years
- Be between 20 and 50 years old
- Want benefits between $100,000 and $500,000
- Be a Non-Tobacco User
Corporate responsibility is a big part of Banner Life. They hold an annual Charitable Giving Campaign. Employees donate their time and money through America’s Charities, with the company itself matching every dollar given.
Past featured charities include Jacob’s Ride, Movember Foundation and Unsung K9 Hero Project. Last year North American’s 500 employees, when matched by the company, raised over $740,000 in donations.
Employees are also given opportunities to volunteer throughout the year in their local communities. The company hosts an Every Day Matters Community Awards celebration. Employees nominate their co-workers for their charitable works.
The company promotes charitable giving of both time and money. While many insurance companies donate to the community, North American places a special emphasis on allowing employees to volunteer on projects they feel a personal connection to.
Is Banner Life Insurance Company Right For You?
While they’re not the oldest insurance company around, Banner is interested more in innovation and customer satisfaction than tradition. They’re able to connect with policyholders precisely because they’re a privately owned company. With newer products allowing you to skip the medical exam, you can get coverage faster than ever.
Things are just a little different at Banner Life. Their core underwriting practices can really benefit individuals with existing health issues. Many people in higher risk health categories find significant savings with Banner’s premiums.
Even if you have excellent health, there’s still a lot to recommend about the Banner Life Insurance Company. They’re in excellent shape financially, powered by the multi-national Legal & General. Plus, they offer great customer service and a wide range of policies.
We recommend Banner Life for general life insurance customers, and especially for those in high-risk health tables.