By Jim Tobin , CFP
Lifre Insurance Help Desk Rating
If you are considering purchasing term life insurance from Banner Life Insurance Company you have landed in a good place. This Banner Life insurance review will briefly address the company's history and financial ratings, product offerings, underwriting niches, pricing and alternatives.
Founded in 1836, Legal & General, the British corporate parent of Banner Life Insurance Company, has a long and rich history in the life insurance marketplace. That rich history includes the acquisition of Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) in 1983.
Government Employees Life insurance Company or GELCO had been founded in 1949 and it's name was changed to Banner life upon acquisition by Legal & General. Legal & General would later acquire the William Penn Life Insurance company (1989) and consolidate management with Banner Life. William Penn life Insurance is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Banner Life and represents Legal & General in New York.
The financial ratings for Legal & General America are very strong. Although A.M. Best is thought to be the foremost authority of financial strength in the life insurance market, below we have provided the ratings for Legal & General America (Banner Life) from all the major agencies. Included in this list is Comdex which is an industry specific compilation of rantings. You can explore the financial strength ratings of other carriers here.
Banner Life (and William Penn in New York), offers two types of life insurance policies currently, term life insurance and universal life insurance.
Banner's term life insurance offering is called OPTerm series, and it is offered in 10,15,20 & 30 year terms. These well priced and aggressively underwritten products come with two notable rider options.
The accelerated benefits rider option that allows for the early distribution of benefits in the event of a terminal illness. This rider is free.
The waiver of premium rider that pays your premiums in the event that you become disabled and are unable to work. This rider has an additional cost associated with it.
* With TermAccel, Banner has entered the no exam market for qualified applicants (excellent health) up to $500000.
Banner was long a leader in the Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL) market, unfortunately this product was discontinued in 2015.
Banner currently offers the LifeStep UL which is a customizable universal life product. This can be tailored for limited pay, flexible premium and cash value accumulation.
The underwriting at Banner Life is well known in the life insurance industry for being aggressive. This attitude is reflected in its pricing models and its treatment of specific medical conditions.
Banner has 4 underwriting categories plus table rated /substandard rates. They Are:
Ratings for specific health conditions are eligible for improvement by means of health & lifestyle credits. Theses credits make some of the below niches possible.
Family history of cancer can still qualify for preferred plus rates.
Applicants over 50 with well controlled type 11 diabetes can qualify for standard plus rates.
High cholesterol treated by prescription is elligible for preferred plus rates.
High blood pressure , effectively treated by prescription can be eligible for preferred plus rates.
Asthma that is well controlled can qualify for preferred rates.
While smokers rates are not very competitive with Banner life, they will consider preferred plus for people who quit 3 or more years ago.
This list is far from complete. The fact is that if you have a health condition that concerns you Banner is likely a serious contender for best rate available. In fact, Banner rates three quarters of all applications are rated as standard plus or better, this is all the more impressive when you consider that Banner has a reputation liberally underwriting health conditions.
Banner Life is super competitive in some cases and appears expensive in others. However, it is important to note that even in cases where they appear expensive they are often the best deal.
You may be asking: "How can the be?"
It all comes down to the underwriting class you are given. If Banner Life is the most expensive of the major carriers at standard rates but the more competitive carriers would grade you as table 2/B or 4/D, then the "more expensive" standard rate would be the best deal.
If you would like to see accurate rates based on underwriting class for Banner Life insurance, simply input your information into the quote tool and press "Display Quotes". Just bear in mind that, as I have discussed, the best rate is not always the best deal for your particular health situation.
In cases where Banner Life is not the most competitive rate (for example smokers), there are over 50 carriers available at the Life Insurance Help Desk. Whether it's a condition that Banner chooses not to see favorably or a no exam option you are looking for, we will be happy to help you get the best deal possible
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Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..
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