Banner Life Review

Written by NextGen Life Insurance

So, how did Banner Life Insurance come about? Let me quickly share with you their story.

Chartered in 1949, Banner Life was originally launched as Government Employees Life Insurance (GELICO). In 1981 they got acquired by Legal & General as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Two years later, the name was changed to Banner. It acquired William Penn as its subsidiary in 1989. Management for both companies was consolidated at a senior level.

Fast forward to 2011, all marketing identities were combined under the Legal & America brand.

Now that all of that excitement is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff

Banner Life Financial Ratings

Their parent company, Legal & General Group PLC prides itself on being a top 10 global asset manager. A.M Best reports them as the world’s 7th biggest insurer based on their 2015 net assets.

In 2016, they had over $1 trillion in worldwide assets under their management (investors, institutions, policyholders). Their life insurance assets under Legal and General America has reached more than $658 billion in force with over $7.5 billion in assets.

Rating Agency Score
A.M Best A+ (Superior)
S & P AA- (Very Strong)
Fitch AA- (Very Strong)
BBB A+

Scores as of 2017

Banner Life insurance products

Banner doesn’t have a lot of products in their line-up, in fact, they only have 3 for life insurance.

  • OpTerm (Term Life Insurance)
  • Life Step UL (Universal Life Insurance)
  • Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance

OpTerm (Term Life Insurance)

Banner Life’s renewable and convertible life insurance offering provides a level death benefit.

Type Coverage Length Premium increase
OPTerm 10 Level premiums for 10 years Annually in year 11 and later
OPTerm 15 Level premiums for 15 years Annually in year 16 and later
OPTerm 20 Level premiums for 20 years Annually in year 21 and later
OPTerm 25 Level premiums for 25 years Annually in year 26 and later
OPTerm 30 Level premiums for 30 years Annually in year 31 and later
OPTerm 35 Level premiums for 35 years Annually in year 36 and later
OPTerm 40 Level premiums for 40 years Annually in year 41 and later

Who would benefit most from OpTerm Life insurance?

Term life insurance is the cheapest option no matter which insurer you choose to go with.

OpTerm will be ideal for people who want “pure” life insurance without paying for anything extra. It’s straightforward, so there’s no need to figure out how it works, unlike the more complex products such as Universal or Whole Life insurance.

Get the Banner Life OpTerm Life Insurance if you:

  • Have kids who need to go to college and want to have the financial safety net of life insurance should something unexpected happen to the breadwinner.
  • Want income replacement if the policyholder dies
  • Have mortgage and other debt
  • Want to have additional life insurance protection along with your other policies

Life Step UL (Universal Life Insurance)

This is Banner Life’s offering to anyone looking for flexible coverage and premium guarantees for the long term.

It features “Short Pay Guarantee”, something that allows policyholders to come up with their own premium payment “schedule” using a specific amount of years of your preference. Once your payment period ends, you will still remain covered for life.

As a bonus, Life Step UL also has the “Guaranteed Cash Value” feature, which ensures you’ll get both coverage and the cash value in your policy.

Who would benefit most from Life Step UL?

Universal life insurance is perfect for anyone looking for permanent protection and flexibility in paying premiums.

How flexible, you ask? Say you want to pay all your premiums within 15 years at the start of the policy or perhaps 10 years before you retire. Are you allowed to do it?

With the Short Pay Guarantee feature, you can. It allows you to consolidate all premium payments within a specific time frame

Get the Life Step UL if you:

  • Want protection that lasts a lifetime
  • Are a business owner and would want financial protection for your family against potential business debt and expenses
  • Have children with special needs
  • Want to utilize life insurance as another way of building your retirement fund nest egg

Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance

This is Banner Life’s offering to folks that want to have life insurance coverage but have a hard time doing so because of health issues.

This product offers the following features:

  • Guaranteed life insurance policy issuance for people aged 50-80—regardless of your health condition
  • You don’t have to take a medical exam or answer a health questionnaire
  • Guaranteed fixed premiums. Even if your health condition changes.
  • All approved claims will be paid within 1 business day
  • Immediate coverage for accidental death, full coverage after 2 years
  • Full life coverage that lasts even though you only pay until 95 years old
  • Since it’s whole life, it has a cash value feature (allows you to borrow against it)
  • If you pay the premiums monthly using your checking or savings account, there’s a discount

Here’s a sample quote for a non-smoking, 55-year old male (Guaranteed Whole Life):

Plus, compared with other insurance companies, they have pretty competitive rates for non-tobacco users. Here’s a sample quote from their website featuring their Guaranteed Whole Life versus that of Colonial Penn’s:

APPcelerate: Banner Life’s Automated Underwriting Program

If you are qualified, their APPcelerate program can dramatically lessen the time and effort required from you to get a term life policy.

How exactly does it work, you ask?

If you fall within the following health classes, Preferred Plus NT, Preferred NT and Standard Plus NT and they deem you eligible for APPcelerate, you have the following options:

APPcelerate Program Parameters

Coverage Type Eligibility & Age
OpTerm 10 $100,000 – $500,000, Ages 20-50
OpTerm 15, 20, 25, 30 $100,000 – $1 million, Ages 20-40
$100,000 – $750,000, Ages 41-45
$100,000 – $500,000, Ages 46-50

*APPROVED in All states except Connecticut, Hawaii, and Alaska

Here’s a flow chart of their complete end-to-end process using APPcelerate:

Source

APPcelerate Benefits

  • No-hassle sign-up. There’s no client checklists or pre-screening required.
  • You get the same great OPTerm pricing at no additional policy costs.
  • Provides better client experience. No medical exams, labs or APS required. You’ll waste no time completing all requirements.
  • Speedy process. If you are a qualifying applicant, you can be approved by the next business day, or even faster!
  • Extras in your favor. One inch automatically added to the client’s height to potentially boost the rate class.
  • With eDelivery, policy activation could take place the same day

Banner Life Insurance Riders

Disability premium waiver

  • Banner life will waive all premiums due to total disability if the policyholder can present proof and if such total disability has then existed continuously for at least 6 months.

Conversion to permanent

  • You have the option to convert your OpTerm insurance into Life Step UL

Flexible payment schedule

  • Allows you to pay premiums per your preferred schedule (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual.

Accelerated death benefit rider

  • If the insured is facing a qualifying terminal illness, the death benefit can be paid prior to the insured’s death

Term laddering rider

  • Say you have to pay your mortgage or your kid’s college tuition, you can purchase additional coverage

Children’s rider

  • Your policy can be used to cover your children under 25 years old until you reach 65

Banner Life Underwriting Classifications

Male/Female

  • Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco (PPNT)
  • Preferred Non-Tobacco (PNT)
  • Standard Plus Non-Tobacco (SPNT)
  • Standard Non-Tobacco (SNT)
  • Preferred Tobacco (PT)
  • Standard Tobacco (ST)

Substandard

Per LGA’s website: “Available through Table 12 on standard plus and standard tobacco classes, subject to underwriting discretion. With the exception of cancer cases requiring a flat extra without a table rating, all Banner and William Penn non-tobacco substandard premiums are based on Standard Plus rates. Premiums are increased by 25% per table rating.”

How to sign up for a Banner Term Life insurance

There are only 5 steps needed to get you signed up for a Banner Life term insurance.

  1. Determine how much life insurance you’ll need. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started. Once determined, it’s recommended that you get a free quote so you’ll have a ballpark figure of how much premium you’ll pay for a certain policy amount.
  2. Visit LG America’s website and either fill out their online application form or speak with one of their agents. After initial contact, a follow-up interview will be scheduled at your preferred date and time.
  3. Depending on your health status, you can either complete everything via their APPcelerate program (complete end-to-end solution) or be requested to take a free medical exam in your house or at the nearest medical facility.
  4. If you were approved for APPcelerate, you will be notified of your health class and premiums right away. If not, your information will undergo a review before getting you the confirmation of your health class and premium rate.
  5. Once approved, Banner Life will send you a copy of your policy. In order to activate your life insurance policy, you have to sign and return the document along with your first payment.

How to file a Banner life insurance claim?

If your policy is worth $10,000 or less, they’ll apply their fast-track payment procedure. Simply call Banner Life’s claims department at 1-800-638-8428 for instructions and steps.

Policies worth $10,000 and above, you have to visit LG America’s website here to get detailed instructions as you have several options. A packet of information will be sent to you or the beneficiary who initiated the claim. The information can be sent via email, regular mail, or fax.

Here’s what needed to file for the claim:

  • Completed proof of death claimant’s statement. Each beneficiary will need to complete his or her own.
  • Submit a certified copy of the policyholder’s death certificate. Cause and manner of death should be indicated in the document.
  • The original life insurance policy. Alternately, the claimant should complete a lost policy form first which was included in the packet.

The verdict: Why choose Banner Life?

There are dozens of small and big life insurance companies out there to choose from. Why should you pick Banner Life?

Banner Life does not have the widest selection of insurance products. However, they’ve used it as an advantage to focus and fully develop their services to make it enticing and valuable for its policyholders. Their affordable term insurance, favorable underwriting, and flexible payment options are the top reasons why you should consider Banner.

They use competitive underwriting procedures that include even those who are in less-than-stellar health conditions. People with diabetes, smoking history, and some other health risks are reported to have been successful in getting a decent policy from Banner. Also, they’re among the few insurers out there who offer term life insurance to people up to 95 years old. Most insurers won’t even go beyond age 75.

It’s not easy to get a life insurance with heart issues, and having insurers like Banner who are less stringent with their underwriting in these scenarios is a welcome sight for folks who would otherwise be left with only a guaranteed option (which can get really expensive).

And did you know that Banner Life is the only insurance company to offer MediGuide to its policyholders completely free?

For the unfamiliar, MediGuide is a world-class, remote second opinion service that provides its members with the option to have their diagnosis evaluated by some of the best medical specialists on the planet.

If you were diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and would like to get a second opinion from a doctor, Banner will assist you in connecting with medical centers to handle your request. And again, it’s completely free under Banner.

Their flexible payment options provide more ways to fit your premiums within your monthly budget. Their Short Pay Guarantee feature allows policyholders to cram their payments within a designated time frame.

A short term universal policy can be paid within 10-15 years using this option. This means you’ll get full life protection without necessarily having to pay it while the policy is still in place.  
I hope you found our Banner Life review useful. If you wish to know more about life insurance in general or would like some assistance in getting started, you can speak with one of our licensed agents or get a quick free quote.

Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I like these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

About NextGen Life Insurance
About NextGen Life Insurance

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates. With access to all the top rated life insurance companies, we are always trying to find the lowest rates available. Get your free quote today!

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