Bankers Life Insurance Review 2023

Katia Iervasi
By Katia Iervasi 
Edited by Erica Corbin

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Bankers Life Insurance Company

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: This longtime insurer has a wide range of policies and riders. But you can’t apply online, and customers have filed a high number of complaints.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far more than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Bankers Life Insurance Company

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: This longtime insurer has a wide range of policies and riders. But you can’t apply online, and customers have filed a high number of complaints.

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far more than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent

In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Policies offered. There are many types of life insurance on the market, and they fall into three key categories:

  • Term life insurance offers temporary coverage and a guaranteed payout if the policyholder dies during the term.

  • Permanent life insurance typically lasts a lifetime and builds cash value that can be borrowed against in the future.

  • No-exam life insurance issues coverage without the need for a medical exam.

Financial strength. We use AM Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. For life insurance, NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Exceptional: A+, A++.

  • Strong: A-, A.

  • Moderate: B, B+.

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best life insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Buy online. This indicates whether an insurer allows you to apply for and buy a policy completely online.

Founded in 1879, Bankers Life offers a solid lineup of term and permanent policies, plus riders to help you customize coverage. The insurer has a network of agents in more than 230 branches across the country, and you’ll need to speak to an agent to apply for a policy.

While Bankers Life caters to a range of needs with its coverage, it has a high customer complaint ratio with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure the content on our site is accurate and fair so you can make financial decisions with confidence and choose the products that work best for you. Here is a list of our partners, and here’s how we make money.

Bankers Life insurance

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Bankers Life earned 3 out of 5 stars for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Bankers Life insurance policies

Bankers Life offers a mix of term and permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance. Open to people ages 20 to 75, ReliaTerm lasts 5, 10 or 20 years. You can buy a term life insurance policy worth $25,000 and up. If you want to convert your coverage to a permanent policy, you can do that during the first five years or until you’re 70 years old, whichever comes later.

Whole life insurance. Bankers Life has five whole life insurance products:

  • BasicLife. This policy is open to people ages 17 to 85. Depending on your age, you can buy as little as $2,500 in coverage. The death benefit stays level throughout the length of the policy so long as premiums are paid.

  • BasicLife Graded. If you’re 50 to 85 years old, you can get coverage as low as $2,500 with this policy as well. Like BasicLife, there is a death benefit, but it is graded, meaning it starts out lower and increases over the first two years until it reaches the full amount. Therefore, your beneficiaries won’t receive the full payout if you die within the first two years of taking out the policy.

  • InnovativeLife SP 1 and InnovativeLife SP 2. Available to people up to age 85, these policies require you to pay off your coverage upfront. They’re designed to help you maximize your life insurance cash value.

  • SecureView. For people ages 17 to 75, the SecureView policy offers steady premiums and as low as $30,000 in coverage. If you want to pay off your policy sooner, you can opt for a 10- or 20-year payment period.

Universal life insurance. Bankers Life offers two universal life insurance policies, both of which offer flexible premiums and death benefits. TurningPoint Fixed-Interest Universal Life builds cash value at a minimum interest rate of 3%, while Clearvantage Indexed Universal Life is tied to the growth of the S&P 500 with a guaranteed minimum interest rate of 1%. The policies are available to applicants 0 to 85 years old, with coverage amounts beginning at $30,000.

Child whole life insurance. LifeStart offers a minimum $10,000 of coverage for a child 0 to 16 years old at the time of purchase. The premiums stay the same, and the policy builds cash value over time. Once the child reaches the “age of majority,” which is 18 in most states, you can transfer ownership of the policy to him or her.

Depending on your policy, you may be able to customize your coverage with these add-ons:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, an accelerated death benefit allows you to tap part of your policy’s death benefit while you’re still alive.

  • Accidental death benefit rider. Pays an additional sum to your life insurance beneficiaries if you die within 90 to 180 days of being in a covered accident.

  • Additional insured level term rider. Provides coverage for an additional person, such as a spouse.

  • Children’s term insurance rider. Adds additional coverage for your child.

  • Disability income rider. Pays extra benefits if you become disabled.

  • Guaranteed insurability benefit. This rider is available on Bankers Life's juvenile policy. It lets you buy more coverage for your child’s whole life insurance policy, regardless of the child’s health.

  • Payor benefit. Available on Bankers Life's juvenile policies, this rider waives premiums on your child’s policy if you become disabled or die.

  • Reinstatement without evidence of insurability. Reactivates your coverage if you let your policy lapse while suffering a cognitive impairment. You won’t need to take another medical exam, but you must ask for reinstatement within 90 days of your policy lapsing.

  • Waiver of premium rider. Pauses your premiums for a specified period of time if you become disabled or unemployed.

Bankers Life customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, Bankers Life’s customers filed far more than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

More about Bankers Life

In addition to life insurance, Bankers Life offers annuities and these other types of insurance:

  • Long-term care insurance. Helps pay for a nursing home, assisted living facility or at-home care if you’re chronically ill.

  • Critical illness insurance. Helps cover health expenses if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness, such as cancer, or need to undergo a surgery such as amputation or a transplant.

  • Hospital indemnity insurance. Kicks in if you’re hospitalized due to a covered accidental injury or illness.

  • Medicare supplement insurance. Also known as Medigap, these plans supplement out-of-pocket costs Medicare won’t cover.

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Life insurance buying guide

Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.

When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.

Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.

For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.

Life insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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