Banner Life Insurance Review 2017

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at a glance

  • Offers low term life insurance rates.
  • Offers a limited selection of universal life insurance products, but no whole life insurance.


Banner Life Insurance Co. and its subsidiary William Penn Life Insurance Co. of New York are part of Legal & General Group Plc., headquartered in London. Banner Life is licensed to do business in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia, except New York. William Penn has been the company’s New York branch for 26 years.

A.M. Best financial strength rating: A+ (superior)

Banner’s financial strength is “excellent,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best.

Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims. It’s especially important when choosing a life insurance company because claims might not be made until many decades after a policy is purchased.

Consumer complaints: Better than the median

Banner Life and William Penn drew fewer complaints to state regulators in 2015 than the national median for life insurance companies of similar sizes, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Banner Life’s complaint ratio score for individual life policies was .16, and William Penn’s complaint ratio score was .06 for 2015. The complaint ratio score is the number of complaints adjusted for market share. The national median is 1. Scores lower than 1 mean fewer complaints.

Banner products sold
  • Term life insurance
  • Universal life insurance
  • Banner Life Insurance discounts

    Each life insurance company has its own rules about whether applicants can qualify for coverage and how much they’ll pay for life insurance. Here’s a look at some of Banner Life’s underwriting guidelines:

    • Blood pressure: Nonsmokers with average readings in the past two years of no more than 136/86 qualify for the best rates, called “Preferred Plus.” The cutoff for standard (meaning average) nonsmoking rates is 156/94.
    • DWI (driving while intoxicated): A DWI or reckless driving conviction in the last two years will result in a denial, as will a license suspension or revocation within the same time period. To get the best rates, applicants must not have any of those on their driving records within the last five years.
    • Nicotine: To qualify for the best nonsmoker rates, an applicant must not have used tobacco or nicotine-based products in the last 36 months. For standard rates, the applicant must not have used tobacco or nicotine products the last 12 months. However, an occasional cigar is allowed for nonsmoker rates — no more than one a month — as long the applicant’s lab test is negative for nicotine.
    • Substance abuse: For the best rates, an applicant can have no history of alcohol or drug abuse. For standard rates, there can be no abuse within the last seven years.