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Banner Life Insurance Review 2020

June 12, 2020
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at a glance

  • Sells life insurance under the Legal & General America brand.
  • Offers a wide range of term lengths for term life insurance.
  • Offers universal life and guaranteed-acceptance whole life.
Shopping for life insurance during the pandemic? Be aware that insurers may have changed their products and policy applications. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Banner Life Insurance and its sister brand, William Penn, are both owned by Legal & General America. Banner is licensed to do business in the District of Columbia and every U.S. state except New York. William Penn has been the company’s New York branch since 1989. Life insurance issued by both companies is sold under the Legal & General brand.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Banner life insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Banner earned 4 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best.

Based on these ratings, Banner is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020.

Banner Life Insurance coverage options

Term life: Both Banner and William Penn offer terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years for term life insurance. Outside of New York, Banner also offers 35- and 40-year terms. The annual price stays the same throughout the term. People as old as 75 can buy a policy, with shorter terms for older buyers. Term policies are convertible — you can turn them into a permanent policy — until your 70th birthday.

Term policies include accelerated death benefits, which allow you to access up to 75% of the policy’s death benefit or $500,000, whichever is less, if you’re terminally ill. This may not be available in all states.

You can also add optional features, called life insurance riders, to your term policy for an extra charge. Banner and William Penn offer:

  • Children’s term rider (not available in New York), which covers all your children until they turn 25. There are options for $5,000 or $10,000 of coverage.
  • Waiver of premium rider, which allows you to skip premium payments if you’ve been totally disabled — meaning you’re unable to do just about anything — for at least six months.
  • Stacking term rider, which gives you more coverage for a period of time. For example, you could buy a 25-year term policy with a 10-year term rider, giving you a higher total death benefit in the first 10 years of coverage while your mortgage is being paid off.

Universal life: Banner and William Penn’s universal life insurance policies give the choice of paying the same price every year or paying more upfront for a certain number of years. The “short-pay” option lets the policy owner complete payments early and still have lifetime coverage.

Coverage is issued up to age 85 and stays in effect until age 121. Death benefits have a minimum of $50,000, and on-time payments guarantee a death benefit payout, even if the value of your account falls below the amount required to cover your costs.

Whole life: Banner Life Insurance offers guaranteed-acceptance whole life insurance policies of up to $15,000 for people ages 50 to 80.

Banner Life Insurance consumer complaints

Both Banner and William Penn drew fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for companies of their size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the NAIC and A.M. Best 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.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. 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. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.