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Banner Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: Banner and William Penn offer a wide range of policies and riders, but the minimum term policy amounts may be higher than some consumers want.
June 1, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.


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  • Earned 4 stars out of 5 for overall performance.
  • Offers a wide range of term lengths for term life insurance.
  • Fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.

Banner Life Insurance and its sister brand, William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York, 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.

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.

Based on these ratings, Banner is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2021.

Banner Life insurance pros and cons

Fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.Depending on the state, some life insurance riders may not be available.
Wide range of lengths for term life insurance, including terms up to 40 years.
Term and universal life policies include accelerated death benefits.

Banner Life Insurance coverage policies

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. Coverage amounts range from $100,000 to $10 million.

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.
  • Waiver of premium rider, which allows you to skip premium payments if you’ve dealt with “a serious long-term illness or injury, and [became] totally disabled” 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.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Customer complaints for Banner Life

Both Banner life insurance and William Penn life insurance 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 about Banner Life

The Legal & General website offers the ability to get a Banner or William Penn term life insurance quote. You can purchase a universal life policy by contacting an agent, who can be found through the website’s agent locator.

The website also has an online portal to pay your bill, manage a policy and file a claim, and features educational content on how life insurance works.

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.

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims, and complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance. 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.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. 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.

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