8.2 / 10

Banner Life Insurance Review

Competitively priced premiums and first-rate customer experience make Banner a top contender amongst life insurance carriers.

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Published November 27, 2019

Methodology
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Banner life insurance

OVERALL

8.2

THE GOOD

    Best premium rates for most health conditions

    Consideration for people who have filed for bankruptcy

    Individuals who receive a smoker class can have their rates reconsidered after one year of the policy

THE BAD

    Worst policy option for marijuana users and women who are pregnant

    Underwriting process for reconsideration is paid for by the applicant

THE BOTTOM LINE

Banner is a highly recommended carrier that has some of the most competitive life insurance rates, even for people with a history of medical conditions or tobacco use.

Banner Life is number 2 on Policygenius' list of the best life insurance companies, based on cost, financial confidence, third-party customer ratings, life insurance policy options, and ease of application.

Cost

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8.3

Confidence

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9.3

Customer Ratings

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8.0

Policy Options

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8.3

Customer Experience

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7.0

BANNER COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

N/A

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J.D. Power Rating

A trusted customer satisfaction and product quality research agency

A+

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BBB Rating

A nonprofit organization focusing on marketplace trust and product quality

A++

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A.M. Best

100-year-old U.S. credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry

The Details


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The Good

Best premium rates for most health conditions. For most carriers, medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure mean higher rates. Banner classifies the same conditions as good, or even excellent, and offers some of the most affordable rates for people with a medical history.

Consideration for people who have filed for bankruptcy. Banner is one of the best life insurance companies for people who have filed for bankruptcy, as long as it has been at least 12 months since the bankruptcy has been discharged. When applying for a policy, individuals will need to supply a court-ordered repayment plan, documentation that payments have been made for the past two years, and proof that they qualify for the amount they are applying for.

Individuals who receive a smoker class can have their rates reconsidered after one year of the policy. People who use tobacco notoriously receive costly life insurance rates, which adds up when you consider that a policy can last 20-30 years. Smokers who quit or plan to quit can have their rates reconsidered after the policy is in force for one year, which can drastically reduce the cost of premiums.

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The Bad

Worst policy option for marijuana users and women who are pregnant. Individuals who fall into these categories receive higher premiums than what is offered by other life insurance carriers.

Underwriting process for reconsideration is paid for by the applicant. While Banner offers great reconsideration benefits for anyone who thinks their health might improve or their smoking status might change, the underwriting process and medical exam are paid for by the individual and not by the insurance carrier.

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The Breakdown

Cost

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8.3

Cost is one of the most influential factors when choosing a life insurance policy. You’ll likely choose a company based on which one offers the most budget-friendly policy.

Banner has some of the most competitive life insurance rates on the market, even for individuals who aren’t in optimal health. The quotes below are monthly premiums for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for a healthy, non-smoking male, in California.

AGEBANNER AVERAGEINDUSTRY AVERAGE
20s25.09$28.02
30s28.58$32.06
40s56.51$60.97
50s139.17$152.00
60s476.87$504.29

Medical history largely impacts what types of rates applicants will need to pay on their premiums. Each life insurance company weighs medical conditions differently, so understanding how your own medical history might be classified can help you choose a carrier that will give you lower rates.

Applicants with health conditions that would usually receive lower health classifications with another carrier may find that they can get better life insurance rates with Banner. Here’s how Banner life classifies common health conditions:

HEALTH CONDITIONPRICING
Survivor/Family HistoryExcellent
Recent Weight LossGood
Heart AttackGood
DiabetesGood
Sleep ApneaExcellent
Former Tobacco UseGood
High Blood PressureGood
High CholesterolGood
  • Excellent - Above average; company provides excellent coverage for clients with this condition.
  • Good - Spot on; company doesn’t look at this condition unfavorably in underwriting.
  • Fair - Could use some work; clients with this condition may be issued a lower health rating and subsequently higher rates than other insurers.

Confidence

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9.3

Working with a life insurance company you can trust is monumental — you’re purchasing a policy that manages your finances and provides a safety net for your family in the event of your death.

Here’s how Banner ranks across top financial rating companies:

  • Number of policyholders: 1,700,000
  • Year founded: 1949
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA
  • Moody's: N/A
  • A.M. Best: A+ (Superior)

Banner has insured over a million people and has superior ratings from the top financial rating companies S&P and A.M. As a trustworthy carrier, you can rely on Banner to be on your side. A score of N/A simply means that Banner hasn’t been rated yet.

Highest ratings from each firm are:

  • Standard & Poor’s: AAA
  • Moody’s: Aaa
  • A.M. Best: A++

Customer Ratings

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8.0

High reviews from the top financial rating companies are great, but they don’t account for the customer experience — so what are actual people saying? People insured by Banner have minimal complaints. While data isn’t available for every consumer index, Banner ranks above average in the level of satisfaction from its customers.

Here’s how people feel about Banner:

  • J.D. Power: N/A
  • BBB: A+
  • Consumer Affairs: N/A
  • Consumers Advocate: N/A
  • NAIC complaint index: .31

What do these ratings mean, exactly?

J.D. Power rates insurance companies based on their product offerings, price, clarity of statements, interaction, communication, and application process. The overall satisfaction score is “based on how individual life insurance clients rate their overall experience with the provider" and determines the final score that we show here. Banner hasn’t received a score here because J.D. Power has not rated them yet.

The Better Business Bureau ranking is based on tangential metrics that account for the customer experience.

Consumer Affairs is a platform for consumers to rate products and services, with ratings based on stability, reputation, and policy coverage. Banner hasn’t received a Consumer Affairs score because it hasn’t been rated yet.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments with their national complain index. A score of 1 is the baseline average, and a score of 0 means there weren't enough complaints to receive a rating. Banner’s score of .31 is pretty good considering they insure over 1,000,000 people. They’ve had some complaints, but they’re still above average in terms of industry standards.

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Policy Options

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8.3

Term life insurance

Term life insurance policies provide a death benefit for a set number of years that is determined before the policy begins. Unlike permanent life insurance, it has no cash value — which makes it the most cost-effective option for most applicants.

OPTerm

Banner’s OPTerm life insurance policy is a term policy that can be in force anywhere from 10 to 40 years, the largest range compared to other life insurance carriers. You pay a level premium, which means that the cost of your premiums remains the same throughout the term. OPTerm policies offer some of the most competitive rates for various health conditions when compared to other life insurance carriers on the market.

Key Details
Annual payment discount3%
Payment methods availableCheck, bank draft, and credit card for first premium payment only
Temporary coverageYes, up to $1,000,000 in temporary coverage available for term policies of $1,000,000 or less

Policy conversion If the policy is issued before you turn 66, it is convertible to a whole life insurance policy up until the end of the policy term or when you turn 70, whichever is sooner. If the policy is issued after age 66, it is only convertible during the first five years that the policy is in force.

Available riders You can add riders to your life insurance policy to build robust coverage beyond just a death benefit. Banner has the following available riders that can be added to your policy at an additional cost:

Child protection rider — Provides death benefit protection of $5,000 or $10,000 for all children up until their 25th birthday. The child protection rider is unavailable in New York.

Disability income rider — If you become totally disabled, you can maintain your life insurance policy without paying the premiums after a 6 month waiting period. The rider expires after the age of 65.

Accelerated death benefit rider — If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can withdraw up to 75% of your life insurance policy with a maximum of $500,000.

Temporary life insurance coverage

Banner offers up to $1,000,000 in temporary life insurance coverage — but only on policies of $1,000,000 or less. Additionally, applicants who have had certain medical conditions in the past five years or are above the age of 70 won’t be eligible for temporary coverage.

Medical conditions that would make an applicant ineligible for temporary coverage are: history of heart disease, stroke, cancer, alcohol or drug dependence, or diabetes within the past five years.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that lasts your entire life. Because the term never expires, its premium payments are 6 to 10 times costlier than term life insurance policies. Term life insurance is a better option for most people, but there are particular circumstances where whole life insurance can be beneficial.

Guaranteed issue

Banner’s whole life option is guaranteed issue and offers up to $15,000 in coverage for applicants between the ages of 50 and 80. A guaranteed issue policy means that there is no medical exam and your life insurance application won’t be rejected due to your health or medical history. Tobacco users find the best possible rates with a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

Note: The information above represents potential policy options and may not be available for every applicant. Speak to a licensed expert for a personalized look at your coverage options.

Customer Experience

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7.0

Application process

State availability

Banner’s OPTerm policy is offered in every state. In New York, their policies are offered under the provider William Penn.

Application length

Banner has a fairly simple and straightforward application process that includes the following steps:

  • Phone interview
  • Paramedical exam

During your phone interview, you’ll be asked to provide some information about yourself:

  • Driver’s license information
  • Social security number
  • Contact information for doctors you’ve seen in the past 10 years
  • Details of any prescriptions you are taking or procedures you have had
  • Your financial history
  • Information about any life insurance policies you have previously held

The phone interview and medical exam will then be reviewed by the underwriter to determine your policy.

Turn around time

Across the board, applications for a life insurance policy with Banner take the lowest amount of time to reach an application decision and deliver the policy. Banner usually makes an application decision in about half the time that it takes most life insurance carriers.

Change method

What happens if you need to make changes to your policy? Most changes can be made online.

  • Online: Benefits, payment info, or address
  • Phone: N/A
  • Mail: Policy cancellation (with notarized forms)

Payment methods

Monthly premium payments are made by bank draft. Individuals who opt to pay their premiums semi-annually or quarterly can also pay by check. A credit card can be used for the first payment only.

Policy delivery

Banner delivers policy details by email.

Claims documentation

If you pass away, your beneficiaries will need to submit the following information to receive the death benefit:

  • Death certificate that specifies cause and manner of death
  • Original policy details (if the policy is not available, a lost policy form needs to be completed)
  • Claims statement packet

If the policy coverage is $10,000 or less, your beneficiaries may be eligible for Banner’s fast track claims process. The claims department will walk them through the necessary steps to expedite the process.

Policygenius offers insurance policies from many of the nation's top insurers, who pay us a commission for our services. However, all editorial choices are made independently.