Banner Life Insurance Company 2023 Review

By Michael Horbal - Updated on 10/01/2023

Banner Life offers some of the industry’s best term life insurance rates.

Banner Life is worth considering if you want accelerated underwriting and quick turnarounds.

Is Banner Life Insurance a Good Company?

While Banner Life and its New York company, William Penn, may not be household names, don’t let that fool you.

Legal and General America are owned by Legal & General PLC, whose parent company is the world’s 7th largest life insurance company!

Legal and General Group PLC has $570 billion in assets as of 2020.

Compare that to Northwestern Mutual’s $309 billion assets as of 2020.

In the U.S., Banner has over 1.5 million customers and $782 billion in-force life insurance as of 2021.

Banner is great for life insurance rates and their digital process.

Financial Strength

  • AM Best rating = A+
  • S&P rating = AA-
  • Fitch rating = AA-

Ratings as of 01/2021. Subject to change

You’ll see that Banner ranks among the best life insurance companies.

How Easy Is it to Get a Policy with Banner Life?

It’s easy to get life insurance with Banner in most states and William Penn in New York.

The Horizon Experience is Banner’s way of providing an end-to-end digital application experience.

E-applications and e-policies are available for all Banner policies, while accelerated underwriting is available for ages 20-60 for up to $2,000,000.

When you start an application, Banner will check the following:

Banner will waive exams, lab work, and medical records if you qualify for accelerated underwriting.

You may qualify for instant life insurance approval…about 34% of applicants do.

If you meet the Banner’s Lab Lift program criteria, up to $2,000,000 may be available.

If not, your application will be moved to full underwriting, and a paramedical exam will be necessary.

Banner Underwriting Advantages

Underwriting does several things well compared to other companies.

Competitive underwriting advantages include:

* Is not a factor unless family history suggests hereditary cancer syndrome

Underwriting does several things well compared to other companies.

Other companies that use the standard plus rate for high-risk health issues include Corebridge Financial and AIG.

Underwriting rate classes available:

  • Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco
  • Preferred Non-Tobacco
  • Standard Plus Non-Tobacco**
  • Standard Non-Tobacco
  • Preferred Tobacco
  • Standard Tobacco

** Health impairments are based on the standard plus rate. Most other companies use a more expensive “standard” rate for health problems.

Underwriting Criteria by Rate Class

  • Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco Requirements
  • Blood pressure average of 135/85 for the past two years
  • Cholesterol in the 120-300 range
  • Cholesterol Ratio of 4.5 or better
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol medications are okay.
  • Driving Record – No DUIs in the past five years
  • No more than two moving violations in the past three years.
  • No family history of heart disease before age 60.
  • Build – You must meet the build chart requirements.
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (3 years)
  • Tobacco/Nicotine Use – None in the past 36 months.  
  • One cigar per month with negative labs.
  • No substance or alcohol abuse

Underwriting Rate Classes Available:

Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco Rate

  • Blood pressure average of 135/85 for the past two years
  • Cholesterol in the 120-300 range
  • Cholesterol Ratio of 4.5 or better
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol medications are okay.
  • Driving Record – No DUIs in the past five years
  • No more than two moving violations in the past three years.
  • No family history of heart disease before age 60.
  • Build – You must meet the build chart requirements.
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (3 years)
  • Tobacco/Nicotine Use – None in the past 36 months.  
  • One cigar per month with negative labs.
  • No substance or alcohol abuse

Preferred Non-Tobacco Rate

  • Blood pressure average of 140/90 for the past two years
  • Cholesterol in the 120-300 range
  • Cholesterol Ratio of 5.5 or better
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol meds are okay.
  • Driving Record – No DUIs in the past five years
  • No more than two moving violations in the past three years.
  • No cardiovascular death before age 60 for parents.
  • Build – You must meet the build chart requirements.
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (3 years)
  • Tobacco/Nicotine Use – None in the past 24 months.  
  • One cigar per month with negative labs.

Standard Plus Rate Class

  • Blood pressure average of 145/90 for the past two years
  • Cholesterol in the 120-300 range
  • Cholesterol Ratio of 6.5 or better
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol meds are okay.
  • Driving Record – No DUIs in the past three years
  • No more than three moving violations in the past three years.
  • No heart disease death of more than one parent.
  • Build – You must meet the build chart requirements.
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (2 years)
  • Tobacco/Nicotine Use – None in the past 12 months.  
  • One cigar per month with negative labs.

Standard Rate Class

  • Blood pressure avg. of 156/94 for the past two years
  • Cholesterol in the 120-300 range
  • Cholesterol Ratio of 8.0 or better
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol meds are okay.
  • Driving Record – No DUIs in the past two years
  • No more than four moving violations in the past three years.
  • No heart disease death of more than one parent.
  • Build – must meet build chart requirements.
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (2 years)
  • Tobacco/Nicotine Use – None in the past 12 months.  
  • One cigar per month with negative labs.

Get More Program

Once your application is approved, the underwriter will complete a financial underwriting review to determine your eligibility for more coverage.

You’ll be notified that more life insurance is available, and you can decide if you would like to increase your coverage without going through underwriting again.

Credit Program

Underwriting guidelines are strict for the best rate classes.

Most companies do not make exceptions if you barely miss the best rate, but Banner Life does!

If you missed getting a better rate due to blood pressure, build, cholesterol ratio, and family history, Banner has a program for you.

There are seven credit criteria available to help you.

  1. No tobacco use in the past ten years.
  2. Cholesterol ratio of 4.5 or better.
  3. NT Pro BnP under 100 (age 60 or older).
  4. Normal cardiac test within the past two years.
  5. Both parents survived to at least age 75.
  6. Lifestyle – One of the following must be met
    • Regular annual checkups
    • Participate in wellness/exercise program
    • Routine age-based exams – mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy, prostate exam, etc.
  7. Liver function test GGT less than 30.

Meet 3 of the 7 to qualify for a better offer.

Lab Lift Program by Banner Life

Banner recently introduced the Lab Lift Exam Substitution Program.

If you’ve completed a physical with labs in the past 18 months, you may be able to skip the paramed exam.

Eligibility:

  • Ages 20-60
  • Up to $2,000,000 of coverage
  • Available if you’ve had a comprehensive physical with blood work in the past 18 months.
  • EKG requirements are waived for ages 51-60 for $1 – $2 million in coverage.
  • All underwriting rate classes are available, including high-risk cases.

Lab Lift Requirements

Your lab work must be within the past 18 months and include the following:

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
    • Glucose
    • Calcium
    • Electrolytes – sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride
    • Albumin
    • Total protein
    • Liver Enzymes – ALP, ALT, AST, Bilirubin
    • BUN
  • Complete Lipid Panel
    • Total cholesterol
    • Triglyceride
    • HDL cholesterol
    • LDL cholesterol

If you don’t qualify for Lab Lift, a paramed exam will be ordered by underwriting.

If labs are required, Banner Life will test for the following drugs:

  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana (THC)1
  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Fentanyl

1 – If you have a medical marijuana card, let us know before we apply. Otherwise, it causes a problem with underwriting.

Are Banner Life Policies Competitive?

Banner’s term life policies often rank in the top 3 for price.

Term Life Insurance from Banner Life

The OPTerm1 product offers the following:

  • Face amounts start at $100,000.
  • Issue ages from 20 – 75.
  • Term lengths available – 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 year.
  • Conversion is available to universal life insurance.
  • Policy riders available:
    • Accelerated death benefit
    • Children’s rider
    • Waiver of premium
    • Term riders – 10, 15, and 20 years available

If you decide to convert your term life policy, the following is available with Banner Life.

Banner is almost always one of the more competitive term policies available, along with Protective Life and Corebridge Financial.

A company that used to be competitive – Ohio National, rebranded to AuguStar Life…time will tell if they will be competitive again.

Universal Life Insurance from Banner Life

Banner’s universal life insurance policy is called Life Step UL. This policy is only available if you convert your term life insurance policy.

Life Step UL2 is a flexible premium universal life insurance policy that offers the following:

  • Face amounts start at $50,000.
  • Issue ages from 20-85.
  • Policy maturity to age 121
  • Guaranteed interest crediting rate of 2%.
  • You may borrow against the cash value of the policy.
  • Policy loan interest rate is 7.4%
  • 1035 exchanges.
  • Surrender charges last for 14 years.
  • Catch up provision
  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

Company-approved illustrations are available should you consider the Life Step UL policy.

High-Risk Life Insurance with Banner

Banner underwrites many high risk health conditions, such as:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Hepatitis “C”
  • Epilepsy
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Skin Cancer

Banner’s “standard plus” rate when underwriting health issues makes it competitive.

Most other companies use the more expensive “standard” rate to underwrite.

Banner is one of the companies that consider preferred rates for asthma. Transamerica is another company.

Uninsurable Medical Conditions with Banner

There are several medical conditions that Banner will not insure.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms larger than 5.0 cm
  • Alcohol abuse with current use
  • Cirrhosis
  • COPD
  • Diabetes with HbA1c level greater than 10.
  • Organ transplants
  • Suicide attempt within the past two years.

These are just a few conditions that will get you declined with Banner.

Does Banner Provide Good Customer Service?

Banner Life Insurance’s phone number is 800-638-8428

Online access to your life insurance policy is found below

Existing policy owners can register for online access to your policy.

Here’s what you need to do to access Banner Life Insurance login:

  1. Go to Banner’s parent company website – LGAmerica
  2. At the top right, click on “Account”
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on:
    • “First-time user? Register for your account.”
  4. Follow the prompts to register – You’ll need your:
    • Policy Number
    • Date of Birth
    • Social Security Number
  5. Once registered, you can view policy data and request information and changes online.

Banner Life Headquarters is located at:

3275 Bennett Creek Avenue – Frederick, Maryland 21704

Banner Life has been good with its customer service, making policy changes quickly when needed.

Final Thoughts

Banner Life is an excellent company for your term life insurance needs.

With excellent life insurance rates, an easy-to-use digital application process, and competitive underwriting,

Banner Life is worth consideration.

Please request your no-pressure, no-obligation quote today!

Other Companies We Review

Banner Product Disclosures

Legal & General America life insurance products are underwritten and issued by Banner Life Insurance Company, Urbana, MD and William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York, Valley Stream, NY. Banner products are distributed in 49 states and in DC. William Penn products are available exclusively in New York; Banner does not solicit business there. The Legal & General America companies are part of the worldwide Legal & General Group.

1 – OPTerm policy form # ICC18-OPTC and state variations. In New York, OPTerm policy form # OPTN-NY.

2 – Policy form # ICC12 UL13 and state variations. Life Step UL is a flexible premium universal life insurance plan. This product offers a coverage guarantee to maturity at age 121 if the appropriate premium according to policy terms is paid on time. The policy will not lapse if the coverage guarantee requirement is met. A policy loan however, that exceeds the cash surrender value will result in a lapse of coverage. Signed illustrations are required for Life Step UL.

Policy form # UL13S-NY. Life Step UL is a flexible premium universal life insurance plan. This product offers a coverage guarantee to maturity at age 121 if the appropriate premium according to policy terms is paid on time. The policy will not lapse if the coverage guarantee requirement is met. A policy loan however, that exceeds the cash surrender value will result in a lapse of coverage. Signed illustrations are required for Life Step UL.

Two-year contestability and suicide provisions apply. Policy descriptions provided here are not a statement of contract. Please refer to the policy forms for full disclosure of all benefits and limitations.

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