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Legal & General America (formerly Banner) life insurance review 2019

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This top market leader excels at low-cost protection — even if you’ve had medical issues.

Get a quote if…

  • You want the option to convert your term policy to a permanent policy.

Pick something else if…

  • You are in poor health.

20 to 75

Issue Age

$100,000 to $10,000,000

Coverage Amount

Depends on policy

Medical Exam Required


Free QuoteOnline, Phone
Insurance ProductsTerm, Universal, Final Expense
Issue Age20 to 75
Coverage Amount$100,000 to $10,000,000
Term Lengths10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
CostAs low as $8 per month*
Medical Exam RequiredDepends on policy
Ways To File A ClaimOnline, Phone, Mail
Ratings, Accreditation and MembershipsA.M. Best: A+, Standard & Poor's: AA-, Fitch Ratings: AA-
Customer Service OptionsPhone, online
Policy Riders OfferedYes
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What types of life insurance coverage does Banner Life offer?

Banner offers term life and universal life insurance under the brand names OPTerm and Step Up.

Nonsmokers in good health can choose from terms of 10 to 30 years in five-year increments. Applicants older than 75 can’t buy Banner policies with terms above 15 years. That cutoff falls as terms lengthen, with 30-year policies available to applicants ages 20 to 51 only.

The company’s Life Step universal policy also lets an insured choose a level premium option that guarantees lifetime coverage regardless of future economic conditions. And a Life Step policyholder can elect to prepay premiums to provide lifetime coverage with no further payments.

OPTerm term life coverage. Banner Life advertises that a 20-year-old woman in good health can obtain a 10-year OPTerm policy with a benefit value of $100,000 for as little as $7 a month. OPTerm coverage can range to as high as $1 million or more.Term life policies from the company can be renewed up to age 95 at a higher rate, but the insured’s underwriting classification won’t change — even if you experience a significant change in your health during the policy period. For many term life carriers, renewal options can phase out as early as age 65.

  • Policies of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
  • Rates as low as $7 a month for $100,000 in benefits
  • Renewable up to age 95
  • Receptive to higher-risk applicants, such as those with diabetes

Step Up universal life. Banner offers to convert term policies to universal life coverage, which builds up a cash value as long as you pay your premiums. You can draw on the cash-value balance to pay premiums.You can also borrow amounts up to the cash value from Banner at a 7.4% interest rate. But annual interest must be prepaid at the start of each year the loan is outstanding.

  • Convertible from term life policies up to age 70
  • Prepay to eliminate future payments while retaining coverage
  • Permanent coverage with flexible terms and payment options
  • Builds cash value that you can use to pay premiums

What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?

In general, standard life insurance policies won’t cover all of the contingencies of life, like life-altering disabilities or children who need a bit more time moving out on their own.

To supplement your policy’s coverage, Banner Life offers a variety of riders that include:

  • Disability premium waiver. Policies with this benefit remain in force without payment if you’re fully disabled for at least six months.
  • Conversion to permanent. Convert your term policy to universal insurance that covers your entire life.
  • Flexible payment schedule. Pay your premiums monthly, quarterly, twice yearly or annually. Or pay lifetime universal coverage over a set period to, for instance, satisfy all premiums necessary before retiring.
  • Accelerated benefit rider. Collect the lower of $500,000 or 75% of your policy’s value in benefits if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Term laddering rider. Purchase additional coverage for specified needs that arise within the underlying policy period, such as a mortgage or college tuition.
  • Children’s rider. Until you’re 65, use your policy to cover children under 25 years old.

The company also charges an annual $60 policy fee as part of its premium.

How much does Banner Life insurance cost?

Below are the monthly premiums for a $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy from Banner Life for an individual in good health. Rates are provided by Quotacy and are valid in all states except New York and Montana.

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How do I get a low rate?

While there are many term life carriers that will provide coverage without requiring a medical exam, Banner may require a full health evaluation when underwriting your policy.

And like other providers, Banner Life rewards excellent health and habits with lower rates using tiered categories it calls “standard plus,” “preferred” and “preferred plus.”

To get the best rates, you’ll need to meet specific guidelines around your:

  • History of tobacco use. Better rates go to applicants who haven’t smoked in the past three years, two years and 12 months, depending on the tier.
  • Alcohol and substance use. The best rates go to those with no history of abuse, with more lenient years-based requirements for standard plus and preferred tiers.
  • Residency. You must be a U.S. resident or permanent citizen for the past two to three years, depending on the tier.
  • Personal health. Your personal history should be free of specified diseases and impairments.
  • Family health. Requires no cardiovascular disease or cancer in parents or siblings before age 60.
  • Driving record. Your history should be free of DWIs, DUIs, suspensions and other convictions in the past five years with no more than two moving violations in the past three years.
  • Blood pressure. Requirements range from numbers that are no higher than 152/92 to 136/86 in the past two years, depending on the tier.
  • Occupation or hobbies. Pilots and high-risk careers may require an exclusion rider.

If you pay your policy upfront annually, you may qualify for an additional 5% off your premiums.

Pros and cons of Banner Life


  • Accepts most applicants. Competitive underwriting includes those with diabetes, a history of smoking and other health risks.
  • Flexible payment options. Adjust your payments to better fit your household budget.
  • Many years in the business. Offers superior financial strength and a history of stability.
  • Fast-track claims. Priority payment for benefits of up to $10,000.


  • Medical exam required. Most policies require a full health work-up.
  • Strict eligibility for preferred rates. The best rates go to those with nearly perfect health and habits.
  • Annual fee. You’ll pay a $60 policy fee each year as part of your premium.

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Get a term life quote from eCoverage - starting at as low as $15 per month.

Compare up to 4 providers

Banner earns a superior A+ rating for financial strength from A.M. Best and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.

Customer reviews on BBB are generally negative, citing problems with service and claims. But a good sign is that nearly all reviews are directly addressed by a Banner Life representative, indicating care with support.

How does Banner protect my data?

Banner collects your personal information in order to offer you products and services and to provide customer service.

In an effort to safeguard your data, Banner uses SSL encryption, and takes precautions to protect information stored on its computer networks.

How do I sign up?

You can’t sign up for life insurance online with Banner; you’ll need to work with an insurance agent. To do so, you can use Banner’s Find An Agent tool, or call Banner directly at 888-984-3393 to speak with a licensed agent.

I’ve signed up. What happens next?

If you’re approved, Banner will send you a copy of your policy. Once you sign and return it with your first payment, your coverage is activated.

More about Banner Life

A unit of London-based Legal & General, Banner, with its William Penn subsidiary in New York, operates as part of Legal & General America and offers coverage throughout the US.

It provides the stability of a history that stretches back over 180 years and the market strength of commanding over $1.1 trillion in assets under management and some 10 million customers worldwide. A.M. Best ranks it the world’s seventh-largest insurer.

Banner has a reputation for being among the most aggressive term life providers, meaning it will take on risks by covering people other insurers might turn away. And it is known to be among the most competitive on pricing, particularly for high-risk applicants such as those with diabetes.

How do I file a life insurance claim with Banner Life?

For benefits of $10,000 or less, Banner applies a fast-track process that can accelerate payments. Call Banner’s claims department to start the process.

For all other claims, you can start the process online through Banner Life’s parent site, Legal & General America.

Complete the type of claim, your personal information and details on the insured or decedent. Indicate where Banner should send your claims package, and submit your claim.

After your claim is received, Banner reviews its records to verify that your policy is in force. Your indicated recipient will receive all forms necessary to complete the claim.

What information will I need to submit a claim?

In most cases, you’ll need to provide:

  • Proof of Death claimant’s statement
  • A certified copy of the policyholder’s death certificate

Additional requirements apply to claims made by beneficiaries who are minors, for estates or trusts and in situations where the primary beneficiary died outside the US or Canada.

Like many life insurers, Banner’s policies include a two-year contestability phase at the outset of a term policy under which it can conduct a deeper investigation into a claim presented during this period.

Bottom line

When you’re deciding on term, whole and universal life insurance, the financially sound Banner Life is a strong contender for competitive rates, comprehensive plans and more lenient eligibility than you might find elsewhere. But as with any big life decision, be sure to weigh your options to find the right product for you.

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