Banner Life Insurance Review [Updated for 2020]

Written by: Steven Gibbs | Last Updated on: June 5, 2024
Fact Checked by Jason Herring and Barry Brooksby (licensed insurance experts)

Insurance and Estates, a strategic life insurance provider composed of life insurance professionals, is committed to integrity in our editorial standards and transparency in how we receive compensation from our insurance partners.

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Banner Life Insurance is one of the best life insurance companies, and a fantastic solution for anybody looking for term and universal life insurance coverage.

With Banner life insurance company, you get some of the best term life insurance rates, particular on coverage for those with certain medical conditions (when acceptance is normally difficult to find!).

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves but instead start with the basics. In this Banner Life Insurance review, we’re going to look at everything you need to know from the company’s history to the life insurance policies they offer.

Table of Contents

About Banner Life

Legal & General America Group
3275 Bennett Creek Avenue
Frederick MD 21704
Phone: 301-279-4800

With a history spanning over 180 years, it’s fair to say Banner Life Insurance has extensive experience in all things relating to insurance. After six lawyers in London decided to meet for coffee, they discussed insurance and eventually formed Legal and General Life Assurance Society.

Today, that day in 1836 still paves the way for the company and their headquarters remains in London. Despite this, their success has allowed them to expand beyond the shores of the UK which is why we can benefit from their fantastic policies.

Legal & General America was founded in 1981, and they quickly acquired Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO). Two years later, GELICO became Banner Life Insurance and this is the particular company we’re interested in today.

Over the years, much has changed including the 1989 purchase (by Banner) of William Penn.

Ethos Life: 

Banner also underwrites the term policies issued by online broker Ethos Life.

Ethos specializes in selling no exam term life insurance to young, healthy insureds.  Ethos-issued Banner policies are available with coverage levels starting at $100,000 and going up to $1.5 million.  Initial terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years are available, though longer term-lengths aren’t available for applicants on the higher end of the age range.

Ethos policies can be renewed annually through age 95, subject to premium increases upon renewal.

Ethos-issued policies are administered by Ethos itself (not Banner), so policyholders and beneficiaries predominately work with Ethos (not Banner).  Ultimately, though, Ethos policies are backed by the financial weight of Banner Life and L&G America.

Banner Life Insurance Ratings

Before we launch into discussion about Banner’s products and services, we should first assess their financial and industry ratings.

Remember, life insurance is a big decision not only in money but in time.

Therefore, we need to ensure that our potential carriers have the security to last a number of years within the industry. If they’re in a poor financial position, how could we possibly trust them with our money?

The good news is that Banner Life’s parent company Legal & General is one of the highest rated life insurance companies in the U.S.

Banner Life Insurance ratings current as of September 2020:

  • A.M. Best rating – A+ (Superior)
  • Standard & Poor’s rating – AA- (Very Strong)
  • Fitch Rating’s rating– AA- (Very Strong)
  • COMDEX ranking – 94

Legal & General is extremely well capitalized, has over $5 billion in assets in American operated companies, $703 billion of in force coverage, 1.3 million US customers, with over 10 million worldwide customers and more than $1.3 trillion in managed assets worldwide. (1)

Banner Life’s Products and Services

We’ll go into the available life insurance policies in detail, but first let’s talk about another product provided by Banner Life Insurance.

Retirement Annuity

Banner offer a retirement annuity designed for those planning the years after work. After investing during the working years, the annuity will spring into action at retirement and provide a steady income.

There are a number of different types when it comes to retirement annuities depending on one’s needs; for example,

  • Life Annuity
  • Period Certain Annuity,
  • Temporary Life Annuity, and
  • Joint & Survivor Annuity.

In terms of products, this is the only other option away from life insurance. This being said, they do have a ‘Learning Center’ which provides all sorts of useful guides and resources for individuals, businesses, and families.

Banner Life Insurance Policies

Now, we have the main feature of this Banner Life Insurance review. What different types of  life insurance policies will you find with this provider? Will they match your needs or should you be looking elsewhere?

Term Life Insurance

Firstly, what about those who want a temporary form of coverage? Well, Banner has just introduced OP Term 35 and 40.

Traditionally, the maximum term for term life insurance has been 30 years. For anything larger than this, customers would have to go for a type of permanent insurance.

However, with OPTerm 35 and 40, the policy will be available for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 years.

According to Banner, the introduction of this policy is a reflection of the increased living age for all Americans.

As well as the population growing older, we’re also working for longer and keeping debt until an older age, pointing to the need for life insurance for a much longer period of time. (Perhaps that is why you should consider whole life insurance?)

OPTerm 35

This extended policy is available for anybody between 20 and 50 years of age (for the non-tobacco class); this reduces to 45 years as the maximum age for tobacco classes. I

n terms of coverage, there are four bands available; band 1 (between $100,000 and $249,999), band 2 ($250,000 and $499,999), band 3 ($500,000 and $999,999), and band 4 ($1,000,000 and over). Premiums will remain level for the first period of 35 years, but will increase for every year the policy remains active thereafter.

OPTerm 40

If you want the policy for 40 years, non-tobacco classes are available between 20-45 years of age; tobacco classes have a maximum age of 40 years.

The coverage can be renewed annually after the initial term and will finally expire at age 95, the bands are the same, and premiums will remain level for the full 40 years.

Various riders can also be added to the policy including Waiver of Premium, Term Riders, Children’s Rider, and Accelerated Death Benefit.

One benefit of Banner Life is the company has competitive life insurance premiums, and research suggests they can be much more affordable than competitors. This is particularly true for diabetics and smokers, where rates will be often be much lower compared to other companies.


Banner Life offers an APPcelerate program which, after passing a health interview, can have the policy issued within one business day.

The Appcelerate program allows you to get approved for life insurance without having to go through the ordinary life insurance underwriting. For many people this is a huge benefit as it means avoiding a life insurance blood test.

Universal Life Insurance

Banner Life offers permanent life insurance in the form of universal life. One of the primary differences between whole life vs universal life is that you with universal life you have more flexibility with payments and you can change the death benefit.

Banner Life universal life insurance comes in two variations here; Life Step UL and Life Choice UL.

Life Step UL

With a minimum coverage of $50,000 and a guaranteed cash value increase of 2%, this policy matures at 121 years of age and will remain in place so long as premiums are paid when expected. As long as you’re between 20 and 85, the policy can be opened and the policyholder will have the ability to adjust the death benefit (as long as it doesn’t drop below $50,000).

Life Choice UL

For Life Choice UL, the minimum coverage amount is $100,000 and the interest rate for the cash value is higher at 3%. Once again, the death benefit can be adjusted (not below $100,000) and the same issue ages apply.

For both universal life insurance policies, they can be converted to a term life policy within the first five years and this is a great option to have. If your financial plans change a couple of years after the policy is opened, perhaps a long-term expense is set to end sooner than expected, the policy can be converted to a term life policy.

In addition, similar to limited pay whole life insurance, you can design the universal life insurance policy for shorter payment periods, so that you can have the death benefit protection throughout your life but without having to make additional payments once the terms have been met.

Final Expense Insurance

As the third insurance policy in this Banner Life Insurance review, we have final expense insurance and a policy that requires absolutely no medical examination.

The guaranteed whole life insurance policy is guaranteed for life, policyholders will only pay until 95, and the premiums will always remain the same (despite any heath changes!).

For anybody between 50 and 80 years of age in states where available, there’s no chance of rejection based on your health and approved claims can be paid within just one business day.

The policy includes a 2 year graded death benefit, which will only pay out the full face amount in the first two years for an accidental death. After two years the policy will pay out the full death benefit amount for all causes of death.

Over time, a cash value component will also build; policyholders can borrow against this if required later in the policy’s life.

Available Life Insurance Riders

Accelerated Death Benefit:

With this living benefit rider attached, those who experience a terminal illness may be able to access a percentage of the death benefit early. As hospital bills and medical expenses increase, as well as reduced income from not being able to work, Banner Life allows the lesser of $500,000 or 75% (of the policy value) to be awarded.

Waiver of Premium:

After a total disability of over six months, the Waiver of Premium rider will prevent the policyholder from having to pay premiums. For Banner to accept the disability, it must occur before the age of 65.

Child Rider:

The third optional rider allows life insurance for children. The benefit of a child rider is the coverage is good for all children under the required age for one set price.


There’s everything you need to know about this insurance provider all in one Banner Life Insurance review. There are plenty of opportunities to tailor the policies to your needs, but you may need to look elsewhere if you want whole life insurance since this isn’t an option.

If any of the policies above look like they’d suit your needs, you’ll be supported by a huge company that has a strong financial footing not only in the US but in the UK and many other countries!

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