A Policy Owner’s Review of Banner Life Insurance

Banner Life InsuranceIf you want an honest review of Banner Life Insurance, don’t ask an agent.

You want to know what a Banner Life customer has to say, right?

Here’s the twist… I’m both an agent and a Banner policy holder, making me the perfect person to write a Banner Life Insurance Review.

Special Insight from an Agent and Policyholder

One of the first things to understand is to clearly understand that not all life insurance companies are equal. Some are most definitely better than others.

Some insurance companies are way more lenient in not only offering a policy, but can give you better rates as well. Other points to consider is the type of products they offer, how much they cost, their financial stability (which is really important), and the quality of their customer service.

I’m going to talk about Banner Life Insurance Company cause I think it’s a great company with a lot of positive attributes. Now, I know some of you are already rolling your eyes and thinking ‘Yeah right! The guy probably peddles their stuff.’

Actually, this is true because I do sell their products, but consider this – I’m a life insurance guy, but remember, we buy life insurance for our family just like the rest of you.

That’s right! I have a 10 year – $500,000 term life insurance policy, and I bought it through Banner. Do you think that an experienced life insurance agent like myself would go with just any other company? So, why do I like this company?

Here are my reasons.

A Company Snapshot

Banner Life Insurance is a company that has been around awhile and has a venerable history. Banner began as the Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) and was chartered in 1949. It was purchased L&G America in 1981 and was re-named Banner Life Insurance in 1983. It is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. and has weathered a lot of history and turbulent times. It’s been growing ever since.

This is not a small time operation. This company is based in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The company has more than 4.6 billion dollars in assets which is not small potatoes.

Financial Health of Banner Life Insurance Company

One of the most important things you need to know when deciding on how good a life insurance company is to find out how healthy it is financially.

Any company which operates on the stock market is rated by companies that specialize in rating the financial health of these type of companies. You’ve probably heard of some these outfits like Moody’s, A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s, just to name a few. The same type of rating applies to life insurance companies.

How does Banner rate? It currently is rated by A.M. Best as having an A+ rating and by Standard and Poors as having an AA rating which means it is financially healthy and a very stable company.

Why I Love this Company

There are plenty of good reasons why I favor this company. Many of you folks out there have health problems, and which are largely controlled by medication. Getting a life insurance policy can be difficult enough. The reason is because there are plenty of life insurance companies out there which are very stodgy about not only about issuing a policy to someone with a health issue, but selling a policy which is affordable.

Banner breaks the mold folks. Banner is one of the most lenient and liberal companies out there when it comes to issuing a policy to someone with a health issue. Not only are they lenient when it comes to issuing a policy, they offer some of the best competitive rates out there. Let’s face it, whatever you’re buying; you want the best product at the best price.

Here are a couple of examples for you to think about. There are lots of you there who are either taking blood pressure medication, or pills for cholesterol. Most life insurance companies out there will penalize you for these health issues. They’ll take you on but you’re not going to get the going to get the optimum rates and will pay more. Banner is more progressive because they will give you the best rating even if you are taking these types of medications.

Bottom Line

Banner is a great company to get a life insurance company because it leads the pack. I mean – if it’s good enough that I have policy with them for my family’s protection, then maybe it’s the perfect choice for yours.  Call us for a quote at 877-996-9383.

The Most Honest Farmers Life Insurance Review Ever Written

If you’ve been following this site, you know that I may be the perfect person to offer an unbiased review of Farmers Life Insurance for two reasons.

First, I have been a licensed life insurance agent for over 7 years, primarily selling insurance for Prudential, Genworth, and Ohio National.  Read our other life insurance reviews here.  We specialize in helping individuals with medical impairments.

To be clear, I am not a Farmers agent.  I am an independent agent.

My Personal Experience with Farmers

Second, I own a Farmers Life Insurance policy on myself, as well as my wife.  In fact, we have nearly all our insurance with Farmers, including our home and auto, my business policy, and an umbrella policy.  So I have experienced Farmers from an insider’s perspective, as well as from a competitor’s stance.

Multi-Policy Discount for Life Insurance

To be honest, when I was sitting in our Farmers agent’s office to sign up for auto and home coverage, having switched from Allstate Insurance, I never expected to purchase a 10 year term life insurance policy for my wife and myself.

But when our agent quoted us a total of $278 per month for our property & casualty coverage, or we could add $50,000 of life insurance each for the same monthly premium, I was shocked.  Our agent explained that by adding the life policies, we would qualify for a discount on our home and auto, essentially making it free to add our life insurance policies.

So the first lesson when considering  whether to add or drop a life insurance policy with Farmers is to inquire if you’ll be able to qualify for a multi-policy discount by adding “life” coverage, or if you’ll potentially lose a multi-policy discount by dropping a life policy.

Their History and Ratings

Farmers has been in business for over 80 years, as it was founded in 1928.  They do business in 41 states.  It’s a bit odd that I could not find Farmer’s ratings on their site, but was able to find them at ambest.com.

A.M. Best rates Farmers New World Life Insurance Company at “A”, which is assigned to companies that have an “excellent ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations”, in the opinion of A.M. Best.  It is the 3rd best of 16 ratings given by A.M. Best.

Only the strongest companies in the world, such as State Farm Insurance and GEICO Indemnity Company earn better ratings.

Types of Policies Available

Farmers offers your typical term policies, 10, 20 and 30 year, which have guaranteed level premiums throughout the initial term period.  They also offer whole life and universal life insurance, known as “Farmers Essential Life”, which offers the advantage of a permanent plan and cash accumulation, but with the flexibility to adjust when you pay premiums and the amount you pay.

They offer a traditional term policy (Level Term), which requires a medical exam, and also the “Farmers Simple Term Life Insurance”, which simplifies the underwriting process and does not require a medical exam.

They also offer a couple valuable riders, such as the waiver of premium rider and accidental death benefit rider, as well as the accelerated death benefit rider, which pays up to 50% of the death benefit while you are still living if a physician diagnoses you with a terminal illness.

One unique thing about their term policies is their minimum face value is $150,000 for their Level Term product ($75,000 for the Simple Term), whereas most life insurance carriers have just a $100,000 minimum.  From an agent’s perspective, I can tell you this can make it a bit tricky when all a client wants is $50,000 or $100,000 of coverage, but the minimum for the Level Term policy is $150,000.

Decreasing Term

My clients occasionally ask me if there’s a type of policy with a decreasing death benefit.  In this case, they are usually interested in covering a mortgage, or similar amortized loan, which makes complete sense, because as your loan balance decreases, some people don’t want to continue paying for the same amount of insurance, when it’s no longer needed.

Farmers is one of the only companies who offers this.  I know none of my carriers offer it, so they get a big star in this part of their review for being a trendsetter.

Low Maximum Ages for Term

See the max ages who can qualify for their term.  If I can say one negative thing about Farmers, their max ages are really low to be able to qualify for term insurance.  You can see their max age is 50 for their 30 year term, where most companies will issue it to age 60, and a couple carriers will even issue it to age 65.

18-45 Nicotine Class
21-50 Non-nicotine Classes

18-60 Nicotine Class
21-60 Non-nicotine Classes

18-65 Nicotine Class
21-65 Non-nicotine Classes

Customer service

Their customer service is ranked highly, and I find few complaints in other reviews that Farmers Life Insurance is a scam or ripped people off.  You can always find people complaining on the internet, but I find that only the unhappy clients go off venting on the computer, where you never hear from the millions of happy clients.

The cool thing about their agents is they themselves do the selling AND the customer service, which is really hard to find in the life insurance industry.  For example if you were to buy life insurance from Select Quote, you’d probably never speak to the agent again after he sold your policy to you.

Come on, people.  Farmers Life Insurance is highly reputable company with over $2 Billion in assets.  Do you really think they’re in business to rip people off?

The Most Honest Review of Ohio National You’ll Find

Ohio National Life Insurance Company

Awesome ratings, Low premiums... This is a great little company!

I’ve been contracted to sell Ohio National’s products for three years now, and I’m contracted with a dozen or so other life insurance companies, so I think that makes be the ideal person to write an Ohio National Life Insurance review, as I can compare them to other carriers, and discuss the pros and cons of going with Ohio National.

#1 Advantage of Ohio National Life Insurance – Financial Stability

During these economic times, I get asked more and more frequently about a company’s financial strength and/or ratings.  After all, who wants to pay premiums for years into a life insurance contract, and worry about whether the company will be able to make good on a death benefit payout?

Fortunately, I never have a problem “selling” the stability of Ohio National.  They’ve been in business over 100 years (just celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2009, in fact).  And even after all that time, they are still a growing, vibrant company.  They’ve somehow managed to grow their individual life sales business for a remarkable 21 years straight.

Also they have over $30 billion in assets, and are rated A+ by A.M. Best, their second best of 16 ratings, which means their ability to meet ongoing claims obligations is “superior”, in the opinion of A.M. Best.  To compare their company size to a large cap insurance giant, Ohio National is pretty small.  For example, ING has over $362 Billion of assets under management.

Having said that, Ohio National still has a wonderful, successful history, and I’d feel comfortable recommending their products to anyone.  For more information, click here to Review Ohio National Life Insurance Co.’s history and financial info.

No Gimmicks – No Games

When you learn about the inner workings of how some insurance companies manipulate their whole life and universal life illustrations to show tremendous cash value growth, Ohio Life is like a breath of fresh air.  They don’t play those games.

Many other companies as of late, when needing to generate revenues, have increased their cost of insurance by increasing mortality expenses, which forces clients to add more premiums.  Ohio Life Insurance hasn’t raised mortality expenses ever, and has lowered them three different times.

Advantage #2 – Excellent Term Life and Whole Life Pricing

And what review would be complete without a discussion about pricing?  Well, Ohio National is consistently among the top 10 in pricing for term and whole life insurance on Term4Sale, as well as in my quote results as provided by Compulife.  Sign up for quotes using our form on the right to compare Ohio National with other companies.

Please also note that Ohio National’s offerings are not limited to life insurance in Ohio.  Their products are approved in most states.

Intangibles that Make Ohio National Great

One thing I like about Ohio National as an agent, is they offer a deferred compensation plan for their agents.  I don’t know of any other insurance company who does this.  Basically, if you meet a certain level of annual premium or sales, then they contribute to a deferred comp plan on your behalf at some percentage of your sales.  I’ve never done enough business with them to qualify yet, since most of my business is submitted through Genworth and Prudential, but the point is they take care of their agents, and I think that’s just good business.

A Couple Negatives… Possibly

The only issues I have with Ohio National is that their underwriting guidelines tend to be a bit more strict than at other companies.  So if you get a quote for a 44 year old healthy male, for 10 year term life insurance, and find that Ohio National shows up as having the lowest quote, assuming you can qualify for their best health class, just be careful to check with an agent to make sure you can actually qualify for that rate.

Here’s what I mean.  If you review Ohio National’s underwriting guidelines, you’ll see that they don’t currently allow blood pressure treatment within their Super Preferred class.  Also, their weight chart is not very forgiving.  So say you take Lisinopril and have well controlled high blood pressure, and are 5’10, 200 lbs, you’d have two reasons you couldn’t qualify for Ohio National’s best rating… your hypertension medication and your weight, since their max weight for a 5’10 person is 190 lbs for their best class.

If you applied to a company with more liberal guidelines, such as Genworth, you’d be able to qualify for their best class, and Genworth’s premium would end up coming in lower at their best class than Ohio National’s premium at their 2nd best class.

To be fair, you can argue that the reason Ohio National has been successful for so long is because they are more careful with their underwriting.  So even though they may not “give the farm away”, isn’t that actually somewhat a good thing for their policyholders, to know that they carefully and conservatively assess the risks they’ll insure?

No Internet Leads

The other issue I have with them is they don’t allow sales that come in from internet leads.  So for example, Select Quote or Accuquote don’t quote Ohio National, as well as many other life insurance agencies who primarily generate their leads online.  We do have a contract with Ohio National, however, and leads from our website have been approved as acceptable.

Maybe you can guess why.  How serious is the Google searcher for “cheap term life insurance quotes” about their life insurance search?  These type of internet shoppers get several quotes, and more competition leads to a lower placement ratio.

Again, I can defend them for their stance here.  Internet leads are not always the best quality leads.  A lot of the sales end up getting withdrawn.  So Ohio National has noticed that trend in their new business department, and one day said: ‘Hey, we’re spending time and money processing all these cases, and far too few of them are panning out’, so you could argue they made a good business decision in banning internet lead business.

If you liked this review, please also see our Monumental Life Insurance review and leave a comment, “Like” the article or Google Plus 1 it please.

Overall, I’m very happy with Ohio National, and would recommend them to anyone, including my closest friends and family, and anyone reading this post.  To request a term life insurance quote, please use our form on the right.  If you have any questions about my review, please call me at 877-996-9383.