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.

Insurance for Billionaires

Billionaires have a lot of money and don’t need to bother with buying life insurance right?


There are plenty of sound economic reasons why even billionaires should include life insurance when planning an estate.

Life insurance can provide valuable and convenient financial liquidity for your estate and has value as the life insurance proceeds can be used in a variety of ways.  This includes not only for the structure of your estate, but also for your heirs.

Advantages of Including Life Insurance in Estate Planning

The first thing to consider is that a permanent life insurance policy such as whole life or universal life can be used as a valuable financial instrument because it gives you the ability to use a permanent life insurance policy as a form of tax-free investment growth.

A life insurance can be included as a segment of any portfolio which has non-registered investments for the ultra wealthy.  The life insurance proceeds can provide your heirs with non-taxable death benefits and is an excellent vehicle to transfer wealth through more than one generation such as both your children and grandchildren.
Along with the death benefits, permanent life insurance policies also include a cash value accumulation component which can be considered as an asset. Why? If the policy is owned by the insured billionaire or through their company, the cash can be accessed while the billionaire is still alive.

Life Insurance is a Stable Investment

The cash value accumulation segment is a stable investment because there is a long history of life insurance investments providing a fairly stable return which is advantageous in unstable economic times.

Life insurance policies can also be used in a variety of ways with trusts.  This is a detailed topic in itself so you should raise this issues with your financial or tax advisor to get the details.

Another interesting strategic use of a life insurance policy is to combine it with a life annuity, also called an insured annuity, which can offer even higher yields. This approach is better suited for those who older than 65 and have assets which are non-registered.

Life Insurance for Succession Planning

If a billionaire is planning to transfer shares of their business enterprise to their children, then these assets can be subject to taxable capital gains.  This requires that cash reserves may have to be accessed which might require the selling of assets or to borrow money to pay for the capital gains tax.  The proceeds from a life insurance policy allows the children to access cash liquidity through the proceeds of the policy to pay for the capital gains tax.

There is another advantage for this same scenario as some siblings may no longer be interested to be shareholders in the company, and the life insurance proceeds can be used to buy out these non-interested family members.

Other Ways Billionaires Can Defer Taxes with Life Insurance

It’s all about the two indelible truths – Death and Taxes.  When you die there will be estate and other taxes that have to be paid.  When you have this kind of money the taxes can be huge.

With a life insurance policy, the proceeds such as the death benefits also have to be paid to the beneficiaries who can use these assets as immediate liquidity to cushion the effect of the taxes that have to be paid.  This means that they may not have to use the estate’s assets to cover these taxes or can soften the bill.

Many billionaires are also benevolent and have charities which they like to support.  A charity can be named as a beneficiary on a policy and can be used as a non-taxable bequest to one or more charities.  A life insurance policy might be a preferable vehicle instead of simply transferring wealth from the estate to a charity.

Benefits of Life Insurance in Wealth Transference

There are also tax advantages if a billionaire wishes to transfer their wealth to either their children or grandchildren.  Since the proceeds are non-taxable, a life insurance policy is a convenient means to pass financial security to their children, or grandchildren…(continued on page 2)

Life Insurance Approval with Congestive Heart Failure

If you go to your run of the mill agency like State Farm or Farmers Insurance, you won’t have a chance at being approved for life insurance with congestive heart failure.  We have, however, obtained many successful approvals with this heart condition and many other types of impaired risk cases.

Two Types of Approval

An individual with congestive heart failure may qualify for two types of insurance:  traditional life insurance or graded death benefit life insurance.  Traditional coverage will require a medical exam and is usually much less expensive.  You will need to be in better health to qualify for this type.

The key to a traditional policy approval will be a recent echocardiogram, treadmill stress test, or cardiac catheterization showing that the heart is not overly enlarged, and the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is still within acceptable levels.

The ejection fraction measures how efficiently the left ventricle pumps the blood.  Normal is around 50% to 60%.  But in people with heart failure, the ejection fraction drops, sometimes into the 40’s, 30’s or even 20’s.  It will need to be in the 40’s to have a chance at a traditional policy.

Your odds are also better of being approved if you are a non smoker, at a good weight, with no other health issues, such as diabetes.  The insurance carriers will expect that you will be on medication to control your blood pressure, so that’s okay.

Graded Death Benefit

If your heart failure is in later stages, your ejection fraction may be lower than this, and your only option will be to apply for a graded death benefit type of policy.

This type of life insurance is far easier to qualify for.  As long as you haven’t been confined to a nursing home or had a heart attack or transplant in the past 2 years, or currently hospitalized, you can potentially qualify for this coverage.  There are other qualifying questions related to other medical conditions, but those are the only conditions as it relates to your heart.

A graded death benefit policy works a bit differently than traditional, in that you don’t need to have a medical exam, and they won’t order your medical records, so it’s much quicker.  However, it is also more expensive than the traditional variety.

The term “graded death benefit” is also very important.  It means your death benefit is reduced during the first 2 years of the policy.  For example, if you have a policy with a $50,000 death benefit, the benefit might only be $5,000 in the first year, $10,000 in the second year, and then $50,000 thereafter.  The most popular and reputable company offering graded death benefit life insurance is Fidelity Life Association.

Types of Life Insurance Offered by Fidelity

One of the nice things working with Fidelity’s impaired risk products is they have their graded policy, which is a whole life policy, which builds cash value.  But what is unique is they also offer a lower cost type of insurance called term, which keeps the premiums fixed for the duration of the term.  For example, they offer 10 year term, 20 and 30 year term policy, which also has the first 2 years as a graded benefit.

To get started with a life insurance quote with congestive heart failure, simply fill out our quote form on the right, and tell the representative who contacts you about your entire health history.

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Life Insurance Approval with History of Blood Clots

It is not impossible to be approved for life insurance after having a blood clot, although many variables must be considered.  At Huntley Wealth Insurance, we specialize in life insurance for impaired risk cases such as blood clots, so if you want a personalized quote, call us at 877-996-9383.

Of course, the main concern with blood clots is that a piece may break off, flow to the brain, and cause a stroke.

Standard of Better Approvals

In the best case scenario, if you had just one occurrence of a blood clot, small, which was treated with a blood thinner such as Coumadin.  In many cases the clots dissolve after 6 months to a year.  Once your doctor confirms the clot is gone, you may be able to qualify for preferred rates, and possibly the best health class rating as soon as 2 months after the clot is confirmed gone.

If your clot was treated with a clot buster, a catheter-directed thrombolysis, or thrombectomy, which is the surgical removal of a clot, you can still qualify in many cases 2 months after successful treatment.
The good news is that blood clots are among the most preventable types of blood conditions, so if you manage the risk factors, the insurance carriers are willing to take a fair look at insuring you.

The next best scenario is if your clot has not yet resolved, but is a small clot, and in a safer location, such as a clot in the Leg, Arm, or Pelvis.  The most common client I get with a history of clotting had a clot in his or her leg.  While there are few companies willing to make an offer with a current clot, there are insurance carriers who will consider.

Best Chance for Life Insurance Approval

You’ll be a much better life insurance prospect if you exercise regularly and are in good shape.  That’s because obesity and lack of physical activity are two key risk factors for venous clots.
Another risk factor is smoking cigarettes, so non smokers are more likely to be approved with blood clot history.  Of course, a person with well controlled blood pressure and good cholesterol levels are also lower risks than those with elevated levels.

Blood Clot in the Lung

When a piece of a deep vein thrombosis that starts in the leg, or less commonly the arm or pelvis, breaks off, it flows through the circulatory system until it gets lodged somewhere.  It commonly stops in the lung, known as a pulmonary embolism and is life threatening.

No insurance companies will offer insurance until it has been dissolved, except perhaps a graded death benefit policy.  Even if it has been dissolved, it may be difficult to be approved for life insurance if you have had multiple clots.

Managing the High Price of Life Insurance

If you do get insurance after multiple clots, the cost may be very high, particularly for a permanent type of policy such as universal life or whole life insurance.  You might consider purchasing a shorter term solution in this instance, such as 10 year term or 15 year term to keep the cost down, with the goal being that the longer it has been since your last clot dissolved without reoccurrence, you may be able to qualify for a better rating down the line.

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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.