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With a focus on whole and universal life insurance, the features and riders Bankers Life provides offer consumers a wide variety of options. However, the company’s high number of customer complaints and lack of online quote and application suggest they may not be for everyone.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Multiple plan options
No online quotes or application
More complaints than expected
Relatively low max death benefit without home office approval
Since its founding in 1879, Bankers Life and Casualty Company has offered a wide array of insurance policies to consumers. Now headquartered in Chicago, Bankers Life is a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, which offers life and health insurance. The company sells whole, term, indexed universal, and universal life policies.
- Extensive riders, including a disability income option: A long list of available riders give you the power to customize a policy that fits your needs. Also offers a Disability Income Rider, which is rare in the industry.
- Multiple plan options: With a range of term, whole, and universal life (UL) policies, including indexed UL and final expense, those who prefer a cash value or investment options have a healthy set of policies to choose from.
- No-medical-exam policies: The company offers coverage to eligible applicants without a medical exam for up to $150,000 in coverage.
- No online quotes or application: More tech-savvy applicants who want the convenience of applying or getting a quote online may be frustrated by Bankers Life.
- More complaints than expected: Bankers Life has a complaint level that is well above what’s expected for its size, which should give potential applicants pause.
- Relatively low max death benefit without home office approval:: A maximum death benefit of $2 million may be too low for some consumers. A higher coverage limit may be available to some applicants with home office approval.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), calculates a complaint index to indicate the number of complaints a company receives relative to other companies. The industry standard is 1.00, which means the company received an expected number of complaints for how big it is. A higher score indicates the company received more complaints than expected and a score less than 1.00 means the company received fewer complaints than expected.
Averaged over three years, Bankers Life had an index of 4.99, which is considerably higher than the market standard. The majority of these complaints involved delays, denials, and premium refunds.
Credit rating service AM Best issues Financial Strength Ratings for each company in the insurance industry based on the company’s analysis of financial health and projected ability to pay claims and meet other financial obligations.
According to AM Best, Bankers Life (and their parent company CNO Financial Group) has an A- (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating. While this score means that Bankers Life has an excellent ability to meet its ongoing financial obligations, it is third in AM Best’s ranking scale. Companies with A, A+, and A++ rankings are deemed more financially secure.
Bankers Life offers five whole life insurance policies, and one juvenile whole life insurance policy.
Whole life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy designed to last throughout the lifetime of the policyholder. Whole life insurance policies may also accumulate a cash value.
- BasicLife: This policy is designed for those 50 to 85 who do not want to take a medical exam or answer many health questions. The death benefit can be as low as $5,000. With level premium payments, your out-of-pocket payments will never change.
- BasicLife Graded: BasicLife Graded is similar to BasicLife, but with a lower initial death benefit than BasicLife ($2,500) that reaches 100% over three years. This type of policy is best for those in poor health who would probably not be approved for a regular policy that requires health questions.
- SecureView: Available for ages 17 to 75, a SecureView policy also has level premium payments that are guaranteed for life (though you also have the option to pay off your policy fully in 10 or 20 years). Face amounts begin at $30,000.
- Innovative Life SPI: Bankers Life offers a single premium policy available up to age 85, with premium amounts beginning at $2,500.
- Innovative Life SPII: This is similar to Innovative Life SPI as a single premium policy, but minimum coverage amounts are higher.
- LifeStart: Juvenile whole life insurance is available for ages 0 to 16 with face values starting at $10,000.
Universal life (UL) insurance is also a form of permanent life insurance, but it’s designed so you can benefit from rising interest rates and flexible premiums.
Bankers Life offers two universal life insurance policies:
- TurningPoint: A fixed interest universal life insurance plan with a guaranteed interest rate of 3%, which will increase if you keep your policy for longer than 16 years. Coverage starts at $30,000.
- ClearVantage: An indexed universal life (IUL) insurance policy determines your interest based on a stock market index. ClearVantage lets you allocate your cash value to a fixed rate account or an indexed account that is tied to the S&P 500 index. But even if the index loses value, the cash value won’t be credited less than a 1% return. This is a nice perk since some other IULs guarantee a return no less than 0%.
Term life insurance lasts a set number of years and only pays out if the policyholder dies within the preset term. These policies are generally more affordable than whole or universal life insurance policies but may be eligible for renewal once the term ends or conversion to a permanent policy.
Bankers Life offers one term life insurance policy:
- Reliaterm: Reliaterm is renewable once the term expires until age 95, which lets you extend coverage beyond your initial term. It’s also convertible—allowing you to trade up to a permanent policy without providing evidence of insurability—until age 70 or for the first five years you own the policy, whichever is later. Term life insurance is available for 5-, 10-, or 20-year periods. Face amounts start at $30,000.
Riders are optional features that give you additional benefits. Bankers Life has a robust selection of riders, including:
ADB: Terminal Illness Rider
If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, this rider allows you to access a portion of your policy’s death benefit while you’re still alive. However, if you exercise this option, you will reduce the death benefit your beneficiaries receive. This is a type of accelerated death benefit (ADB) rider.
ADB: Chronic Illness Rider
Also an ADB rider, this rider lets you access your death benefit if you become chronically ill.
Accidental Death Benefit
This rider makes additional coverage available if the policyholder dies of accidental death.
Reinstatement Without Evidence of Insurability
This rider reinstates your policy without evidence of insurability in case of cognitive impairment.
Disability Income Rider
This rider offers income if you become disabled during your policy. This type of rider is not commonly available on life insurance policies, which could make Bankers Life an interesting option for someone who wants it.
Children’s Term Rider
With this rider, you can add term coverage for your children to your own policy without having to purchase separate coverage.
Waiver of Premium
This rider waves the cost of your premium if you become totally disabled.
Bankers Life has 247 local branches across the country with agents available to answer questions. The company also offers general phone assistance at (800) 621-3724, and application assistance at (888) 992-0774. Online inquiries can also be submitted here.
Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers
We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.
In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.
To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.
NAIC. “Results by Complaint Code.”
AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”