Bankers Life Insurance Review

Flexible coverage options for both term and permanent policies

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Bankers Life Insurance

 Bankers Life Insurance

overall rating
3.3

Our Take

Bankers Life specializes in insurance for retirement and offers term and permanent policies with plenty of customization options. However, there were a high number of complaints about Bankers Life with the NAIC in 2020, and the company’s financial strength rating doesn’t measure up to similar life insurance providers. Since there are more reputable companies that offer similar policy offerings, we recommend choosing another business for your life insurance needs. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Term policies with conversion options

  • Living benefits riders on permanent policies

  • Offers juvenile whole life insurance

  • Offers children’s term rider

  • Free partial withdrawals on universal policies

  • Physical branches

Cons
  • Higher than average number of complaints with the NAIC

  • Not rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study

  • Mixed customer service reviews on third-party websites

  • Must speak with an agent to get a quote

  • No online claims

  • No 30-year term policies

Key Takeaways
  • Bankers Life has a B++ (Good) financial strength rating from AM Best, but that rating was placed under review with negative implications in 2021. 
  • Bankers Life offers several riders on each policy type that can help you customize your coverage. However, there’s no accelerated death benefit available with term policies. 
  • Bankers Life doesn’t provide pricing estimates and you can’t get a quote online. Furthermore, the company website lacks certain policy details such as face value limits. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1879
  • Kinds of Plans Term Life, Universal Life, Whole Life, and Juvenile Whole Life
  • Number of Plans 9
  • Payment Options Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-annually, Annually
  • Official Website https://www.bankerslife.com/

Bankers Life offers several different plans and riders, including convertible term policies, juvenile whole life insurance, and permanent policies with living benefits. However, there are several drawbacks to using Bankers Life. 

We researched Bankers Life’s customer satisfaction ratings, financial stability ratings, coverage options, available riders, online tools, and customer service options to help you compare the life insurance policy options that Bankers Life offers with the competition.  

Company Overview

Bankers Life and Casualty Company, known by the marketing brand Bankers Life, was founded in 1879 and is headquartered in Chicago. The company is licensed in all states and has physical branches across the nation, although it represents less than 0.5% of the market share for life insurance. Focused on retirement planning, Bankers Life offers supplemental health insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuities in addition to four different types of life insurance. 

While you can visit a physical branch or call to speak with an agent, you can’t get a quote online. You’ll also need to inquire about certain policy details since some information is vague on the company website. 

Available Plans

Bankers Life offers term, whole life, universal life, and juvenile whole life insurance. Term life insurance is only available for up to 20-year terms, but policies are renewable and convertible. 

Term Life

Face values for the ReliaTerm life insurance product start at $25,000 and are available up to age 75 in initial terms of 5, 10, or 20 years (depending on age at application—the older you are, the shorter the terms available). You’ll pay level premiums for the life of the policy, and it’ll be more affordable than a permanent policy but there’s no cash value or guaranteed death benefit. 

You can renew a ReliaTerm policy up to age 95 or convert to a whole life insurance policy up to age 70 (or for five years if you apply when you’re older). 

Whole Life

Bankers Life offers several different whole life policies that accumulate cash value. These provide lifetime protection, and you can borrow against the cash value if you need it. 

  • BasicLife: This level premium plan is available for people ages 17–85 and starts at face value amounts as low as $2,500. 
  • BasicLife Graded: With this plan, you’ll get a lower death benefit in the first two years after policy issuance. It’s available for people ages 50–85. 
  • InnovativeLife SP I: This plan requires a single premium payment, is available for ages 0–85, and comes in face value amounts as low as $30,000. 
  • InnovativeLife SP II: This plan is similar to InnovativeLife SP I, but with higher starting face values. It’s also available for ages 0–85 and requires a single premium payment. 
  • SecureView: Available for ages 17–75, this product has level premium payments and comes in face amounts as low as $30,000. 

You’ll need to ask an agent about specific policy details since information is limited on the company website.

Universal Life

Bankers Life’s universal life insurance plans start at face values of $30,000 and are available up to age 85. They provide lifetime protection, come with a 15-year no-lapse guarantee, and grow in value at guaranteed minimum interest rates. Premium payments are flexible since you have the option to increase or decrease your benefit at any time. 

There are two available plans:

  • TurningPoint FIUL: This fixed interest universal life insurance plan provides growth in value at a guaranteed minimum interest rate of 3%. 
  • Clearvantage IUL: This indexed universal life insurance plan provides growth in value at a guaranteed minimum interest rate of 1%, but can earn higher rates as the market fluctuates (there’s still no risk of loss). 

Juvenile Whole Life

Available for ages 0–16, the Bankers Life Juvenile Whole Life insurance product starts at face value amounts of $10,000 and provides permanent coverage with cash value accumulation. You also have the option to completely pay for the policy in five to 10 years. This plan allows you to obtain childhood rates that stay level for life, regardless of any health conditions your child may develop later in life. 

Available Riders

Riders are add-ons that can help you get more out of your life insurance policy. All of Bankers Life’s riders come with an additional premium. 

Accidental Death Benefit

This provides an extra benefit in addition to the policy’s face value if the policyholder dies in an accident. It’s available with term, whole, and universal life plans. 

Children’s Term Insurance

This rider allows you to add term coverage for all your children at a low cost. It’s available with term, whole, and universal life plans. 

Waiver of Premium

This rider allows you to temporarily stop paying premiums if you become disabled. It’s available with term, whole, and universal life insurance plans. A similar waiver of payor benefit is available on juvenile life plans should the adult applicant become totally or permanently disabled or pass away. 

Accidental Death Benefit

With this rider, you can access a portion of your death benefit ahead of time if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is only available with whole life and universal life plans. 

Reinstatement Without Evidence of Insurability

If you let your policy lapse after a cognitive impairment, this rider allows you to reinstate your policy for up to 90 days. For example, if you had a stroke didn't pay your policy premiums for a couple of months, this rider would help you get a continuation of your coverage after the lapse. It’s available with whole life policies only. 

Living Benefit Chronic Illness Accelerated Death Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a permanent chronic illness, this rider would allow you to access a portion of the death benefit while you’re still living. It’s only available with universal life plans. 

Additional Insured Level Term

This rider allows you to get term coverage for your spouse or business partners. It’s only available with universal life plans. 

Primary Insured Level Term

This rider lets you purchase additional affordable coverage for yourself that will last a set number of years. It’s only available with universal life plans. 

Disability Income

This rider provides a benefit if you become disabled and can replace or supplement disability insurance. It’s only available with universal life plans. 

Unemployment Waiver of Cost

With this rider, you won’t have to pay your monthly costs if you become unemployed. It’s available with universal life plans. 

Guaranteed Insurability Benefit

This gives juvenile whole life policyholders the option to purchase additional coverage at certain intervals regardless of the child’s health at the time. 

All of Bankers Life’s riders are optional, which means they’ll come at an additional cost. 

Customer Service: By Phone or In-Person

One of the advantages of Bankers Life is that there are 257 branches across the U.S., so you can speak to an agent in person if you’d like. You can also fill out the online form to get a quote or contact one of Bankers Life’s customer service lines if you’re an existing policyholder:

  • New York residents: 800-845-5512
  • Non-claim inquiries: 800-654-3072
  • Claim inquiries: 800-773-4760
  • Life policy inquiries: 800-238-8011
  • Annuity inquiries: 800-787-1431

Note that Bankers Life doesn’t list customer service hours on its website. For general questions about anything, you can also call 800-621-3724. There’s no live chat available, which is common with many life insurance companies. 

Customer Satisfaction: Many Complaints

The NAIC provides a complaint index that relates an insurer’s number of complaints to other companies in the industry. The industry average is 1.0, and anything higher than that indicates a greater number of complaints than expected given the company’s size. Bankers Life received 34 complaints in 2020 for a complaint index of 4.89—nearly five times the industry average. Complaints are also trending upward—the index was only 3.75 in 2019. 

Complaints tend to revolve around the customer service, either because they dealt with multiple agents or weren’t able to reach a human, and others complained that the claims process took too long. However, some customers noted the opposite experience, citing helpful agents and prompt claims as reasons for their positive reviews. 

Financial Strength: B++ (Good)

AM Best is a third-party rating agency focused on the insurance industry that grades a company’s financial strength. This rating is important because it indicates a life insurance company’s ability to pay claims far into the future. There are dozens of life insurance companies that have better financial strength ratings than Bankers Life. 

Furthermore, AM Best placed its Bankers Life rating under review in 2021. That’s because Bankers Life’s capital has eroded, which has adversely affected the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization, or its ability to survive a downturn. The company plans to use an infusion of capital and apply other strategies to protect its financial stability, but AM Best notes that this may be difficult in current market conditions and the company will remain under review until it applies these fixes. 

Cancellation Policy: Not Stated

Bankers Life doesn’t list a cancellation policy on their website, so you should ask an agent about the rules for your policy type before applying. However, all life insurance companies must provide a 10-day free-look period, or longer in some states. That means if you’re not satisfied with Bankers Life and you cancel within ten days, you’ll receive your paid premiums returned. 

Price of Bankers Life Insurance: Ask an Agent

Bankers Life doesn’t provide any pricing estimates, and you can’t get a quote online. You’ll need to call an agent to ask about the policy type you’re interested in, and you may need to get a medical exam before you can get a quote. 

How Bankers Life Compares to Other Life Insurance

Like other larger life insurance companies, Bankers Life offers many policy types and customization options. But Bankers Life lags behind other life insurance companies in the areas of financial strength and customer satisfaction, and many other life insurance companies also offer more robust digital tools, like online quotes and live chat customer support. 

Here’s how Bankers Life compares to another life insurance company, Mutual of Omaha.

Bankers Life vs. Mutual of Omaha 

Bankers Life and Mutual of Omaha both offer plans for a wide range of ages, including children, and a long list of riders. Both companies have been around for more than a century and provide many different products focused on retirement. However, there are some key differences:

  • Bankers Life has many more physical branches across the U.S.
  • Bankers Life term policies come in lower face values than Mutual of Omaha’s policies.
  • Mutual of Omaha provides 30-year term policies, while Bankers Life does not.
  • Mutual of Omaha had far fewer complaints with the NAIC in 2020 than Bankers Life.
  • Mutual of Omaha is ranked above average in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, while Bankers Life is not rated. 
  • Mutual of Omaha has an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best, while Bankers Life has a B++ (Good) rating from AM Best. 

Of these two companies, Mutual of Omaha stands out because the company offers many of the same options as Bankers Life, but is far more reputable in terms of customer satisfaction and financial strength. 

Read our full Mutual of Omaha review.

  Mutual of Omaha Bankers Life 
No. of Policies Available 7
Market Share  1.44% 0.34% 
Online Quotes Available  For some policies No 
NAIC Complaint Index  0 4.89 
AM Best Rating  A+ B++ 
J.D. Power Ranking  5th Not Rated 
Final Verdict

Bankers Life might appeal to people looking to transact in person since the company has physical branches all over the U.S., but the Bankers Life policy offerings and riders are also available from more reputable companies. The high number of complaints, mixed customer service reviews, and a rating under review from AM Best are all reasons to choose another life insurance provider.

Methodology

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.