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About Bankers Life
Founded in 1979, Bankers Life started out as the Hotel Men’s Mutual Benefit Association. The company grew as a direct-mail insurance company, offering life and accident insurance to middle class Americans.
In the 1960s, with the advent of Medicare, Bankers moved their focus to offer products for those approaching retirement, as well as for those already there. They were among the first companies to offer Medicare Supplement insurance, a product they continue to provide today.
Now a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Bankers has more than 1.4 million policies in force. Their main products are life insurance, long-term care coverage, annuities, and Medicare Supplement.
Bankers Life is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and sells its products through independent agents across the country.
Bankers sells only Medicare Supplement coverage, and not Advantage or Part D plans. As with most national insurers, plan availability may vary from state to state.
The Bankers Life website lists the standardized lettered plans they offer. It is a good selection of choices: Plans A, B, F, F with high deductible, G, K, L, M, and N are all offered. This covers the most popular plans as well as some other options to meet particular budget or coverage needs, helping consumers find a choice that fits them.
Plan A is the most basic of the standard plans. It covers Medicare Part B coinsurance as well as hospice coinsurance, and the first three pints of blood annually. This plan is generally the lowest priced, although in some cases a high deductible Plan F can come close.
Plan F has the most coverage, paying for nearly all out of pocket expenses, and as a result is usually the most expensive option. The high deductible option is available to those who want all of the coverage available, but are willing to pay a high deductible before coverage kicks in for a lower monthly premium. This allows the coverage to be there if you need it, but means you will pay less annually if you don’t use it as much.
The other plans generally fall somewhere in between, some offering 50% or 75% coverage for specific areas. This allows insurance customers to pick and choose what they really need, and avoid paying for coverage they may not need, such as foreign travel benefits.
All Bankers Life quotes are provided by agents, and the website has a form that can be filled out to request a quote. There is no online quoting, nor are prices listed for any of the Medicare Supplement plans.
Since we can’t obtain rates, we are unable to compare Bankers Life in terms of value. For a company this big, we would expect to see some online rate quoting; however, Bankers has long been an agent-driven company and as a result the continued approach of contacting an agent for a quote isn’t surprising.
Unfortunately, requesting a quote may result in solicitation, and is also a slower method of obtaining numbers for comparison. In today’s internet-driven age, this may deter some potential customers.
Ratings and Reviews
Bankers has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and they have had 133 complaints in the past three years, 36 of which were closed in the last 12 months. For a company with nearly a million and a half policies in force, that complaint volume isn’t a major concern.
Consumer Affairs has a total of 54 reviews. While there are a few positive remarks, the majority of the reviews are negative. Many of the reviews mention pushy salespeople and agents who are difficult to contact, and don’t respond to problems in a timely fashion. These seem to be the biggest issues with the company, which puts the problem on the agent, in most cases, and not the direct service from the company. That said, when a company is agent-driven, those agents have a duty to represent the company in a positive manner. As a result, those complaints do carry some weight.
There are 420 reviews of Bankers Life on Pissed Consumer. As the name of the site implies, it is generally a forum for complaints, and the majority of the reviews are just that. There are a few positive reviews, however, among the negatives.
Overall, there are not a lot of complaints given the size of this company, but still more than we generally see for a lesser-known name in the industry. There does appear to be some concern that the agents representing Bankers Life are not providing the expected level of customer service.
The Bottom Line
Without rates it’s difficult to determine how Bankers stacks up to other similar companies. It may be an appealing choice for those who already have an established agent offering Bankers products, or have been given a solid referral to one. Due to repeated complaints regarding agents, however, it may be best to shop some additional company options.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.