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I was just tallying up the life insurance companies that hadn’t jumped on the rate increase bandwagon the other day and was pleased to see some of our best impaired risk companies holding firm. Lost one today though.

Banner Life and their New York cousin William Penn announced rate increases on their term insurance portfolio. To lock in their current rates applications need to be in the home office in the next two weeks. Again they are going with the no lead time approach, so if you are considering Banner quotes you might want to think a little quicker. They didn’t build any foot dragging time into this change.

As with other companies who have either done away with or increased rates just recently, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, these increases don’t impact anything you already have in force. Those guarantees are still guaranteed. The other thing to keep in perspective is that while rates are going up, the increases are modest. I would certainly recommend taking advantage of the current rates if you’re in a position to do so, but don’t trip over the dog trying to get to the phone to apply.

I thought it was particularly interesting the Banner endeavored to spread the bad news a bit by keeping the rate increases modest and decreasing the agent’s commission by a modest amount also. Not being a big commission watcher, I don’t have a problem with that approach. I know agents who will probably move business to other companies because of this even handed approach to Banner’s needs to bolster their reserves a bit. As for me, it is and always will be what’s best for the customer.

What started in January as the tip of the iceberg with term insurance rate increases and rate changes on universal life with external no lapse guarantees has now become a pretty clear picture of the whole chunk of ice. I predicted at the first of the year that this would impact most of the top companies by summer and it would appear that we are on track for that.

Bottom line. If you are in the market for term insurance or for permanent coverage, this is a good time to consider moving on that. While the increases may be modest, as discussed before, a modest increase over a 30 year guarantee can add up to some serious money.