180+ years of history

We're the US insurance division of Legal & General Group — leveraging the expertise of a top ten global insurer and backed by a financial powerhouse.

Our history

Our parent company, Legal & General Group Plc, is one of the world’s leading multinational financial services companies – and has been since 1836. Headquartered in London, the firm has over $1.5 trillion in total assets under management. Legal & General’s footprint spans the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia.

At Legal & General America, our mission has always been simple: Protect American families and businesses, provide outstanding service, offer competitive pricing and make life better. Today we’re proud to be a part of the ninth-largest insurer in the world.

Our story begins more than 180 years ago

In 1836, six respected lawyers met in a London coffee house where life insurance was the topic of discussion. They decided to form an association, eventually named Legal & General Life Assurance Society. Those founders had the same attitudes toward innovation and risk taking as those which characterize the Legal & General Group (L&G) today. The financial skills of those six lawyers laid the foundation for L&G's worldwide business.

The U.S. operations now include investment management; pensions risk management as well as providing life insurance. In the U.K., we're the leading provider of life insurance, investment management for corporate pension plans and pensions buyout services. Our long history not only demonstrates our credibility, but shows our experience in every kind of economic climate. 

Legal & General America is born

Legal & General Group leveraged its expertise and long history to expand its reach. In 1981, the group welcomed Banner Life Insurance Company aboard with a flagship position in the U.S.; in 1989, we continued to spread our wings by purchasing William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York.

In 2011, after operating for many years under the Banner Life and William Penn names, we consolidated our identities into one unified U.S. brand: Legal & General America. Banner Life Insurance Company and William Penn Insurance Company of New York operate as the twin engines of the Legal & General America machine, continuing to administer and deliver the highest level of products and customer service. Both companies have grown together with a shared success — today we’re a national carrier and licensed in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Our timeline

1981: Legal & General Group forms Legal & General America to serve American customers directly and buys Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) and its NY affiliate. 

1982: The GELICO name is changed to today’s Banner Life Insurance Company.

1989: Legal & General Group buys William Penn (whose parent company is Banner Life Insurance Company). 

Present Day: Banner Life and William Penn are still the companies underwriting and issuing our insurance policies but work together under our Legal & General America umbrella.

Banner Life & William Penn

Steady and strong financial strength ratings

In insurance, numbers matter. You need to know your life insurance company has the financial backbone in place to support you if and when you need them.

Here are some questions to consider when shopping around for life insurance:

  • Does this carrier have its finances in order?
  • What does their financial health look like? Hint: look at ratings agencies like Fitch, Moody’s, S&P & A.M. Best
  • Have they been around long enough for me to trust them with my family’s financial future?

A history of trust in the insurance industry

Trust translates to a provider who is financially stable, customer-centric and highly experienced. We're proud to have more than 20 years as a term-pricing leader creating consistency and predictability. 

Learn more about our financial strength


Fostering creativity

Our executive officers and board of directors work together to promote robust talent management and support our culture of collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion. Under their leadership, we’ve proudly been named a Great Place to Work for the past three years and counting.Find out more