When it comes to buying life insurance, who do you trust most?
An insurance broker? A sales agent? Your friends and family?
For Primerica, the answer is friends and family – this is why the company uses multi-level marketing to reach a broad customer base, relying on its own members to sell their financial instruments, investment vehicles, and life insurance policies through their own personal networks.
Historically, this marketing strategy has earned a bad reputation because of its use in Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent activity. However, Primerica really offers value to some of its policyholders – read on to find out whether it will offer the same value to you.
Founded in 1977, Georgia-based Primerica sells a variety of financial instruments through a reported total of 116,827 independent representatives. Primerica’s position is somewhat unique in the life insurance industry, as it specializes in term life insurance – if you are looking for whole life or universal life insurance, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Primerica’s motto is “Buy Term and Invest the Difference.” Because Primerica offers a broad range of non-insurance investment vehicles to its members, it suggests that combining an inexpensive term life insurance plan with a more complete investment portfolio is the best way to achieve financial stability even in the case of unexpected illness or death.
To this end, Primerica offers combination plans that pair term life insurance with:
- Mutual fund investments
- Automobile insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Health insurance
- Retirement plans
- Long-term care insurance
This, along with the fact that Primerica does not offer automatic online quotes, can make it hard to pin down a specific price only for a life insurance policy.
Primerica’s Credit and Financial Rating
Before purchasing a life insurance policy from any insurance provider, you should perform due diligence in making sure the company is financially solvent to cover life insurance claims – especially if you plan on signing a policy with a large face value.
Fortunately for the individuals Primerica insures, it appears to be perfectly solvent and free of cash flow issues. Forbes even named it one of America’s 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies – a reputation-boosting distinction that not all insurers can claim.
Primerica also earns high marks with major credit rating agencies. A.M. Best gives Primerica an A+ rating, only citing its narrow business profile as a drawback. Moody’s gives Primerica a positive A2 rating, again noting that only focusing on term life insurance make it more susceptible to market downturns than other large insurers.
The Better Business Bureau, whose primary interest is rating customer satisfaction, assigned a score of A+ to Primerica. The company does have its share of complaints, but it seems to work towards resolving them whenever possible.
Primerica Life Insurance Review
One of the things that make Primerica stand out in the insurance sector is the fact that it only sells term life insurance. Additionally, it sells through individual licensed agents who, more often than not, aggressively target their friends and family members in order to make sales.
This marketing strategy can lead to people purchasing insurance policies they don’t need, so it’s important that you get a second opinion from an insurance expert before signing up. While term life insurance is very useful for certain individuals, others may be better served by a whole life insurance policy or a final expense insurance plan – it depends on the individual.
Since Primerica’s sales agents are typically not career insurance industry experts, they aren’t always the best source of information or comparative data on insurance plans. This is why Primerica is the only insurer pushing to weaken state-mandated insurance licensing tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. It also means that the person you purchase insurance from will, at some point, try to recruit you to become a sales agent yourself as well.
While this may seem like a dubious situation for a market-leading insurer to put itself in, the fact is that Primerica’s term insurance policy’s do help certain people and can be a valuable asset under certain circumstances.
Primerica Term Life Insurance
Primerica’s term life insurance policies generally offer lower prices than other companies’ whole life insurance plans. This is one of the ways Primerica positions itself as a low-cost leader in the life insurance industry. However, people who study the life insurance market can often find rates that are at least as good with other providers – so why choose Primerica?
This is where the company’s marketing strategy comes into play. The fact that your Primerica sales agent is most likely one of your friends, or even a family member, plays an important role in your decision-making process. Even if it’s an independent agent you don’t know, their salesmanship is often good enough to convince you to choose Primerica over a lower-priced competitor – but you do so at significant risk.
The fact that Primerica only offers term life insurance can be a disadvantage to some people. In particular, these insurance plans do not offer conversion. Normally, if you take out a term life insurance plan and wish to convert it to a permanent plan – adapting to life changing events for insurance purposes – you can convert your plan as-is, without having to retake medical examinations or risk being downgraded in terms of your health class.
This can offer huge savings to people who take out long term life insurance plans and then gain weight, develop health issues, or experience major life changing events such as having children or getting a new job. Primerica does not offer that flexibility, which means that if you fall ill before your term is up, you may have trouble getting as good a deal on life insurance later on.
In fact, people with existing health conditions may find that Primerica’s policies simply don’t meet their needs. The company’s underwriters favor low-risk policies and tend to be very hesitant about approving people who suffer from health conditions – even moderate ones that other companies will gladly insure.
In some cases, the fact that Primerica gets applicants interested in life insurance and then ends up denying them leads to people thinking they don’t qualify for life insurance at all. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, with the help of an experienced broker, you can compare plans and find an insurer who specializes in insuring people with certain health conditions – even major health issues and terminal diseases – the key is finding the right policy for your needs on a case-by-case basis.
Why Sign Up for Primerica Life Insurance?
Primerica excels at marketing to people who have never given life insurance that much thought. By targeting people who haven’t taken the time to learn as much as they can about the life insurance industry, the company generates demand for its products and services.
This means that most people who sign up for Primerica life insurance do so because they trust the salesperson who introduced them to the company. However, the salesperson doesn’t have the power to modify or adapt Primerica policies, and often there are better options out there.
Primerica sales agents will typically mention three key points during their sales pitch:
Financial Ratings: Primerica has excellent ratings from the BBB and AM Best. However, any serious insurance provider has equally good ratings.
Primerica Living Benefits: Primerica policies typically include living benefits that apply to the insured person while they are alive. Many other life insurance companies offer similar benefits, though, so it pays to compare Primerica to other providers.
Quick Claims: Primerica sales agents will always assert that Primerica pays their claims the fastest. Usually, this involves an anecdotal story about a policyholder who received payment in less than a week. However, anecdotes don’t make for strong policy – your policy is still subject to the industry-standard two-year contestability period. Furthermore, most insurance companies who do not contest the circumstances of death pay claims out within a week.
Is Primerica a Good Life Insurance Company?
Primerica may not be one of the 10 best insurance companies in the industry, but it is a reputable life insurance provider that genuinely helps people obtain coverage. While its catalog of insurance products is quite limited, Primerica term life insurance is ideal for certain people – finding out if you are one of those people, however, is best left to an expert.
Generally, we recommend that people interested in Primerica life insurance spend some time familiarizing themselves with comparable options from other insurance providers. It is important not to let yourself be swept along by persuasive marketing tactics – look for policy facts and read the fine print.
For some people, the ability to become an independent agent and sell Primerica policies to friends and family may represent an additional value. Using Primerica’s marketing structure as an income source is outside the scope of this article.
If you are interested in comparing Primerica life insurance rates and premiums to those offered by other insurance companies, send us some information about yourself and find out which company is best-suited to meet your needs.
Simple Life Insure compares insurance policies from more than 60 different providers in order to find the right policy for each individual we work with. Get quotes on multiple insurance plans today.