Primerica Life Insurance Review 2018

Captive agents with high turnover make this otherwise solid insurer a good option only if you research coverage beforehand.

A+ (from A.M. Best)

  • Term Life
  • No Exam
  • Whole Life
  • Transparency

Although relatively young, Primerica is one of the nation’s largest insurance and financial services companies. The insurer receives high marks for financial stability and relatively few official complaints, but its multilevel marketing structure makes for a less-than-ideal buying experience.

Primerica: Solid term life insurance for middle-class families

With the slogan “Buy term and invest the difference,” it’s no surprise that Primerica doesn’t sell any form of permanent life insurance coverage. Instead, it sells only term life, which tends to have lower premiums than whole life and other permanent insurance options. And of course, the company’s financial services can help you invest the difference.

Primerica’s focus on term life underlines its efforts to cater coverage to middle-class families since term life tends to be the simplest, least expensive form of life insurance.
 

The company offers both medical exam and no medical exam term policy options, depending on what’s right for you.

That said, we don’t recommend relying on a Primerica agent to help you decide what’s right for you, because agents can’t sell non-Primerica insurance. If you’d like to explore your options beyond Primerica, call us and we’ll help you compare a variety of insurance providers.

Learn more about why term life might be right for you in our article on Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance.

Things to consider about Primerica

Sometimes called “Prime America,” the company focuses on the needs of middle-class families with life insurance underwritten by National Benefit Life Insurance.

Primerica began offering life insurance coverage in 1977 and has since grown to provide additional products such as financial planning services, pre-paid legal services, long-term care insurance, and home and auto insurance.

If you’re looking for additional financial or non-life insurance products, Primerica could be a one-stop shop.
 

How did Primerica get so big so fast? To begin with, Primerica’s former parent company, Citigroup, financially backed the insurer until 2011.

Primerica’s rapid growth may also have something to do with its multi-level marketing structure, which requires agents to prioritize recruiting more agents to work under them. Unfortunately, this structure can result in high turnover and large numbers of inexperienced and part-time agents in the Primerica sales force.

Primerica’s agents are captive, meaning they can only sell Primerica products, and they’re also independent contractors, meaning they’re not actual Primerica employees.

Agents won’t be able to help you explore many options since Primerica sells only two types of policies, and they’re both term life.

Comparing Primerica’s rates to other insurance options will be challenging, too, since the company doesn’t make its rates available online.

Primerica pros and cons

Pros

  • Strong, stable financial outlook
  • Variety of non-life insurance and financial products
  • Focus on middle-class families

Cons

  • Multi-level marketing
  • Lack of transparency around pricing
  • Limited life insurance offerings (term life only)
  • Captive agent model

Primerica life insurance products and offerings

Primerica offers only term life insurance, but you can choose from two distinct types of policies: TermNow and Custom Advantage.

Product Type Coverage Range Year Range* No Medical Exam Available? Riders Available?
TermNow $15,000–$300,000 12–70 Yes Yes
Custom Advantage Term Life  $15,000–$1,000,000+ 12–70 No Yes

Data effective 10/30/18.

TermNow is no medical exam life insurance. Instead of requiring a medical exam to determine qualification, Primerica runs a background check via several databases (including the DMV and the Medical Information Bureau). Rates are higher than the company’s fully underwritten policies, and the death benefits top out at $300,000. The process could be as quick as a few minutes.

Learn about the best no exam life insurance companies and compare rates.

Custom Advantage is fully-underwritten life insurance with death benefits as high as $1,000,000 or more. The application process can take up to six weeks and requires a medical exam.

Policies may also have the following features:

Guaranteed insurability

This option is available on all Primerica policies and lasts until the insured turns 95. Guaranteed insurability allows you to renew your policy without going through another medical exam or application process.

Increasing benefit rider

This rare rider will enable you to increase the death benefit value of your policy up to 10% for ten years. The rider stands out because most policies on the market will have benefits that stay the same or even decrease over time.

Terminal illness benefit

If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness while covered, you could get a waiver of premium and up to 70% of your payout before death, which you could use to help cover medical expenses.

Primerica history and financial strength

Primerica was founded in 1977 as an independent life insurance company. High financial stability ratings are an accomplishment for the company because some of its largest competitors have been around for much longer.

As of December 2017, the company issued policies on five million people and more than two million investment accounts. Second quarter earnings in 2018 show $75,828 in earnings, a 50% increase from the previous year.2 These numbers use non-generally accepted accounting practices (non-GAAP financial measures), which are adjusted to account for one-time profit-distorting expenses.

All that is to say Primerica is still growing. When paired with the strong industry financial ratings, this growth is a solid sign that Primerica is doing well. You can feel safe that Primerica will be around, should it come time for your beneficiaries to collect your death benefit.

Primerica financial and complaint ratings:

A.M. Best3 Fitch4 S&P5 NAIC6
A+ N/A AA- 0.00

Top ratings entities give Primerica high marks for financial stability and a low number of complaints.

A.M. Best, which focuses solely on insurance companies, offers Primerica its superior rating of A+ and notes a stable outlook. S&P places the insurer at the bottom end of its second strongest category, at a stable AA-.

Fitch has not rated the company since 2013, when the entity discontinued its stable A+ rating due to lack of compensation.7

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have reported that no official complaints were made against Primerica in 2017, compared to a median of 1.05 life insurance complaints against all US insurance companies.

How Primerica’s premiums stack up: Value vs. benefits

When it comes to pricing, Primerica isn’t as transparent as other companies. There’s no way to get a quote on Primerica’s website. Instead, you’ll have to call or email an agent who serves your region to get term life insurance rates.

That said, a term life insurance policy will typically cost less than a whole life policy. Primerica’s two types of term life will also offer distinct pricing ranges. Custom Advantage policies will be cheaper than TermNow policies because the latter don’t require a medical exam.

Most insurers increase rates for older people, with a significant jump in premiums around age 35. The earlier you can lock in your rate, the better.

Check out our Best Life Insurance Rates by Age article to learn more about life insurance pricing.

Primerica claims and customer service

In general, Primerica’s high turnover rates apply only to sales representatives, not to claims or customer service staff. Primerica pays out $3.5 million in benefit claims each day and satisfies 94% of claims within fourteen days of filing.8 The insurer also has very few official complaints filed with the NAIC.

If you’ve seen negative reviews or low satisfaction ratings attached to Primerica, there’s a good chance you’re hearing from disgruntled agents or people approached about a Primerica business opportunity, not dissatisfied policy-holders.9

That said, in the forward-looking statements section of its second-quarter earnings report,

Primerica admits several ways its multi-level marketing structure could present uncertainties to the company’s long-term stability.10

Primerica financial products

In addition to term life insurance, Primerica offers financial analysis services and investment assistance. The company’s flagship investment opportunities are PFS Mutual Funds, which are its top recommendations for families.

Primerica’s Lifetime Investment Platform also offers managed investments, annuities provided by several other insurance companies, business retirement plans, and the Primerica Online business success platform.

FAQs about Primerica

What does Primerica do?
Primerica is an insurance and financial services organization specializing in term life insurance for middle-class families.

Can I borrow from my Primerica life insurance?

No. A term life insurance policy doesn’t typically build cash value. Primerica’s philosophy is that you should skip on the higher premiums often associated with cash-value policies and invest the difference instead. If you want a cash-value policy, learn more about indexed universal life insurance.

Can I make money with Primerica?

Primerica is a multi-level marketing company. Agents make more money when they recruit others to work under them. Supervising agents get a cut from those commissions earned by representatives they’ve brought in.

Some agents are successful working within this system, but most don’t make enough of a living to stay with the company full time or long term. On average, Primerica paid out just $6,030 per sale agent in North America in 2017.11

Bottom line: Do your research before approaching Primerica

Because this insurer only uses captive agents, you won’t learn a lot about your life insurance options outside of Primerica’s products. That said, the company has solid financial footing and pays claims out quickly and without hassle.

Primerica products and services are aimed solidly at middle-class families, but not everyone who fits that description has the same needs. We think it’s important to do plenty of research no matter what insurer you go with, but it’s especially crucial with Primerica.

Reading this review is a great start, but don’t stop there. Check out other articles, like our Best Life Insurance Companies piece. And don’t forget about researching the best whole life insurance, because in some situations it can be a great choice.

Finally, don’t be a stranger. The independent agents here at TermLife2Go are licensed to sell numerous brands of life insurance. Let us help you find the right insurance policy for your needs.

Get a life insurance quote now or speak to a licensed agent at 1 (888) 234-8376.

*A.M. Best’s financial rating scale is the following: A++ (Superior), A+ (Superior), A (Excellent), A- (Excellent), B++ (Good), B+ (Good), B (Fair), B- (Fair), C++ (Marginal), C+ (Marginal), C (Weak), C- (Weak), and D (Poor). A.M. Best’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) is an independent opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. An FSR is not assigned to specific insurance policies or contracts and does not address any other risk, including, but not limited to, an insurer’s claims-payment policies or procedures; the ability of the insurer to dispute or deny claims payment on grounds of misrepresentation or fraud; or any specific liability contractually borne by the policy or contract holder. An FSR is not a recommendation to purchase, hold, or terminate any insurance policy, contract, or any other financial obligation issued by an insurer, nor does it address the suitability of any particular policy or contract for a specific purpose or purchaser.

Sources

  1. ValuePenguin, “Primerica Life Insurance Review: Promoters of ‘Buy Term and Invest the Difference’
  2. Investors.Primerica, “Primerica Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results
  3. AMBest, “Primerica Life Insurance Company
  4. FitchRatings, “Fitch Affirms & Withdraws Primerica Life’s IFS at ‘A+’; Outlook Stable
  5. StandardAndPoors, “S&P Global Ratings
  6. NAIC, “Consumer Information Source
  7. FitchRatings, “Fitch Affirms & Withdraws Primerica Life’s IFS at ‘A+’; Outlook Stable
  8. Primerica, “What Is Term Life Insurance?
  9. ConsumerAffairs, “Primerica
  10. Investors.Primerica, “Primerica Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results
  11. Primerica, “Important Disclosures

Please leave any questions or comments below.

14 comments... add one
    • TermLife2Go

      Hi Mark,

      Give us a call at 888-234-8376 and we’ll see if we can get this sorted out for you.

      Thank you!

  1. Evelin Hogan

    My policy ( Term Life ) expires this year. Would like to get some Information on what options there are before policy expires. Thank you.

    Evelin Hogan

  2. Phyllis j Bishop

    I currently have a term policy that covers me up to age 80. Is that the maximum age that all of your policies cover? Also, is there a conversion option to change this to a whole life policy?

    • TermLife2Go

      Hi Phyllis,

      We’ll need some additional information in order to answer you questions. Give us a call at 888-234-8376 and one of our agents can assist you.

  3. donna

    have term life insurance and cannot get a hold of my representative ive not heard in 2 days from him. need questions answered. cant get on my policy on computer called website they were not helpful.

    • TermLife2Go

      Donna,

      It does not appear that you purchased your life insurance through a TermLife2Go agent so unfortunately, we’re not sure how we can help you out since we don’t know what “type” of life insurance policy that you purchased.

      If you are unhappy with the level of service that you are currently receiving, feel free to give us a call and see if we might be a better option for you and your family.

      Thanks,

      TermLife2Go.

  4. Juliana l

    Hi dear. I have questions in 05/20/2008 I opened insurance life account with you , I was make payment every months , but after a time I don’t know what happened…recognize was younger and no put much attention, but now a want what happen with my policy de # is 04XXXXXX…. please answer thank you.

    • TermLife2Go

      Juliana,

      We here at TermLife2Go would not have access to any previous policies you may have had with Primerica. You may want to contact them directly.

      Thanks,

      TermLife2Go.

  5. Javaro T. P.

    I have been with Primerica for years right now I am in a situation where I need to borrow money I don’t think I can borrow from Primerica what is a good insurance to go with for my needs for retirement and all I am 56 years old help plz

    • TermLife2Go

      Javaro,

      That’s a great question but without knowing more about you, we wouldn’t have any idea about “which” life insurance company might be the “best” fit for you.

      Things like:

      – What state you live in?
      – How old you are?
      – What is your current height and weight?
      – Have you been diagnosed with any pre-existing medical conditions?
      – How much insurance are you looking for?
      – Etc, etc…

      Will all play a role in determining “which” life insurance company will be the best for you!

      For this reason, why don’t you just give us a call when you have a chance and we’ll do our best to help you out.

      Thanks,

      TermLife2Go.

  6. Araceli M

    I have question regarding the ins my dad recently died , my mother has primamerica me all my sisters were on ins policy but my mom did not give me the money ,she gave it to my sisters but I just want to now if their limations regarding my situation.

    • TermLife2Go

      Araceli,

      Without knowing all the details, it would be inappropriate for us to respond one way or another. Sorry we couldn’t be more helpful.

      Thanks,

      TermLife2Go.

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