Primerica Review 2022: Scam or Legit?

It is likely that you have heard of Primerica, whether positively or negatively.

Primerica has been in business for nearly 50 years and is a significant force in the insurance game, especially in the United States. With over 150,000 employees and a $5 billion market cap, it’s a huge company.

But despite its longevity and success, you might have heard from friends or colleagues to avoid Primerica for several reasons. I used to work in the life insurance industry for several years, and Primerica didn’t have a great reputation amongst its peers.

I wanted to answer the question once and for all: Is Primerica a scam?

To get it out of the way quickly, though, no, Primerica is not a scam. They are a legitimate business offering a legal business opportunity along with actual products. But there is more to the company and how it operates, which is why you might have heard negative things about it in the past.

In today’s review, we’ll go over my research of what it is like to be a licensed representative or client of Primerica Inc and whether they are a legitimate company. Keep reading to find out more.

Our Verdict
Primerica Review
4/10Our Score

Primerica

MLM insurance and investment products

A company that provides insurance and investment products using an MLM method of recruiting advisors and getting customers.

Pros
  • Flexible schedule as a representative
  • Potential to make a good income
  • Potentially a promising career stepping stone in the insurance industry
  • A large company with vast resources
  • Some report a positive working environment
Cons
  • MLM strategy is seen as a pyramid scheme for many and can be challenging to overcome when trying to close sales or recruit
  • Potentially lots of pressure to recruit and sell products
  • Potential damage to existing relationships while trying to sell or recruit.
  • No guaranteed income or consistent salary
  • Could potentially be a conflict of interest to sell you products that may not suit your needs in hopes of making a commission.
  • Some report a negative working environment.

What is Primerica?

Primerica Inc. is an organization that provides investment, insurance, and financial services to middle-income families in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam. They have been publicly traded on the New York stock exchange since 1989 under the name “PRI,” and their parent company roots back to the early ’80s.

Primerica is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. The company has more than 20,000 corporate staff and more than 130,000 “licensed independent representatives” who make up their multi-level marketing (MLM) operation.

Much like other MLMs out there, individuals have the opportunity to join Primerica in two different capacities; as a client or as an agent.

As a client, you can purchase term life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and other financial products directly from Primerica’s licensed representatives. These representatives make commissions on the products they sell and work closely with you to manage your accounts.

At the same time, these representatives will also be trying to recruit more licensed sellers into the organization in hopes of making a commission off of their sales as well.

As a company, Primerica owns various subsidiaries such as National Benefit Life Insurance Company, Primerica Life, Peach Re, Vidalia Re, and e-Telequote. To say the least, they are a prominent force within the insurance and financial services in North America.

Primerica’s website states that the company’s primary goal is to “serve the needs of middle-income consumers.” They do this by selling financial products such as term life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and more. But is that the whole story? Let’s find out.

Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme or Scam?

Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme?

No, Primerica is not a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and Primerica’s operations are entirely legal. In fact, they have been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange for decades and are regulated by national governing bodies in the respective countries that they operate.

How Primerica operates is similar to a multi-level marketing company that specializes in financial products and insurance.

Although they do not use this terminology to describe themselves (specifically the MLM part), they heavily rely on the recruitment of newly licensed individuals to not only sell their products but also to recruit more and more representatives, growing their reach.

My research shows that the recruited representatives operate within an 11-tier system in which sellers make commissions from their 11th recruitee removed! In the upcoming section, we will detail Primerica’s compensation structure, so more is coming on this soon.

Primerica has been a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited business since 1980 and has an A+ rating. They have been in business for more than 44 years.

As I mentioned earlier, you can become involved with Primerica either as a licensed representative or client. Let’s go through what that would look like in both capacities, starting with as a representative.

Can You Really Make Money With Primerica?

Can You Really Make Money With Primerica?

In short, yes, you can really make money with Primerica. But it won’t be a walk in the park like some existing reps might have you believe, and you certainly won’t get rich quickly.

Reports put out by the company suggest that licensed professionals make about USD $5,000-$7,000 per year on average, which is somewhere between $415 and $583 per month. This amount is certainly not enough to live on, especially if you commit all your work hours to this activity.

Better Pay Elsewhere?

In addition, the starting commission structure at Primerica is way below the industry standards that I’ve seen. For example for insurance, Primerica agents get paid around 25-30% First Year Commission (FYC) on the products they sell when they start.

When these representatives hit specific production and recruiting targets, they will have the chance to make higher commissions. Until then, they are in fight or flight mode.

For comparison, many life insurance brokers start at an 80% FYC contract level initially, which was the case for me. My contract level went up to 140% FYC within less than two years. In my opinion, the starting 25-30% FYC contract level at Primerica is too low.  

The success stories of reps making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are likely outliers and probably even skew the statistics. Because Primerica agents work purely on a commission basis, it is impossible to know precisely how much money you would make per hour worked.

No Guaranteed Of Income

As with all other MLMs, your success is not necessarily correlated to how hard you work.

Without selling products or recruiting a vast network of agents, therefore, it is, in fact, possible to make absolutely nothing with this company.

Without a salary, you may be left feeling quite desperate, which may be one reason the company does not have the best of reputations. I will go into more detail about this in a later section. 

My research shows that the best way to make money with this company is through recruiting instead of trying to make sales. In fact, this is encouraged heavily by the corporate staff.

Looking at Primerica’s pay structure, you can see that compensation promotions are linked to mass recruitment and not to personal sales.

All of this information is a long-winded way of saying this: if you’re a go-getter with big ambitions to get trained quickly, successfully pitch to a vast number of new representatives, and train them, then, yes, it is possible to make good money with Primerica.

Should you become a Primerica Representative?

Should you become a Primerica Representative?

So, we just saw that it is possible to make money with Primerica and that your income will be directly correlated with your recruitment and sales. But your decision to become a representative should most likely be informed by more than just the possibility of making money.

Let’s go through company culture, training, and other relevant pieces of information that may inform your decision about whether you should become a Primerica rep.

Getting Started at Primerica: Fees and Schedule

Becoming a licensed professional through Primerica is referred to as a “business opportunity” by the company and even has a dedicated website. Their terminology states, “the more good you do in your community, the more your family can benefit,”; meaning the more you sell and recruit, the more money you will make.

Here is how it would work when you become a Primerica rep: once you decide that you would like to become a licensed representative and obtain your insurance license (my research shows that this costs about $99 and is not covered by the company) your time and efforts are up to you completely.

As a Primerica rep, you have freedom over your schedule. You can choose to work full or part-time and when to work and how. Because the pay structure is purely on a commission basis, the more you sell and the more people you recruit to do the same, the more money you will make, and the company leaves this in your hands.

To make money, then, it will be your responsibility to generate leads for both of these goals. Unfortunately, my research into people’s Primerica experiences showed that you are not given many resources and training for lead generation.

Pitching to Friends and Family

Instead, Primerica encourages you to pitch to your “warm market,” which represents people that you already know and who are in your sphere of influence.

Once you’re trained, you would likely be consistently pitching products to friends and family while trying to recruit more people into the organization. This isn’t completely necessary but highly encouraged.

When working with clients, you would be providing financial needs analyses to them and accordingly offering products.

Primerica’s products range from term life insurance, investment products, car, and home insurance, legal protection, and identity theft protection, all of which you would need extensive knowledge on.

Working culture

Lastly, the company working culture: I have never worked with them myself, and therefore my findings are purely anecdotal. Many employees will point to the pros of flexibility and freedom that comes with being a licensed representative, and some speak on the pressure and “cult-like” feeling of the business.

I would recommend taking everything with a grain of salt and doing extensive research by choosing resources that are not biased or affiliated with the company before deciding whether it’s right for you.

In short, I would say that you would have a lot at stake for landing new clients and recruiting new reps while working in a culture that may or may not be a fit for you.

However, if you’re up for this challenge, are comfortable with pitching to your “warm market,” and feel aligned with Primerica’s values, you should consider joining. Otherwise, your time and skills might be better suited for pursuits with more stable income streams.

Should you become a Primerica Client?

Should you become a Primerica Client?

If you’re uninterested in working as a Primerica rep but would like to know more about their products, then this section is for you. 

Let’s take a look at the products they offer. In the end, I’ll offer my thoughts.

Primerica Client Experience/Products

The first thing that would happen when you get linked with a Primerica licensed representative in your area is a Financial Needs Analysis (FNA).

This service is complimentary and allows the rep to understand which products would suit you. The service is structured around providing financial literacy for the client, though it is also a way for the agent to scope out opportunities.

There is a wide range of products available for a licensed rep to sell, which is excellent. Financial products are not one-size-fits-all.

The following are Primerica’s financial offerings: term life insurance, investments (mutual funds, managed investments, annuities, and business retirement plans), debt solutions, auto & home, pre-paid legal, and identity theft.

Life Insurance Breakdown at Primerica

Let’s look into their primary product, term life insurance. Note that Primerica only offers term life insurance and not whole or universal policies.

What differs about this product is that, unlike most insurance policies, it is not possible to get an online quote before speaking with a rep. You must speak with an agent to find out pricing and product details, which is not ideal or transparent.

Because their website is unclear about product details and prices, it isn’t easy to understand their offerings. Right off the bat, this leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

If I were on the market for something as important as life insurance, I would like to map out my options on my own before taking the time to book an appointment with an agent that I know has commissions on the line.

Furthermore, my research shows that their life insurance prices are higher than traditional providers, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going with Primerica for your insurance needs.

Either way, please make sure that you conduct thorough research and compare alternatives and prices before signing contracts, as you should with any other financial product.

The company has more than 130,000 representatives, and it is nearly impossible for everyone’s experience to be the same. There will always be people who rave about a company or absolutely hate it, so it is always best to make your own decisions, both when becoming a client or a licensed Primerica professional.

Why Does Primerica Have a Bad Reputation?

There is no direct answer to why Primerica has a bad reputation; it is not black and white, as you might believe.

Some people believe Primerica to be amazing, and others avoid it strongly and have negative opinions about it, mainly because of its MLM structure.

1) MLM business model

This method of conducting business, that is, paying representatives commission rather than a salary and putting a high emphasis on sales and recruitment, usually results in ambitious individuals going the extra mile to persuade people.

Naturally, we tend to be wary of people who have a vested financial interest in us purchasing something or joining a company.

2) Prospecting Friends and Family

Another reason why Primerica may have a negative reputation may be because the company encourages its licensed representatives to prospect their “warm market.”

MLM representatives tend to do this anyways, pitching to their family, friends, and colleagues, but Primerica reps may have an even greater emphasis on such a technique.

Warm pitching (i.e. pitching to people you already know) is tricky. In efforts to climb within the company and make more money, you may risk damaging your reputation or even your personal relationships.

I’ve been on the other end of such an exchange before (i.e. being the one pitched to), and I find it uncomfortable and awkward. In a sense, it feels like the relationship is being taken advantage of in pursuit of the other person’s economic interests, and that never feels good.

3) Negative Reviews

The last reason why Primerica does not have a good reputation may be because of some of the reviews of current or previous Primerica representatives.

Whether they did not enjoy the working culture, the pay, or the company’s values, some speak very negatively about the company, which certainly does not help Primerica’s good reputation.

Alternatives to Primerica

Alternatives to Primerica

If you have done your research and would like to join an MLM as an agent that specializes in financial products or insurance, you have got options.

Remember, the person pitching you about Primerica (or any other MLM) really wants you to join their company and not any other MLM. However, if you like what they’re saying, you should still look into other alternatives to make sure that your choice best reflects your desires and values.

Build a Skill

I strongly suspect that most people who join financial MLM companies like Primerica as advisors aren’t that passionate about investing and insurance, and definitely not sales. Instead, they’re just looking for a way to make some money on the side or at home.

If that’s the case for you, why not build a tangible and useful skill instead? You can learn something like how to code, become a virtual assistant, writer, or proofreader, or brush up on design skills, then freelance your services to clients. The possibilities are endless. Check out lists like these for ideas:

  1. Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online: 99 Ideas
  2. 23 Authentic Work From Home Jobs – No Degree Needed

Employee

Instead of working at Primerica, you can get licensed on your own to sell investment and insurance products, and start working for an insurance or investment brokerage.

I mentioned before that I worked for an insurance broker in Canada that had way higher commission payouts than Primerica has. You will also get trained up at these brokerages. Check your local area for other brokerages you can possibly start working at.

Customer

As a customer, there are countless other options for you other than Primerica:

For Investors

If you’d like to become a do-it-yourself (DIY) investor, sign up for an online broker and learn how to invest on your own. Here are my top picks on the best trading platforms in Canada.

If you need a little bit of advice, you can look at my top picks for the best robo-advisors in Canada.

For Insurance

For Canadian life insurance, I would recommend PolicyMe. They’ve recently created their own products and offer them at very competitive rates. Check out PolicyMe’s website for some free quotes.

Another life insurance option for Canadians is PolicyAdvisor. You can compare 20 different insurers very quickly and get the best rates. Check out PolicyAdvisor’s website for a quick comparison of 20 companies.

Finding an Advisor

If you must use an advisor, try to find a fee-based advisor that is not incentivized to push you towards a certain product. They can help you with both investments and insurance. Do a search for a “fee-based financial advisor” in your area. Try to find one with a Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation.

Conclusion

Primerica is certainly not a scam.

The way that the company operates is perfectly legitimate and legal, though it could just be that working for them or buying their products may not necessarily be right for you. You can expect the company’s reps to be keen to sell you products or recruit you while being equipped with various persuasion techniques.

As long as you make informed decisions (and take your time making them, especially when dealing with sensitive things such as life insurance or investments!), you can get to where you want to be.

I’m sure that there are great advisors within the vast network of Primerica’s reps, and you can certainly be one or buy from one with careful consideration!

The choice is yours, and I hope you can use this review to inform your decisions. There are a handful of multi-level marketing organizations that specialize in financial products, such as Greatway Financial and World Financial Group (WFG).

I have done reviews on both of these, and you can find Greatway’s here and WFG’s here

You may find that my reviews of these companies are not fantastic, and that is because I am not the biggest fan of MLMs. If you are considering them, however, these reviews should be helpful to you in both a client and representative capacity.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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