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Initially founded in 1977, Primerica began as a financial services provider that advocated purchasing term life insurance and investing the savings in mutual finds, IRAs and other similar investment vehicles. As it grew, it was acquired by several larger companies, including Commercial Credit, Travelers and Citigroup. In 2009, Primerica became independent.
As a financial company, Primerica distributes numerous products such as investments and pre-paid legal services. It also offers several types of insurance, including term life, long term care, auto, and home insurance. The company does not, however, sell its own products.
Instead, it acts as a broker for other insurance companies. In the case of life insurance, these products are underwritten by National Benefit Life Insurance Company; auto and homeowner’s policies come from several different underwriters. In any case, the Primerica representatives act as agents for the products they sell.
Primerica’s founding philosophy and marketing strategy was “Buy Term and Invest the Difference,” and it continues to focus on term life insurance to this day. Term life policies are more affordable than permanent policies like Universal or Whole life insurance, and the investment portion of these permanent life polices is usually outstripped by other types of investments.
Primerica itself does not actually underwrite life insurance policies. Instead, it brokers the sale of policies from other term life insurers. In this way, the company acts as an agency. Policies sold through the company are underwritten by the National Benefit Life Insurance Company, based in Long Island, New York.
Auto & Home Insurance
Primerica does not underwrite auto insurance, nor is it directly partnered with a single underwriting company. Instead, Primerica provides an insurance comparison program through its partner, Answer Financial.
Using the service offered by Answer Financial, customers can be matched with price quotes for home and auto insurance products. The sale of these policies is then brokered and managed by Primerica, but the policy and any associated claims are handled through the underwriting company.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long term care insurance is a specialty product designed to help customers with needs caused by extended illness or disability. It’s particularly used for the elderly, who have a higher-than-average need for long-term care. In fact, approximately 70% of people over age 65 require long-term care at some point.
As with other products sold by Primerica, these long-term care policies are not underwritten by the company. Instead, they are provided by affiliates and brokered by Primerica agents, who receive a commission based on sales.
Aside from insurance, Primerica markets several other financial services for savings and investment. Among these investments are mutual funds, managed accounts, and annuities. Each of these investments are handled by Primerica’s partners, including Invesco and American Century Investments. When a customer purchases an insurance policy through Primerica, sales reps are advised to suggest investment products as well. Just because you bought life insurance, does not mean you must “invest the difference” through their partners.
Primerica also offers a pre-paid legal service, which provides advice and assistance for things like creating a will, discussing tax law, crafting a contract and other things that can be solved through a basic attorney consultation. This sort of pre-paid legal service charges on a monthly basis rather than a per-consultation fee, and it does not provide criminal attorneys.
Primerica Price (Rates)
Primerica does not underwrite auto or life insurance policies, so there is no premium cost to verify. Anyone considering them should obtain quotes from multiple insurance companies to see how their underwriters stack up.
Life insurance claims are handled by phone or email. The phone number is 1-888-893-9858 for all U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam claims. Canadians can get assistance in English by calling 1-800-387-7876 or French at 1-800-265-4804.
Because Primerica is a broker, not an underwriter, all auto, home and long-term care insurance claims must be handled through the underwriting company. When you purchase a policy, you will be provided with information, including a phone number for the insurance company’s claims or customer service line. This number should be used for all claims.
It’s important to remember that Primerica works with a variety of partners and subsidiaries, and two people who purchase insurance through them may end up with two different underwriters. If you have any questions about your underwriting company, you can discuss them with your Primerica representative at 1-800-257-4725.
Consumer Research and Complaints
Primerica, Inc is Better Business Bureau accredited and has been so since 1980. It has an “A+” rating on the BBB website. In the past three years, 148 complaints have been closed; 38 of which have been closed within the previous 12 months. Of these, the majority are problems with a product or service, with billing and collection issues coming in second, and the rest with advertising and sales.
One recent complaint listed on the site describes difficulties getting in contact with a representative in a timely manner. Other complaints include being billed for a canceled account and other communication problems.
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Primerica is not an actual insurance company, but more like an insurance agency. They work with underwriting companies to provide the actual policies, and they act as the sales force and marketing arm.
Their philosophy about buying term insurance and investing difference is something we advocate on ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. For most individuals, the outcome will be far greater than simply purchasing a permanent life insurance policy.
Primerica appears to operate as a multi-level-marketing company, which a lot of people associate with scams. MLM’s are not generally scams, just a specific type of marketing that utilizes incentive tiers to reward salespeople.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.