November 26, 2007, 8:00 am

Comparing Primerica To Other Companies

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Primerica Series
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After creating my series of four posts on Primerica, I received several email from readers asking for more details. Again, I will try to make the most honest conclusions on the topic without trying to bash anyone. I use rational arguments and strongly suggest Primerica Agents to comment on this blog. I know people working for several financial institutions as well as insurance and investment companies. I will not make direct comparisons with other companies as most of them work with similar business models. What really differs from one to another is their culture because financial products are alike across the industry in Canada.

Does Primerica have a commercial advantage?

According to their sales pitch, they do. If I sit down and I listen blindly to what they have to tell me, they will explain that they are not there for the money (but will later brag that they are making 6 figures by working minimal hours a week) since they really care about people. They want to help out people with their debt and bring them to a better financial position. They pretend that you only need term insurance and that the rest of the products are useless. Therefore, they don’t sell any other options or so they say, (because I heard they have them too).

The truth is that if you sit down with an advisor from another company, they will more likely tell you that they place the client in the center of their business. Their goal is to meet their client’s needs. Well duh, have you ever heard somebody saying that his main goal is to sell a low cost product at the highest price no matter what the client wants? Seriously! All that to say:  any personal finance company will consider their clients as the core of their business. It is crucial to build a network to survive in this world. Primerica says they are there to help, some proclaim that they are providing clients with professional help; others will explain that their goal is to keep their clients as happy as a pig in  s?!^.

In fact, Primerica does not have a commercial advantage compared to other companies. The truth is that if a client Googles Primerica compared to most companies prior to the meeting, the Primerica agent will have a hard time selling anything!

Can you build your own business within a company other than Primerica?

Primerica is advertising the “build your own business” model. It is up to each agent to create their own office and run their own business with their own employees and their own clients. Most companies in the personal financial field do not offer this “opportunity”. If you want to manage employees, you can become a “team leader” or a “director”. These positions are still commission based but since you are also a recruiter for the firm, they will pay you a commission on your team’s sales in addition to your own. You also have the possibility to go higher up in the company and become a regular salary-based employee.

In fact, Primerica is more or less supporting the same system. The office that you “own” is rented and displays the Primerica banner. “Your employees” are self employed / commission-based employees that are totally independent. Finally, “your clients” belong to Primerica. In their contract, it is clearly stated that if you leave Primerica, you are leaving your clients with Primerica as well. Hmmm, sounds to me more like a franchise than anything else.

What is so different in their commission structure?

If you want to meet with clients, write financial plans and close deals, Primerica is definitely not for you. You do not really have to write financial plans since everything is populated from the Primerica system. And when you close deals, you are making less money than you would with any other company. Commission rates are very low since you have three other people above you that will eat a part of the cake you just baked. These individuals have to be compensated from somewhere. Guess what, Primerica is not giving a penny to them, you are financing their “team leader”, “regional director” and “VP” positions.

So, unless you want to become a full-time recruiter, the commission structure is much better with other companies. And if you recruit people, you have to convince them to sell with under-paid commissions. Sounds like a real challenge, doesn’t it?

Please share your comments, and once again, I encourage Primerica advisors to explain what I am missing about the system.

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I am impressed with your cool and logical approach to Primerica. Too many times I pass up blogs that just sling mud from inexperienced people who are new to the company and don’t have the facts, nor want their dreams stepped on. I spent 17 years as a VP and OSJ (securities supervisor), made a 6 figure income, and got burnt out and decided to quit. What happened after that appalled me. This company immediately went into legal heavy handed mode, demanding all files, records, notes, everything regarding all clients I had…..whether I paid for the copies or not. The contract you sign is TOTALLY in their favor. You are captive and all your reps and clients are theirs. They have never released any specifics regardindg when Earns income (escrowed earnings) would be paid, and have drug a “wear-them-out” program on for 9 months. The latest requirement to get my money is a document that releases them from all claims, litigations, disparaging remarks, conversations, and more now and in the future. And then they might consider releasing my earnings.
After leaving I found their are a lot more options to help people with in the financial industry. You can make a lot more money faster with better products. Primerica just has a culture that attracts, consumes products from within, and has mastered their model over 30+ years. However, the financial market has changed in the last 10 years and, yes, a new era has begun. Can this company sustain itself within their limitations?

by: Peter Cramer | May 25th, 2010 (8:56 am)

It’s good to see that some people see the reality of PFS. It’s a shame that more people don’t realize what they are getting into.

by: Richaard | May 25th, 2010 (10:41 am)

L, sounds like you left during a down period with Citi. That being said, their still are offices that operate as if Art was still in charge.

As stated before, if you don’t read the contract, and make sure you the seller has protection, you have no room to complain. Selling a business 101: make sure you have recourse if buyer defaults.

Sparks, the earns pay out in months 10, 11, and 12 and the ICA Escrow account pays out after 36 months.

The complaints I see are all related to while Citi was in charge. None from before Citi took over and none after separation. Interesting.

by: Peter Cramer | May 25th, 2010 (12:37 pm)

Here we go again – It’s Citi’s fault. What type of protection do you suggest, Mr. business 101? If Primerica doesn’t assist in protecting interests from their involvement then there just isn’t much you can do, is there?

We will see how you guys survive on your own. It will just be a free for all

Peter, I never said it was Citi’s fault, just that I find it interesting that all the complaints I see are related to incidents during which Citi was sole owner.

Actually, you can have the contracts re-written to include the protections such as returning the business back to the seller upon default. Just one of several possible protections.

If all parties are not in agreement, than you shouldn’t sign.

The fact that you don’t know this simply tells me, and those reading, you don’t have much business sense. It’s actually COMMON SENSE that if you sell something on installment payments, you make sure that if the buyer fails to pay, you get compensated.

How else could a bank foreclose on a house? Reposes a car? They made sure, as the SELLER, they could get compensated if you defaulted on your loan. How, by taking the commodity they purchased on your behalf, for you, so long as you made payments.

The fact you claim to be a business owner and can’t understand that fact says you aren’t much of one.

by: Peter Cramer | May 25th, 2010 (1:09 pm)

Know people who have been involved in these transactions. Doesn’t work how you think nor as easy as you think. nothing that changes the material fact that it’s a losing proposition and once you build your business the only way to retain value for what you have done is to stay in it and play their game. PFS is new at this process and is having significant problems with it. You don’t really own your business in the first place so you are technically selling something you don’t own.

You insinuated that it was due to Citis involvement then you backtrack. You find it interesting huh? Just as you tell your clients you find other Life Companies interesting. It’s called cryptic which comes naturally to PFS people. Others just say that all other companies are scams. You guys are a quality group of honest people. Sure you are

have fun deceiving yourself and others. We are all lousy business owners however many of us are financially independent and not subservient, which you are like it or not

by: Answer This | May 25th, 2010 (1:52 pm)

Can anyone tell me if an agent leaves PFS with pending charge backs does Primerica report them to Vector?

Regarding charge backs……..If a rep does not pay their chargebacks, they take it out of future earnings. If there are not future earnings to take it out of, it rolls up to the RVP and the company takes it out of their pay. It is up to the RVP to go get it from the rep, usually by negotiation or small claims court.

Richard, yes the Earns is supposed to pay out in the 10-11-12th months, unless you quit at which point the General Counsel “has reason to believe” you may be soliciting reps, or “could be,” or “we have to finish our due diligence with the VP” to ensure they are not leaving files behind or soliciting. Between myself and 4 VP’s who quit recently, not one of us has received and Earns, DCA, or other compensation for 9 months. It is unknown at this time, after completing all of our RVP agreements, how much is due us, when we can receive it, and how to get it. I believe they use this money as hostage to make sure you are no longer a threat to the company or clients.

by: Answer This | May 25th, 2010 (2:24 pm)

Thanks Sparks. I was wondering if they had changed their way of doing things.

Having been an insurance agent for over 24 years, I have had many attempts by Primerica representatives to replace my client’s permanent life insurance policies with their policies. I simply ask my client to schedule a joint appointment with me and their Primerica representative(s) and we will compare facts. When I pulled out my mini-recorder, that was enough for about 1/2 to not go further with the meeting. Ultimately, I have never lost a permanent life insurance policy to a Primerica agent. I have been cussed at, had my car spit on (by a vice president), and been told I am screwing my client but, the truth won. If you do enough homework on what Primerica really does and the narrow product line they offer, it is a slam dunk win for the traditional insurance agent.

You do not seem to get it. That means that you do not have ownership and do not understand the contractual terms. Fact, they do not let you pick your contracts. Fact, they force you into the specific company contract. Fact, they will not give you a choice of how you sell and force you into the specific type of sale they want the company to have and you have no options. You see, Richard, those of us who have the experience and knowledge do not have to state those fallacies about business 101. You will not have a choice…ask my good friend Andy Young, Larry Weidel, Bobby Buisson and others. They should tell you the truth, but if they do not then ask for a copy of the standard contract that Primerica will not deviate from. A new era will begin.

Dr. L:

This is in line with what Dr. Maguire states and I do not even know him. Unless, its Muggsy.

I am Ed’s (Muggsy) brother and that case that was decided in Federal bankruptcy court has now set the standard for anyone to stop paying the person whose business they bouight.

Dr. Maguire

by: Peter Cramer | May 25th, 2010 (11:47 pm)

There are certain undeniable facts. This business is very difficult and takes training outside the parameters of your company, no matter which company or brokerage firm you choose to represent. One company never has all the answers and is always biased to their practices. The influence of a company depends on everyone working on a same agenda even if the agenda is false and misleading. Next, It does not make the business easier if you focus on recruiting people off the street, have them work their warm market and sell for you. You still are responsible to understand right from wrong. The people you recruit need to produce business and preach what is right cause it’s a reflection of their upline. PFS people claim they are coaches when in reality they are forced to teach one basic system with a generic business model that’s supposed to fit everyones needs. Next, the contract, requirements of Agents whether RL’s, RVP:”s, SNSD”s etc. are based on factors of control to make sure everyone stays on a similar page. Finally, as stated by others when you don’t have control you don’t own anything. When you need to follow defined contracts you really are not in control as you think. Surely if you don’t own your clients what do you really own? In conclusion I believe that if you want to be in the business of helping families, do just that. Build a business, add a team if you wish, vary your training, get designations and do what is right without being forced into a one size fits all model. PFS’s model only helps a very few famiiies that have little or no money,doesn’t want to do their homework on what is cost effective and most of all are ignorant to the fact that one company claims to have the facts over a reasonably educated industry. Truly PFS Agents are not reasonably educated

by: Common Sense | May 26th, 2010 (1:17 am)

Thank you DR. L and sparks for your incite. I’m confident it will be helpful to some. This is exactly what many of us here have been trying to do, warn others of the consequences of building a business in PFS or any other MLM structured company.

It never ends well. Sadly it takes too long for the victim (Agent) to realize how restrictive and poorly design the system is.

But as long as individuals like Richard remain in PFS not much will change. He will eventually realize what we have been saying. At that point it would be too late for him or anyone else that refuses to open their eyes in time. The loss of income and time waste may be irreversible.

After all, most individuals don’t adhere to advice and only learn after personal experience.

Again awesome posts by you two.The scam persists.

by: Richard | May 30th, 2010 (7:13 pm)

Cramer, unless you go to EACH office and sit through EACH training, you can not know even the general level of education a PFS Agent receives. My office actually DOES go over the topics you say we don’t.

In addition, with the years of being an actual business owner in my own company, there is one thing that I can say for certain. All contracts are negotiable. May take time, but they all can be negotiated.

CS, you keep showing a lack of common sense to me. There are consequences of building a business PERIOD. Building one inside of another (franchise, mlm, dsa, ga, etc) has both it’s advantages and disadvantages. Most notable is the support one receives.

Gary, all I can say is you didn’t meet anyone from my office. The results would have been different. That being said, their actions against you is inexcusable.

Sparks, L, I wish you both the best of luck. In my opinion, you should be paid what you had coming up to your termination date which would have been shown on the “Net Financial Position” area of the rep balances screen. Nothing more, nothing less. Paid after they do their due diligence of course. That’s actually quite common with many companies I’ve worked with.

by: Peter Cramer | May 31st, 2010 (11:24 pm)


You are full of it and you know it. Even if you are getting better trained than most PFS offices you can’t change the agenda of the company you work for. So maybe you know a bit more but the company philosophy is what it is. If you didn’t go along with the Agenda of the company then we both know you would be working somewhere else. Your office goes over topics? That’s very admirable. Where else do you get training? Nice try.

All PFS contracts are negotiated within strict parameters. The core contract remains the same and no material parts of the contract are negotiable. Nice effort.

Sure they have a right to complete due diligence. You guys are totally ignorant in signing the contract in the first place which binds you and takes away your freedom although you guys claim it’s your business. The problem is that it’s literally impossible for PFS to fully prove that you don’t violate any part of the contract cause it is so restrictive. So the process goes on indefinitely. One day you will get it.

I spent 18 years “understanding” and supporting the company opportunities, systems, regulations, etc. and after leaving found out what the backside “opportunity” looked like…..if you are IN the company, you are okay,…..when you leave (especially as a VP) you are a potential threat and are treated like that until the company deems otherwise. Richard until you become a VP, make any significant money, and then quit, you will not know what this means. The company is fine if you like it while you are there. Get to RVP and quit and watch what happens. Pretty demoralizing.

by: Richard | June 1st, 2010 (6:51 pm)


You are seem to be on an agenda to prove that unless no one can take the business from you, you are not a true business owner. Hate to burst your bubble (who am I kidding, I love it), but any business can be shut down for any reason and taken out from under you. The difference between starting your own and getting involved with Franchise’s, General Agency’s, MLM’s, etc is, with those, you get support. If you start up one by one’s self, you have none.

As for where else I get my training, simple. The library, DPI Websites, etc.


I’ve known several RVPs making 6 figures+ that did quit. They went to other companies and other industries. Most, if not all, couldn’t get their income back. The companies they went to work for were MORE restrictive than Primerica is, despite advertising otherwise.

And frankly, I do know what that means. I’ve been contracted to other companies like that with my other business. I’ve been a true business owner for 16 years now (in 1.5 months).

by: Peter Cramer | June 1st, 2010 (7:57 pm)

Not sure what you have been drinking but the only one that can take my business away is if I lose my license. You don’t get it that you don’t own your clients. If the clients are not yours then tell me what you own? On the other hand I have totally flexibility with my clients to find the right company to reach the desired goal, shop to my clients best interest for best rates, handle substandard cases knowing I can access companies who are more lenient for certain pre existing conditions and also own my book of clients. After all it’s my time and expense that builds my client base. Nobody pays you a salary so you are an absolute fool to build it on your own dime and then agree that the clients belong to PFS. Also I maintain 3 personal support staff who are fully trained and have a team of independent Advisors who are extremely knowledgeable in most aspects of the business. We all have consistent training both internally and externally in addition to credentials. Who told you the only way to be independent is to be on your own? Did your company also teach you that?

by: RRodriguez | June 6th, 2010 (5:37 pm)

Come on Richard I left and I did better, in fact every person who left that I know did better. It is simple you cannot possibly sell more than someone who can sell more diverse products that have specialized policies too. For example if I was to ask you which term carrier offers the best smoker rates you would not know and even if you did you cannot sell it. So how can a restricted salesman produce more than an equally active unrestricted producer?. Also just because your company and 2 or 3 more are built on the same captive model (copycats) it is not true that there are more restrictions out there. In fact every time you deal with an independent agent they don’t need companies like PFS. They sell directly from the carrier. Why are you still here justifying a place that CAN pull your business from under you when it is not supposed to be that way? Why Richard? Every call they made you had to take it whether you liked it or not. You had to go along with it or lose your team.
I would also like to call you out on claiming to be a real business owner there. If you find a better insurance product that you would want to add (just add) they will not let you. Some real owner… You cannot use your own corporate logo, sign, incorporation… Not even location in case you are too close to another “real owner” and finally Richard. All of us who were real RVPs know the contract is very specific in that as an RVP you may not enter into any other business venture, job or ownership. You must be a full time RVP exclusively with them. So how can you come here and say you have contracted with others and that you currently own any other business when it is strictly prohibited to this day? I knew you to be hard headed but it seems you don’t care about the truth. Just like Fox news

by: RRodriguez | June 6th, 2010 (6:13 pm)

Also gentlemen… All the profits from the IPO go to Citi. So I wonder why do the PFS agents get so excited? That’s like me throwing a party because Bill Gates made another Billion lol…

by: Richard | June 6th, 2010 (6:18 pm)

Cramer, first off, you are the middle man between the carrier and your clients, just as I am. You are paid to SERVICE THEIR clients. Yes you have the contact info, and just like any other business, someone can take the clients away from you. The difference between you and me is you own a BOOK of business, I OWN a BUSINESS.

You are worried about your BOOK, Im concerned about growing a business so that the book doesn’t matter (the clients do). Different mentality. You can sell you BOOK of business, I can sell my BUSINESS. See the difference? It’s small, but the impact is huge.

RR, You aren’t much brighter. Any industry that requires you to be licensed can have your entire business pulled from under them. By your logic, why are any of us in the industry to begin with? One wrong act to piss off someone can have our entire business yanked. That INCLUDES you, Cramer, TFB, Sparks, everyone who is IN the industry. But I guess that fact doesn’t matter does it?

I DO run a separate business as do several RVPs I know. Why? They have clients and contracts that still call them to get work done. One keeps it around so he can build hoses for friends at cost instead of retail. I have several clients, some of which are annuity companies, that I do programming for. I’ve checked and so long as I don’t have access to their client data, or messing anything up, it is a non issue.

And to answer you question about the profits going to Citi, simple. It was part of the separation deal. Citi still has bailout money to pay back. The reason we got excited is because Citi no longer has a majority stake and we can actually do what we have been wanting to do. Second, gifting of stock. Not stock options like most places, actual stock. Granted it’s limited to RVPs. When was the last time the companies you represent offered you actual stock as a bonus? You sell the stuff, might as well own part of the company as well. Own what you sell after all.

by: Peter Cramer | June 6th, 2010 (7:35 pm)

You are a real genius. Tell me who owns your clients according to your contract? Let’s say you one day wake up and want to leave PFS. Let’s say PFS biz model changes and you decide it is not to your benefit. Let’s say PFS products become even less competitive then they are now Let’s say that your team of Term peddlers decide the same. You paid all your expenses out of your pocket and gave them a gift of all your clients. So you say you will never leave PFS cause you bleed PFS colors? How many people have sold their business successfully? I happen to know the # but won’t give you the benefit of the doubt to educate you. Legal battle after legal battle. If you try to take your clients with you then you lose all the trailer business you have. See I don’t own clients, nobody does but I fully own my renewals and am 100% vested. If your with PFS and claim you are a business owner then the only way you can ever claim that is if you are one of the few in the future who sell successfully, good luck. Those percentages are so small you have a better chance of flying in a plane and visiting Mars in your lifetime. Probably where your head is anyway.

There are so many reasons not to become a captive Agent and even more reasons not to affiliate with PFS. There are so many reasons it just isn’t worth explaining to you. I just hope others do their homework.

by: Richard | June 6th, 2010 (8:41 pm)

Cramer, thanks for noticing. Every IQ test I’ve taken has the results being in the 160+ range. IE, Genius level functionality.

You on the other hand, not even going to hazard a guess, but I’d probably say in the 100-110 range. Average. Why do I say that? You can’t seem to read too well.

I’ve already stated SEVERAL times, the clients are the companies. Same as yours. We are ALL paid to maintain the relationship.

I am a business owner, but never stated I was an RVP. I do own and operate a separate business. That is something else I’ve stated several times. Now that I think about it, you might be closer to the 90 range. Statistically speaking, all of that should have sunk in by now.

Based on how angry you are right now, I’d bet your not half as good as you say you are. You’ve lost business to other agents, including Primerica, HBW, WFG, etc. And instead of finding out WHY, you just blame. Sounds like some people I know. Sadly, although they did have a good run, they did eventually fail beautifully.

by: Peter Cramer | June 6th, 2010 (8:52 pm)

If you are that bright you can do more with your life then peddling term insurance. Would love to compare businesses and income especially since you are still low level even in the PFS hierarchy. If my IQ is low then my income and charitable contributions and relationships acquired throughout the years make up for low IQ scores. Good luck and when you wake up to what your doing try not to be too hard on yourself just be man enough to admit to others your lack of judgement

You still gave up your clients to PFS. You still don’t get it, Joe IQ. FYI retention rate 97%

by: Richard | June 6th, 2010 (9:09 pm)

It’s not about doing more with your life, it’s about doing something worthwhile.

I’ve personally experienced what happens when agents like you get to people. Agents that think they are better. I’ve seen what happens to the families when you decide a client isn’t worth your time just because they live in a bad part of town.

An agent such as your self got to a friend of mine. Sold him a Universal Life policy. Told him he could use it to fund his sons education. Never showed him how it worked. When I finally met with him after he told me this, I opened his policy up to the cash value. Showed him that his agent lied, he couldn’t wait to switch.

Then take my brother. No one bothered to see him. He wanted to get insurance, but no agent was willing to write him a policy because he lived in a trailer. When he passed, we almost lost his house AND our fathers due to final expenses.

Or better yet, take one of the clients from my office. They bought a policy from us about 15 years ago. The old agent told her the same thing you are saying now. About 3 years ago, her husband passed. We paid within 10 days (pretty standard for us), the other guys took 60+. When they finally did pay, the agent wanted to put her into a fixed annuity and annuitize it. She didn’t of course and called are agent up and apologized for not believing in us.

You can tell me you are better all day long, from my own experience, when the shit hits the fan, we beat you in every way.

Rates are going up across the board, we are contemplating a decrees. Insurance companies are loosing money, we are making money. The industry as a whole has focused on Whole Life again saying BTID doesn’t work, we haven’t changed and have, in some cases, 80+ years of proof saying it does.

If you are so much better, how come the companies you represent are having to follow OUR lead?

by: Peter Cramer | June 6th, 2010 (9:42 pm)

Your assumptions are amusing. Try putting your IQ to work.