When it comes to MLM’s, Primerica is a little different from the typical company. Primerica is a large, publicly traded company that offers insurance and other financial products. However, like other MLM’s, Primerica’s sales representatives earn commissions not only from their own sales, but also from the sales of their downline. Questions still swirl about whether the company is operating a pyramid scheme, but the scandals involving Primerica are much fewer than many other MLM’s.
Primerica Company Overview
History of Primerica
Primerica got its start in 1977 when it was founded by Arthur L. Williams, Jr. However, the company was called A.L. Williams and Associates at the time. The company started selling term life insurance policies as a privately held general agency.
Over the next several years, the company went through several mergers and acquisitions. It was first listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1983. The name Primerica was born in 1987, and the company has been using that name ever since.
Even after the birth of the Primerica name, the company continued to go through numerous mergers and acquisitions, which is common in the financial services industry. For several years beginning in 1998, the company operated as a subsidiary of Citigroup. The separation from Citi was completed in 2011, and the company has operated independently as a public company since then.
Today the company has annual revenues of approximately $1.7 billion dollars and employs around 2,100 full-time employees. It also utilizes a network of 120,000 independent sales representatives. Today they sell life insurance, auto insurance, annuities, pre-paid legal services, and other financial services products.
Primerica seems to be one of the few MLM’s who have stayed pretty clean when it comes to scandals and investigations. Although there are murmurings about the company running a pyramid scheme, there have been relatively no substantiated claims about this. Some sales representatives have become angered because they were unable to make much money selling the company’s products, but there are many factors that affect a person’s ability to make money with the company.
One of the biggest scandals involving the company stemmed from multiple 2012 lawsuits in Florida. The lawsuits alleged that sales representatives from the company convinced firefighters, teachers, and other public workers in the state to invest in risky financial products instead of leaving their money in more stable investments that were secured through the government. The company ended up settling the lawsuits in 2014 for $15.4 million.
Current Company Structure
With Primerica being a publicly traded company, the current structure and governance of the company is more transparent than most privately-owned MLM’s. The company is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia and operates much like other public companies. There is a Board of Directors in place to make strategic decisions for the company, and the company is required to make regular regulatory filings with the appropriate government bodies.
The company does business in the United States and Canada through their broker-dealer affiliates. Due to the highly regulated nature of their business, the company has found it difficult to expand beyond these two countries. Their approximately 120,000 independent sales reps operate through the company’s securities broker-dealer PFS Investments, Inc. in the U.S.
Primerica does not sell typical physical products like diet supplements or cleaning supplies like other MLM’s. Primerica sells financial services products like insurance and investments. Their original product, term life insurance, is still their top seller today. In addition, they have now expanded their insurance offerings to include auto and home insurance as well as long-term care insurance.
Another big seller for Primerica is their investment products. They offer mutual funds, annuities, segregated funds, and managed accounts. Like any investment product, there is always risk associated. However, Primerica was named to Forbes list of “America’s 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies” in 2015.
Lastly, Primerica offers a few other financial services solutions. These products include pre-paid legal services, debt management solutions, and identity theft protection. The majority of the company’s products are targeted toward middle-class clients who are looking for insurance protection for their family as well as investment opportunities.
Company Marketing Practices
Unlike traditional MLM’s, a huge social media following is not as much of a requirement for being successful with Primerica. The marketing here is much more about traditional networking and relationship building. Given the nature of the products being sold, people are much more likely to buy from someone that they know and trust.
This can be both good and bad. Some of the old stereotypes about insurance sales do hold true here, and you must be a great salesperson to be a successful rep within the company. If you are not comfortable with networking, cold calling, and hard sales, then this likely not the right opportunity for you.
Making Money with Primerica
Being listed by Forbes as one of the most trustworthy financial services companies in America shows that Primerica is indeed a legitimate company with a real opportunity for making money. But how much do their sales reps actually make? According to Primerica, in 2018 they paid their reps an average of $6,069 for the 12-month period.
Obviously, that amount is not good. As with all MLM’s, some reps make significantly more than that, while many reps make nothing. Reps who can stick around and move up the ranks earn more commission on their own sales as well as commission from the sales of their downline.
How to Enroll as a Rep
In order to enroll as a rep with Primerica, you must complete an Independent Business Application and pay a one-time $99 fee. To continue running your business, you need to pay the $25 monthly fee to access Primerica Online. Reps can continue without the monthly fee, but they only get access to limited information online.
Once enrolled, reps will need to obtain certain licenses in order to be able to sell all of Primerica’s products. Most all reps do obtain the state license to sell term life insurance; however, very few (only about 3%) go on to obtain their full financial advisor license so that they can sell the full suite of products.
Since Primerica does not publish specific commission percentages on their corporate website, it is somewhat difficult to get the details of how their commission plan works. However, there are some things about it that are known. As you move up the ranks, you earn more commission on your own sales.
A first-level rep earns a 25% commission on their own sales. At the top of the ranks, a Regional Vice President earns 95% commission on their personal sales of products. Recruiting is also a big piece of the puzzle as you can earn commission up to 11 levels deep in your downline. Licensing is also very important to your compensation as you can sell additional products as you obtain additional licensing.
Sales and Marketing Techniques
The best technique for success here is good old-fashioned sales. Some people are not comfortable with this approach, but it is very much the nature of this business. The company encourages their reps to schedule a Financial Needs Analysis, or FNA, with potential clients. This analysis will walk the client through their current situation and help assess which products would be good purchases. From there, it is the rep’s job to convince the client to buy.
Comparison to Other MLMs
As compared to other MLM’s, the upper income potential is about the same. On average, Primerica reps do make a little more than most MLM distributors. Primerica’s products are also great because they help people, and you’re not just selling them on the latest diet fad or workout routine that they will likely only use once or twice. Primerica also seems to be a much more trusted company than most MLM’s today.
Primerica is a legitimate company with great products and services that are useful to a large market of people. Being successful within the company requires hard work and traditional selling tactics. In order to move up the ranks, you are required to obtain financial licensing which can be difficult and time consuming. However, once you make it, you can earn residual income from the products you have sold for quite some time.