Are you looking at Primerica Canada for your life insurance needs? This is a relatively well-known company but is it the insurer for you?
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m doing a series of reviews to show you how different life insurance companies really are. No matter which insurer tickles your fancy, you should always consult an independent agent to make sure you sign on with the one that fits your needs best.
Your health, age and family background all make an impact on the premiums you pay. The thing is each insurer has a niche where they excel. That’s why you need someone who is ready, willing and able to walk that extra mile for you.
So how does Primerica stand up to the competition? Let’s take a look right now!
My Name is James Heidebrecht & I'm the Founder of Policy Architects
I launched Policy Architects because I see a huge gap in the market. There is very little user friendly information online about life insurance. Sure, people don't necessarily want to read about some of these topics, but if you're in the market for a policy you need insider information to help you make the right choice.
My goal is to provide the most comprehensive articles on the internet when it comes to the best life insurance companies in Canada. I'm a Dad and I know just how important this topic is, which is why we're working tirelessly to provide you with everything you need to make the right decisions for your family.
OK, OK another life insurance spiel to get me to buy a policy right?
Yes and NO. Sure I want you to buy a policy...if you need it. If you have debt, dependents and you're a primary contributor to the financial resources your family relies on, you absolutely need it!
None of us can avoid death!
As much as we all like to think we’re in charge, nothing could be further from the truth! Life just happens. Don’t get me wrong, we all can and should plan for the future. Living a life full of trepidation won’t help anyone. BUT if you have responsibilities you need to take the temporary nature of life into consideration.
My wife and I both know people who have passed away unexpectedly. It’s such a stressful time for families…
…but add financial struggle and you have a real problem. Sadly many families have to uproot their children and sell the family home when a primary breadwinner dies because they can no longer afford the lifestyle they have become accustomed to.
I can’t think of anything worse.
This is why it’s important to do end of life planning – BEFORE there’s an issue. Unfortunately, too many people wait for a wake-up call before they stop to pay attention to the bottom line.
So let’s get back to this Primerica Canada Review and see what they have to offer.
Primerica: A Little Bit About the Company
Founded in 1986, Primerica Inc. is an American insurance and financial services company. Their main headquarters is located in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Primerica Canada’s main office is located in Mississauga, Ontario.
There is a bit of controversy surround their business model as they operate as a multilevel marketing operation. You can read more about this later in the review.
The main product they sell is term life insurance and in fact, they were the first to promote the philosophy of buy term and invest the difference. Term insurance allows people to purchase very affordable temporary coverage to protect themselves during periods of vulnerability. This approach also frees money to be invested in more profitable vehicles.
As of 2017, Primerica life insurance company reported having 120,000 independent representatives in the US and Canada.
PFSL Investments Canada Ltd. is the broker-dealer affiliate here in Canada. In 2015 Primerica was listed by Forbes as one of “Americas 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies.
Primerica Canada Review - Financial Rating
So what is a financial rating and why does it matter to you? A financial rating is a score an independent credit assessment organization gives a life insurance company. For example, they assess Primerica Canada’s financial strength and ability to meet its obligations when it comes to paying out life claims and benefits.
Life insurance is a long term commitment. What looks incredible one year can be on shaky ground the next. The best way to assure your investment is safe is to do a little legwork to see if the company is being responsible.
Don’t get me wrong there are protections put in place for people who are attached to a company that is going belly up. BUT it’s better not to have to deal with the hassle if you don’t have to.
When it comes to financial stability. You have no worries when it comes to Primerica! In September 2018 they were issued an A+ from A.M. Best! Whoo wheee that's a score for Primerica.
That's awesome! Where do I sign up?
Settle down my friend. We've just scratched the surface. There are so many other considerations. While this is a good start we have many other things to discuss.
Primerica Canada - Customer Reviews
Another factor that you should check out is how people view the life insurance company you’re considering. I will, however, add a caveat here. Bad news travels fast you know what I mean? Sadly people rarely promote things that are going well – but when they have a complaint you hear about it far and wide.
This is even truer when it comes to life insurance. Policyholders EXPECT that their claims are going to go off without a hitch. I don’t think a lot of people really think about giving a shout out to the agent that helped get them the most incredible policy ever!
…and if you add the stress of death even fewer people think about sending in that 5-star review.
NOT true when it comes to claims and hiccups. So while this is an important thing to consider you need to mitigate just how seriously you take these reviews because a lot of the top life insurance companies get dinged. Things to be on the lookout for are relevance (what sort of insurance claim are they talking about) and continuity.
Insureye Independent Life Insurance Reviews for Primerica Life Insurance Company
This isn’t great. 2.3 stars out of 5. But don’t forget what I said above. Reviewers are fickle. So let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here.
HMMMMM! There are a lot of dissatisfied customers out there. Yes, I saw the occasional good review but for the most part, people seem unhappy with Primerica. Everything from the cost of premiums to customer service. While I hesitate to give too much credence to these reviews, where there is smoke there’s usually fire.
Primerica Canada Reviews - Are Employees Happy?
Wow now, this is terrific! It seems like people who work at Primerica Canada are very happy. They try to convey a culture that’s caring and it makes a difference for their employees.
From the reviews, it looks like community and service are emphasized and people who work there are compelled to share their positive experiences.
Score for Primerica! 4.6 stars out of 5 at Glass Door.
Indeed doesn’t fall far afield of these numbers at 4.2 stars out of 5! Another score for Primerica. It looks like they are doing something right as employers and this does give you some insight into how they do business.
So what do I care if the employees at Primerica love working there?
Company performance and they way the employees feel is connected. I say this is a positive aspect of the culture promoted at Primerica Canada.
Primerica Life Insurance Products
I really enjoy this part of my reviews. I get the chance to look at everything that’s out there. Hey, it’s easy to get myopic and these reviews make me take time out to see what’s new! Life insurance is a complicated business. There are a ton of companies and some very different approaches.
Every life insurance company has a niche that they like to claim as their own. This is important for an agent to thoroughly understand to get the best possible rates for YOUR circumstances.
Products also change from company to company. If you think they all offer the same products…
Some insurers specialize ONLY in life insurance while others offer a whole host of other products. Each and every insurer offers products that are different when it comes to coverage, riders, etc.
That’s why you should always work with an independent life insurance agent. We know the ins and outs of the underwriting processes AND the products.
Now let’s take a look at Primerica Canada’s offerings!
Primerica Term Insurance
Primerica offers term life insurance. Their product page, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a lot of information. It’s more of a marketing page. They provide potential customers with figures for the payout percentage and the average time it takes to process a claim.
But information regarding Primerica’s actual product is nowhere to be found.
While I love term life insurance, I like to see a little bit more information about the products offered.
Primerica Permanent Life Insurance
Primerica does NOT offer permanent life insurance. They rely solely on the concept that term works for most people most of the time. They consider themselves to be the first company to support the statement “buy term and invest the difference”. While we agree with the basic premise of this quote there are circumstances that require a different approach.
Why is this a problem?
All other major carriers in Canada who sell term insurance offer what we call in the insurance business, a conversion option. This option to exchange your term coverage for permanent coverage is very, very important, especially if you should become uninsurable during your term. It then becomes the only way to guarantee your insurability moving forward. This doesn’t happen very often but when it happens to you, this option becomes indispensable.
Primerica Canada - Other Solutions
There are insurers that specialize ONLY in life insurance products. I actually quite like this approach as I feel they have a niche and they know all the ins and outs of it. There is something to be said for being an expert in your field. Primerica Canada is one of those insurers that extends its market into other products. So let’s take a look to see what they offer right now!
Primerica Financial Needs Analysis
As part of its services, Primerica offers a complimentary Financial Needs Analysis (FNA). If you’ve read any of my previous articles you know Policy Architects does a needs analysis to determine how much life insurance you need to cover your family if you die. Primerica uses this service to market their products. They give you a detailed analysis of your current financial situation and suggest a strategy to help you attain future financial stability which I am sure includes using their financial products.
Primerica prides itself on helping people who don’t have endless funds to invest. Unfortunately, a lot of companies won’t work with you unless you have $100,000 or more to work with. Their products are as follows:
- Mutual Funds: As you may know, mutual funds offer you an opportunity to invest with others in a fund. For as little as $25.00 – $50.00 per month you can join a program run by PFSL Investments Canada Ltd.
- Segregated Funds: This is similar to a mutual fund. This investment tool allows you to invest in stock and bond holdings through the fund. Primerica’s segregated funds have a 75% capital guarantee, creditor protection, and transferability. Their Common Sense family of funds includes: Asset Builder Funds III – VII & Strategic Retirement Income Fund.
Primerica Debt Consolidation
Debt is an issue that faces us all! It’s spinning out of control in Canada.
Primerica pinpointed a need and offers services to help you get out of debt and into a better financial situation.
The solution they provide is a consolidation loan. You have one payment at a lower interest rate that allows you to pay down the money you owe faster. I‘m not familiar with all of the ins and outs of these loans so I will leave this to someone who does to comment on the viability of these services.
The debt to income ratio of Canadians hit a record high of 178.5 percent in the fourth quarter last year as mortgage holders continued to take on non-mortgage debt.
The ratio increased as average monthly required payments rose 4.5 percent compared with a year earlier, while disposable income rose only 2.5 percent, the agency said. CMHC says Canadians’ debt levels hit record highs at end of last year, CTV
Disability Insurance: Primerica Enhance
Disability insurance is something everyone should consider. Especially if you work for yourself or lack company benefits. People are living longer, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be disabled or get sick and recover at some point in your life. This coverage fills in the holes left by unfortunate events. The tab on the Primerica site for Disability is a little deceiving as this insurance give you the following coverage:
- Guaranteed Issue Critical Illness
- Medical Benefits
- Travel Emergency Medical Coverage
- Business Overhead Expense Coverage
- Roadside Accident & Sickness Benefit
- Dental Benefits
- Fracture Accident Coverage
This is really nice! It appears they’ve thought of everything that could potentially fall through the cracks.
Prepaid Legal Services
Legal advice is very costly. We all know that questions surface all the time when it comes to contracts and disagreements. What if I told you that Primerica Canada offers a service to cover those needs. For $25.00 per month you’re given access to legal advice for the following matters:
- Legal Consultation and Legal Assistance Services
- Will Preparation
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney (Property and Personal Care)
- Estate Settlement Legal Advice
- Documents and Contracts Reviewed
- Small Claims Court
- Consumer Protection Assistance
- All Other Legal Work
Primerica MLM & Application Process
OK so let’s talk a little bit about the elephant in the room. If you’ve read anything about Primerica chances are you know they are built on a multi-level marketing business model.
This is a strategy that companies use to encourage distributors to recruit new distributors to market their products. The senior distributor is financially rewarded by receiving a percentage of their new recruits’ sales. These are unsalaried jobs, which means you don’t make money if you don’t sell products.
The higher up the chain you are and the more recruits you take on the better your salary. Sadly a lot of people work for MLMs don’t make much money. You really have to be on top of the food chain to make this strategy work for you.
Hmmmm, is this in my best interest?
For me it's one of the cons of dealing with Primerica.
Don't Get Me Wrong: Life Insurance is a Commission Based Business
It sure is. You don’t make a sale, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that. It’s one of the reasons I recommend people always deal with independent life insurance agents, like those at Policy Architects. Commission breath stinks and you want to avoid working with people who are tied to a specific company.
That’s because they won’t tell you that you can do better with a different insurer That would mean losing a sale and that impacts their bottom line.
If you add that to people working for a company that encourages them to recruit their friends and family for financial gain – well you can see where it would get sticky. I hate to say this but I have a tendency to avoid companies that use an MLM strategy altogether.
I found the Primerica Canada site to be very unhelpful. There’s not a lot of information about their products – I just found a lot of marketing jargon about why I should use them as an insurer. Not a lot of useful information about the terms available, age limits or face value.
Honestly, I was also surprised that there wasn’t a button to start the application process. From what I saw, they only have contact information where I assume you call to speak with a tied agent to get the ball rolling? In my humble opinion user experience for the application process is a fail. I’m sure Primerica is missing the chance to gather many leads because of this gap.
Primerica Life Insurance Canada - Rates
So let's take a look at the cost of Primerica's term insurance. I think at the end of the day this is the information that is most interesting to my clients. they want to know how Primerica compares to their competition. Spoiler Alert...They're Expensive!
Primerica Life Insurance Canada, 20 Year Term, Standard, Non-Smoker Rates
*Quotes above are for Primerica Canada’s custom advantage 20 year term, monthly, Standard Health Class, non-smoker. Your rates may differ depending on your unique circumstances. March 2019.
My Findings: Primerica Life Insurance Canada
Ok with a little leg work I was able to get some more information about Primerica Life Insurance Rates. By the way, if you want 20-year term you have to purchase a policy by your 65th life insurance birthday. Don’t forget when you are calculating your age please note that life insurance birthdays aren’t the same as your real birthday.
So whatever birthday you’re closest to within 6 months is the age you are for underwriting purposes.
One of my biggest findings is their rates are the same for men AND women! Primerica Canada is truly gender neutral when it comes to underwriting. Hurrah…
…or maybe NOT. Most life insurance companies cut women some slack when it comes to rates because they statistically live longer than men. Primerica doesn’t do this, nor do they meet you in the middle, they simply charge women as much as their male counterparts. So let’s take a look to see how this works out for you now.
Since women have a longer lifespan, they will more likely outlive their policies’ terms. In many cases, men are the primary income earners for the household, which means that they typically purchase bigger policies than women do. Often, a man needs to purchase a policy to provide for his family in case he dies and the family loses its main source of income.
Gender Neutral Underwriting: Doesn't Pay Off for Women
Ok, let’s take Debbie. She is 45 years old, a nonsmoker and in ok shape. We anticipate she will get a standard rating. She would like $500K in coverage for 20 years to make sure her family can keep the house if she passes away suddenly. We are scoping out all the insurers to find the one that suits her the best. Remember, her rates are based on her age, gender (typically), medical history and the amount and length of her coverage. She heard about Primerica Canada and wants me to get some rates for her. She will pay $101.18 per month for 20 years.
Empire Life Rates
Because we’re independent life insurance agents, we want Debbie to shop around. We’re already familiar with Primerica’s rates and their policy when it comes to women and we think she can do better. I really like Empire Life these days and think it would be a great fit. We pull the rates and guess what? Debbie will only have to pay $56.25 per month if she goes with this carrier!
Whoo weee! Remember she is going to pay these premiums over 20 years so let’s take a look at the overall difference:
OUCH! I am just going to leave this here as I think the number speaks for itself. Just think of the things you could do with this cash. This is EXACTLY the reason you need to consult an independent life insurance agent before you sign on the dotted line.
So let's take a look at another scenario....
Age & Primerica Rates
As I mentioned before your rates are tied to your age. The older you are the more risk an insurer takes on to protect you. So it makes sense that they pass that risk on to you. That being said, there are insurers that are more lenient than others when it comes to age. Let’s see how Primerica stacks up.
30 Year Old Non-Smoking Male: Primerica vs. BMO
For this example, I’m going to use a 30-year-old male non-smoker in great shape. We managed to get him preferred plus rates and I’m encouraging him to take advantage of his good health and lock in for a 30-year term. He has a very young family and this protection will take him through the most vulnerable periods. He is a doctor and has a lot of obligations so we’re opting for $1 million in coverage.
Our client is familiar with Primerica and wants me to check out the rates. Primerica Canada is offering coverage for $78.38 per month. Not bad! But being an independent agent I want to see if we can do better. It looks like BMO will offer him premiums for $69.75 per month. Better but not by a mile. I would, however, do the math to show him the savings over 30 years which will accumulate:
Well the cost of term life insurance between these two companies isn't radically different! But what if the client is older with declining health?
50 Year Old Non-Smoking Male in Standard Health Primerica Canada vs RBC Rates
For this example, I’m using a 50-year-old male who is in standard health. He just started and business and wants to make sure that his partners and employees are protected if he dies unexpectedly. He thinks $500K of coverage for 20 years will do it. One of his friends has a Primerica policy and they are very satisfied with their service so he asked me to check the rates. The premiums will cost him about $167.00. Because I’m an independent agent I encourage him to shop around before applying.
With a little research, I see that RBC offers premiums for about $118.00 per month. If he signs up for Primerica our client will pay:
My take away? Primerica is looking for young healthy people to insure. As you age - especially if you're a woman you will pay a hell of a lot more. In fact as a woman in your 60's it becomes extortionately more expensive. A non-smoking woman who is 60 years old with a standard rate will pay about $269.00 for $250K of coverage for 20 years. If she contacted us we would steer her to a company like Manufacturers Life Insurance where her premiums will cost her approximately $161.00. The difference is staggering over her term:
What Happens When Your Primerica Coverage Ends?
This is a terrific question, my friends because the goal is for you to live past the end of your term. Life insurance is one of those products you pray you won’t have to use. The thing is, you need to remember life insurance is a business so underwriters bet on you living until the end of your term, that’s how the companies make money otherwise they’d be out of business.
So what happens when your coverage ends?
I love term life insurance because it provides TEMPORARY coverage for periods of vulnerability. So if you are 35 years old and get 30-year term, chances are you won’t have the same need for coverage when you’re 65. BUT what if that’s not the case. Life happens and now you still have a mortgage.
If you go with a Primerica policy you’re out of luck! Especially if you have some medical issues which make you uninsurable later in life. All other Insurance companies typically have a term conversion feature that allows your policy to roll into a permanent policy WITHOUT a medical exam. This is a perk for people who see a decline in their health but still need protection.
Primerica does NOT have a permanent life insurance product to exchange your term coverage for. Bear this in mind when you sign on the dotted line.
Primercia Life Insurance Pros
Great Financial Rating
Primerica Canada has an A+ rating which means they're a very financially stable company. If you have protection through them rest assured you're covered. They are very well regarded.
It appears that Primerica treats the people who work for them well. Glass Door gave them a glowing review and I do think this is a factor when it comes to choosing a company.
Strong, Community Based Culture
Primerica is interested in helping "main street" people to access financial products such as debt consolidation, mutual funds, segregated funds and financial needs analysis.
Primerica Life Insurance Cons
Primerica ONLY has term insurance
Term is the only life insurance product they have. If you are looking for anything permanent you need to find another company which brings me to....
Primerica's Term Insurance is Expensive
I don't find Primerica Canada to be a competitive company for life insurance. They are never the most affordable in the bunch. Don't get me wrong. If you're young and healthy, especially if you're a man they are affordable. This however declines as clients age.
No Conversion Option with Primerica Term Insurance
If you have a need for protection after your term expires you are out of luck. All major life insurance companies in Canada and the US provide a conversion option you can execute during your term or before you hit age 71. Sure it costs more as it's connected to your age at conversion but you can get coverage without a medical exam. Because Primerica doesn't carry permanent products this is NOT an option. If for some reason, you become uninsurable, there's no other way to put it, you're screwed!
Women Pay the Same Term Rates as Men!
If you're a woman, go to another insurer! Primerica Canada's gender neutral approach doesn't benefit you at all. Their rates are higher for women across the board ESPECIALLY as you age.
Primerica Doesn't Like High Risk Applicants
If you have any preexisting health condition and are concerned about your insurability, Primerica should not be your first choice as a carrier. If you've read my high risk life insurance article, you'll know you're healthier than you think and that it is possible to find affordable coverage. Unfortunately, NOT with Primerica!
Primerica agents sell Primerica policies. If you want to get the best possible rates always consult and independent agent as we have access to all the top life insurance companies in Canada. This will save you time, money and hassle. Many Primerica agents are more interested in recruiting than selling life insurance.
It's an MLM
This a personal thing - I'm not a fan of multi level marketing. I do understand that others vociferously disagree but I for one don't like this approach. Sadly there's an emphasis on recruiting rather than the needs of the clients.
Poor Customer Reviews
Although Primerica does a good job when it comes to their employees it appears their customers are less satisfied. As I mention in all my reviews, you need to mitigate this issue with some common sense. A lot of life insurance companies get panned because of the nature of the business. So this is just a warning.
No Online Application Process
User experience on the site isn't that great. There is no way for you to get an agent to contact you other than calling their main phone number. I prefer the online processes that a lot of other insurers are using.
Lack of Transparency
There isn't a lot of information on the site about the products Primerica offers. Just basic marketing materials instead of information you can use to make a decision about their offering.
Is Primerica Life Insurance The Best Company For YOU!?
Wow, I found out a lot about this company! To be quite honest the only time I come across Primerica is when I’m helping a client save money by replacing their Primerica coverage with something more affordable.
Recently, I had a healthy 30-year-old, female, non-smoker, approach me to review her Primerica term coverage. She had been paying $108 per month for Primerica coverage which she’d purchased two years earlier when she was 28. I was able to replace her Primerica term coverage with identical term coverage from Ivari for $76 per month, a savings of $32 per month or $11,520 over the life of her policy! Not to mention, Ivari’s coverage comes with a conversion option. What would YOU do with an extra $11,000?. After taking a deep dive into Primerica Canada, I can honestly say I would not direct people to them for their life insurance needs.
I don’t know about their other financial products as that’s not my area of expertise.
From what I can see Primerica is very costly – especially for women and people who are aging and in declining health. They are competitive for healthy men in the younger years, but you can still do better if you shop around.
Another issue I have with them is they have captive agents that operate under a multi-level marketing scheme. Hey, this works for some people, just not me.
Call Policy Architects Today!
Don’t get me wrong, Primerica Canada is a reputable and financially secure company so I can’t fault them there. If you have a Primerica term insurance policy, rest assured it will pay out if something happens. BUT if you’re looking for the best possible rates from one of the top life insurance companies in Canada, you should definitely look elsewhere. Give Policy Architects a call (888-501-9583), we’ll be happy to review your coverage and see if we can save you some money!