Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme? (Get Out Of Debt?)

We all want to make sure our family is protected. Primerica stirred up some controversy lately. Some say they’re great, others say they’re a pyramid scheme. They say you can earn income and get out of debt. Is this even possible with an insurance company?

Imagine the life you can have if you didn’t have to worry about your debts and actually be free of it and better yet do this at a young age.

Perhaps you’re just introduced to Primerica because you heard about their awesome business opportunity.

First, let me commend you for doing your research here. It’s the way to keep yourself from being scammed and find legitimate ways to make money online.

I’m not associated with Primerica in any way. I do lots of reviews on products and write reviews on them.

The purpose of this review is to determine if Primerica is a good business opportunity for you.

Some of the information provided here is not from their website. I apologize if some of it is incorrect. I spent a lot of time researching and hope you find this review helpful if you’re considering joining.

Let’s begin…

Primerica Review Summary

Primerica LogoProduct Name: Primerica

Founder: 1977 by Arthur L. Williams Jr., the current CEO is Glenn J. Williams

Product Type: Insurance and Financial Services and MLM Company

Price: $99 (One-Time Fee) and $25 monthly fee

Best For: People who are already familiar with insurance and financial planning and successful in MLM.

Summary: Primerica is an MLM company that sells insurance and financial services products. It’s not a scam nor a pyramid scheme. Unfortunately, they still follow the MLM pattern for their business opportunity. Meaning not very many of their independent contractors make a sustainable income to live on.

My Rating: 50 out of 100

Is Primerica Recommended? No

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What Is Primerica?

Primerica was founded in 1977, February 10, by Arthur L. Williams Jr. Their office is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, USA.

The company does 2 things:

  1. Sells insurance and provides financial services

  2. Uses MLM(Multi-Level Marketing) to offer people who are looking to earn a part-time or full-time business by selling their insurance and financial products.

In 2010, Primerica split from its parent company Citigroup to become a publicly listed company with Glenn J. Williams as CEO and is under the symbol “PRI”.

They claim they were the first to start the idea of Buy Term “Life Insurance” and Invest the Difference”.

Their goal is to service the middle-class income clients with enough insurance protection thru their term life insurance and have them still have enough money to put into a retirement fund like the IRAs (Individual Retirement mutual fund accounts).

Before I get into the review, here’s a video of what Primerica is about…

Inside Primerica – The Products

You might not be aware of this but in 2015, Forbes listed Primerica as being in the top 50 “Most Trustworthy Financial Companies”.

Primerica focuses on the middle-class people and their target locations are Canada, USA, and Puerto Rico

Their services and products range from:

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Auto and Home Insurance
  • Financial Needs Analysis
  • Legal Protection
  • ID Theft Defense
  • Financial Investments & Savings

Making Money With Primerica – The Business Opportunity

How Primerica works

If you’re someone who’s been dreaming of setting your own schedule, you know like being your own boss with your own business, Primerica will tell you their business opportunity is “built for you”.

The fact is, you’re not really a business owner, you’re an independent contractor acting as a salesperson to earn commissions from Primerica, an MLM company.

Of course, nowhere on their site do they make mention of using an MLM business model. However, they are definitely an MLM company.

Primerica’s business opportunity is typical to the MLM model in that there are 2 ways to make money with them:

  1. Sell their insurance plans and financial service-related products and earn retail income.
  2. Recruit people and earn commissions from their sales.

There’s a bit of a problem because Primerica doesn’t actually tell you how you’re going to make money. In my opinion, if you don’t get that information, it raises the “red flag” don’t you think? I did more digging and you’ll find that out as you read on…

In the meantime, there are some important steps you need to take first before “jumping” into their business opportunity.

How To Get Started with Primerica Business Opportunity

Before you get started, ask yourself 2 questions. Do you really want to be a financial adviser and do you want to do MLM? If you answer no to either or both, then Primerica won’t be good for you.

In fact, you must be a passionate financial and insurance planner, failing this, you will not make money.

To get started into the business opportunity, there are some tasks you need to accomplish first:

  1. Fill out the Independent Business Application to apply to be an independent contractor.
  • Pay  $99 USD (one-time fee) or $103.95 CDN (one-time fee includes GST) to have them process your background check.
  • Pay $25 USD a month or $28 a month to have access to Primerica’s online services for tools and resources to help your business grow.
  • Complete Primerica’s insurance licensing courses. By doing this, you are ranked as a Representative, their first level and can now start selling life insurance.

Primerica will say “we get you properly protected”. The way I understand this is somewhere along the way they will push you to purchase insurance. There is no requirement to purchase a product(s). Just be careful if this is not what you’re looking to do.

What I like about Primerica is in order to sell life insurance, you must take courses and exams. To further the success of your business, you’ll want to take their securities license course too.

You certainly don’t want to go into this blind and not know what you’re selling.  If you’re not an authority on insurance and financials, people won’t trust you.

Primerica Compensation Plan

Primerica’s MLM commission structure is based on the unilevel payment type and is 11-tiered.

MLM Unilevel Plan

This means all your referrals are on your first level.

What happens on the 11-tiered method is you make commissions on the sales of your recruits, on your recruit’s recruit, etc., until you finally get to the 11 levels.

In fact, if you want a larger piece of the commission pie, I suggest taking as many courses as possible.

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for… how you’re going to get paid! There are 4 ways you can do this:

1. Commissions on Your Insurance sales – Sell any of the insurance plans and earn commissions.

2. Commissions on Primerica’s Other Financial Products – Make commissions when you sell financial products.

3. Overrides – Make 10% commission on your downline’s insurance and financial services sales.

4.Differential Override Commissions – When someone in your downline recruits a new member, you earn the difference from your maximum override and theirs.

Your commissions and your overrides are dependent on where you rank. For instance, let’s look at the different commission ranks:

  • Associate – No commissions, it just means you signed up with Primerica
  • Representative – 25% commissions on your Life Insurance sales
  • Senior Representative – 35% commission on your sales and 10% on your overrides, must have completed FNA (Financial Needs Analysis) course and have recruited 3 Associates
  • District Leader – 50% commission on your sales and earn 15-25% on your overrides, must have promoted someone in your downline a minimum of 1 Senior Representative
  • Division Leader – 60% commission on your sales and 10 – 35% on your overrides
  • Regional Leader – 70% commissions on your sales and 10 – 45% on your overrides
  • Regional Vice President – 95% commissions on your sales and 10 – 70% on your overrides

Here’s an excellent video that explains Primerica’s Compensation Plan in more detail…

Primerica’s Tools and Features

The tools and features described here are not on Primerica’s site. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have it in their business opportunity section of their website. Anyway, here it is…

Training and Licensing Tools

Here, you have access to Primerica’s study tools for life insurance and securities licensing examinations.

These tools are valuable because it will get you prepared for your exams. You’ll get their pre-licensing study materials, videos, exam simulators, and registration for exams and licenses. 

Their Primerica online services also give you the ability to obtain online certifications to sell other relevant products.

Marketing Tools

To help promote your products, Primerica gives you the following:

  • Your own hosted website
  • Videos and digital video channels
  • Live programs
  • Plus more…

It’s great to have your own website but the way you’ll be using it is after you find a prospect because Primerica doesn’t teach you how to get FREE Traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

You’ll also use your website for your business to get access to Primerica’s tools and resources to operate your business from.

All your sales are done by cold calls and from what I see, they don’t even teach you how to promote properly on social media which can get you some free traffic.

Sales Support and Management of Client Tools

Primerica’s FNA (Financial Needs Analysis) tool will come in handy for you. It does an analysis of your client’s financial needs in the areas of debt and savings. It shows the client’s current financial positions and what it would look like if they had life insurance.

The idea is to share the information with your client.

Point-of-Sale Application Tool (TurboApps)

This tool processes your client application and additional data in a more streamlined and faster method for your mobile device to help you close the sale faster. 

Virtual Base Shop

This is a tool to make your administrative duties paperless and manage them anywhere.

Shareholder Account Manager

If you’re investment licensed, this tool can come in handy to help you manage your client’s mutual funds investment.

Client Relationship Manager (CRM) Tool

This tool helps you organize your client data, appointments, follow-ups, account details and other relevant information.

Primerica sells marketing materials like business cards, brochures, stationery, web designing, and writing scripts services.

In addition, they email you weekly on the latest news on their products and services.

Is Primerica an Illegal Pyramid Scheme?

According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commissions), companies who promise large commissions based solely on recruiting people to join their membership are pyramid schemes.

They also go on to say that these companies don’t focus on the sale of real products to the public. Some companies claim they have a product and use it to hide their scheme. A lack of retail sales can be a “red flag” that a pyramid exists.

Want more information? Here’s a video on “How to Spot a Pyramid Scheme”…

So, Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme?

What do you think?

Here’s my take…

Primerica does have real products. They are insurance and financial service products.

Independent Contractors can make 95% commissions selling Primerica’s financial services, also there is no minimum requirement to sell life insurance.

While it’s wonderful to know you don’t have to purchase any of their products, I think the person who recruits you will “encourage” you to buy life insurance. After all, Primerica is an MLM company. 

Somewhere during my research, the FNA (Financial Needs Analysis) tool was discussed in Primerica’s fast start program. In that, they say that by purchasing a product like your own life insurance, you can earn points on it.

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Who is Primerica Suited For?

If you enjoy doing the following:

  • Cold Calls
  • Handle rejections
  • MLM
  • Knowledge of insurance and financial services or interested in learning about them

What I Like About Primerica

1. Cost is Reasonable

Primerica’s fees are very reasonable. It’s only $99 USD or $103.95 CDN which is a one-time fee for them to do a background check on you.

After that, it’s only $25 USD or $28 CDN a month to access their online tools and resources for your business. This includes your own personal website. Just be aware, you can’t take that site if you leave.

2. BBB Rating

Primerica has a very impressive rating of A+ from BBB with an average of 33 customer reviews. However, there are a total of 117 customer complaints which I’ll explain below under “What I Don’t Like” section.

BBB Rating on Primerica is A Plus

3. Not Required to Purchase Product. No Minimum Product Purchase

The good part is, unlike so many other MLM companies, you are not committed to purchasing a certain amount of products to maintain your business. There is no inventory.

However, I would exercise caution, your sponsor might be pushing you to purchase life insurance (in case you’re not interested).

4. Trained and Trusting Independent Contractors

Independent contractors undergo a background check before they are approved for the business opportunity. They also have to take courses to obtain their licenses and certification courses to sell Primerica’s insurance and financial services.

5. Refunds

Primerica Refunds

Once you pay your one-time fee of $99 and signed up for Primerica’s full-service online access, and the day you receive your “Solution Number” (no reference to what that means), you have 30 days to apply for your refund on your first monthly payment of $25 USD or $28 CDN.

From what I can see, your refund on your $99 USD or $103.95 CDN is a separate claim.

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What I Don’t Like About Primerica

1. Finding Information on Primerica Was Challenging

Honestly, I struggled to find information. Primerica does not even have a proper Income Disclosure Statement that shows what the average commissions are earned in each rank. Read #2.

If you look at Primerica’s website, they actually don’t tell you much and to me, it raises a “red flag”. The business “Opportunity” has limited information.

Take a good look for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.

2. Independent Contractors Are Not Making Much Money

I was able to find in their “Important Disclosures”, that they paid out an average of $6,069 to their independent contractors from January 1st to December 31, 2018. This includes its North American sales team.

From January 1 to December 31 2018 paid average of 6069 to independent contractors

This sum of money includes U.S and CDN dollars.

Quite frankly, just doing simple math $6,069/52 weeks is about $117 a week.

One person can’t even make a living on $6,069 in a whole year. I have no doubt that some people made more but this also tells me a vast majority of them made very little or nothing.

This image below is from January 1 to December 31, 2017, and the average is $6,030 that was paid out to Primerica’s independent contractors. It looks like the same people earned income.

From January 1 to Dec 31 2017 average paid of $6,030 to independent contractors

3. It’s Going To Take Awhile Before You Can Sell

There are certifications and exams you need to take to sell Primerica’s term life insurance products and their financial service products.

This will take some time. During my research, I found it could take around 3 months before you’re able to sell with relevant licenses.

This is actually a good thing especially for the consumers and it’s better to know what you’re talking about which will build trust.

4. BBB Has Lots of Customer Complaints

Although BBB shows a good rating of A+ for Primerica, there are 117 complaints which I think it’s worthwhile reading before you join. Click here to read them

BBB Complaint

Most of the complaints seem to be on refunds (coming up next) and payments are taken without approval.

5. Primerica is Not For Everyone

If you’re not interested in insurance and financial planning, taking a bunch of exams, or recruiting, Primerica is definitely not for you. It takes a certain type of mindset skills to have success on their platform.

Take note, that you only have U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico to do your business in.

6. Include Your Family and Friends in Your List

One of the first things requested is to have your friends and family in your list of names. 

Although Primerica is not a pyramid scheme, they still follow the ugly typical MLM pattern of recruiting people.

I have been involved with 3 MLM companies, in health products, candles, and skincare. Believe me, I know what it’s like when you start involving your friends and families.


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Hey Folks,

Thanks for reading my review of Primerica. I hope it was helpful. 

Are you a member or ex-member of Primerica? I would like to hear your thoughts about Primerica and how you’re doing with them.

Do you have any questions or comments? It would be awesome to hear from you.



8 thoughts on “Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme? (Get Out Of Debt?)”

  1. It’s definitely not a scam because it has been in the business for 40 years.

    Wow, I see there are some issues between the company and its agents/contractor. It’s not easy selling insurance or getting a referral. I don’t like the monthly access fee to their products and service. A bad seller would end up with a negative income because he/she paid a fee but was not able to generate an income. 

    Clearly, the real deal nowadays is affiliate marketing. Your income depends on how you work and not how a company limits your resources like Primerica. 

    Thanks for this review, I have a better idea now how Primerica really works.

    • You’re welcome and thanks for your comment.

      You’re absolutely correct… if you don’t make a sale, you will be in a negative amount situation. Primerica is best for people who really know the insurance and investment industry.


  2. Great review Monica,

    As a person who has experience in MLM back then, I’d say Primerica isn’t that different than most MLMs though such is Herbalife for instance. Their products are overpriced but they did that so that they can push their customers into becoming referrals which is their sole intention. 

    I remember meeting someone who sold all that he had so that he can become a member but after a year, he barely made $100 so he was beyond depressed, have you ever met anyone like that? Very sad to see a lot of people going down like this, I hope you review will help many beginners focus their time and efforts on something better, keep up the good work!

    • Hi Riaz,

      Actually yes, sadly I do know someone, a family member and she put a lot of money into an MLM company similar to Herbalife years ago and pursed family and friends. She lost a lot of the hard-earned money she had been saving for years.  To this day, she still has challenges making ends meet. This is why I research products and write reviews in earnest hope to help as many people as I can to not get scammed. 

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. I’ve come across a lot of MLM setups in my time and thankfully I’ve never really gone for one – I’m currently concentrating on internet marketing instead. 

    I am surprised that Primerica is so reasonably priced, as these types of companies usually charge over a thousand dollars just for a new member to get their foot in through the door. Did you see any success with their services?

  4. I have heard of Primerica.  I am glad to come across this article to read about what you had found out about Primerica. Currently looking around for good insurance.

    Even though Primerica is not a scam and a company that sells insurance and financial services products, I stay away from MLM companies because I find the payout is usually not sustainable.

    I have heard of affiliate marketing but never looked into it until now. I can see Wealthy Affiliate is a better platform to use for any marketer who wants to learn how to set up their own online business.

    Thank you for this detailed review article on Primerica. I still need to find a good insurance company so that’s my first priority. 

    • Hi,

      Thanks for reading my review of Primerica and I’m glad I was able to give you information on them to make your decision.

      I hope you find the right insurance company suitable for your needs.



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