• Report: #176005
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Mon, February 13, 2006
  • Updated: Sun, June 04, 2006

  • Reported By:Lewistown Pennsylvania
3120 Breckinridge Boulevard Duluth, Georgia U.S.A.

*UPDATE: Primerica gets a POSITIVE rating from Rip-off Report in customer support & satisfaction. Primerica pledges to resolve complaints from the past, present and in the future, and give 100% commitment to customer service-say Company Executives!

*Consumer Comment: Randy in North Hickory

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: A.W.Williams - Industry Impact, Change Agent

*Consumer Comment: Term rates are plummeting...keeping a term policy 17 years....

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: PFS product misconstrued, somehow

*Consumer Comment: You weren't ripped off

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My Husband and I have maintained a 20 year term life insurance policy with PRIMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY for 17 years.

In three more years, our policy would have been paid up, and we would have had the choice of either taking the money we invested in one lump sum, or using it as a paid up policy with no more premiums.

Because our children were having problems, and I also was having health problems, I forgot "ONE" payment. They cancelled our policy, and because of our newly required health problems, that are being handled carefully by our Doctor, they would not reinstate our policy, even after requesting, and receiving the payment they required.

Yes the payments were sent back to us, but now we are without insurance. We feel they did this because our policy was so close to term ,and they did not want to deal with giving back our money, or possibly paying the insurance if one or both of us dies. I understand business, but I feel very strongly, that after 17 years of a 20 year term life insurance policy, one late payment should have not cancelled our insurance.


Lewistown, Pennsylvania

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/13/2006 05:42 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/primerica-life-insurance-company/duluth-georgia-30099/primerica-life-insurance-company-ripoff-duluth-georgiaupdate-primerica-gets-a-positive-r-176005. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Randy in North Hickory

AUTHOR: Leroy - (U.S.A.)

Buy term and invest the rest along with the Theory of Decreasing Responsibility can work well for some people. However, the myths you repeated need rebuttal.

Companies were selling and specializing in term insurance before A.L. Williams ever suckered his first client. AIG, TransAmerica, Occidental and Jackson National Life were the low cost term leaders back then.

Your assertion that the only reason whole life was sold was because of greedy agents also doesn't stand up.

First of all, if after the agent had done the needs analysis the client said they could only spend $50 a month for life insurance, the commission to the agent become virtually the same no matter which way he went.

IN FACT, the agent had a financial incentive to sell the term insurance. He could make a commission then and make another a few years later when he began converting the term to whole life.

Secondly, the differences in premium between term and whole life were not as great as they are now...so when you layed the two next to each other
the whole life looked much better in comparison tan it does now. This was especially true in the 1970s and early 80s when the stock market sucked and insurance companies were guaranteeing 6% in cash values and illustrationg 9-10% with dividends and/or excess interest.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

A.W.Williams - Industry Impact, Change Agent

AUTHOR: Randy - (U.S.A.)

I purchased a Term Policy in 1985, after a Rep from the A.L.Willams company explained the "Buy Term and Invest the Difference" to me. I prior to that time had purchased a Whole life policy which had been upgraded to a Universal Life Policy.

The arguments I find made by a majority of those who attach either A.L.Williams or Primerica are competing Life Agents or those who have a vested interest or association with the "Cash Value" industry.

The bottom line is, Aurthor Williams changed an industry that needed a serious overhaul. Many current agents in the industry argue the cost of Term insurance from the then AL Williams or the now Primerica.....but, bottom line, when I bought my policy from the whole life industry as most people found during the 80's and before, that the majority of majority of life insurance agents in the whole life industry didn't offer that as as alternative during the sales process. Why? Greed and self interest (high commissions and personal affluence), they could have sold you a term policy for much less with more coverage but they didn't......because the commissions were drastically less.

So to see all the increased advertizing in the media over the last 20 years about Term Insurance, is truely a testament that Art was right.....Term is the way to go. The concept was right and still is, my kids are grown, my house is almost paid for, my debts are paid off, and the need for life insurance is nearly nonexistant at this point... why... because I bought term and invested the difference. Thank you Art Williams.

Former Agent and Believer and testament that Buy Term and Invest the Difference worked.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Term rates are plummeting...keeping a term policy 17 years....

AUTHOR: Leroy - (U.S.A.)

Term rates have been plummetting. Keeping the same term policy over the last 17 years wasn't a good idea in the first place.

A recent study by the Insurance Information Institute shows how drastic the drop in term rates have been.

Look how the rates for a 40 year old standard risk nonsmoking male, $500,000, 20 year level term have dropped;

1995 $1050
2004 $ 715
2005 $ 660

As long as you are healthy you should reshop your term insurance every few years anyway. The advantage is you can continue to lengthen out your policy without paying more premium OR you can continually up your coverage without paying more premium, even as you age.

If you bought term insurance from any carrier and you paid more than preferred rates , you should reshop your term. Medical advances have lessened the underwriting classifications on many conditions. Many conditions that that used to be penalized or declined can now rated standard, like diabetes. Many things that cauised you in the past to get standard rates can now be reclassified as preferred. For example both high blood pressure and high cholesterol can still qualify for preferred rates if controlled with medication. Obesity is another condition where undwerwriting has changed greatly.

If you were turned down in the past by any carrier for cancer or heart conditions which are now controlled you should try again. Many companies will now take cancer survivors of 5 years whereas in the past they wouldn't even consider them.

Of course if you bought a PRIMERICA policy at anytime you should reshop it immediately. If you are in any of the following categories you should REALLY reshop it immediately;

1.) female of any age or health, smoker or non-smoker
2.) smoker in good health
3.) have high blood pressure or high cholesterol controlled with medication.
4.) chubby

Word of caution.......don't go ask your local Allstate, AAA, State Farm or Farmers agent about any of this. They are limited to selling only for one company. You need to talk to an independent agent. If you want to make sure the independent agent doesn't voluntarily just sell for one company so he can win golf trips to Hawaii, ask him if he has software that quotes different companies. If he is serious about giving you the best deal possible he will have that software or access to it. I only pay $199 a year for software that quotes several hundred companies and updates itself every two weeks.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

PFS product misconstrued, somehow

AUTHOR: Anthony - (U.S.A.)


I empathize with you, and I know you're angry but somehow you've misconstrued how this particular PFS product works or were somehow misled. I'm familiar with the 20-year level term product you likely brought and it does not become paid up in 20 years. PFS when it was A.L. Williams use to sell a 15-year Level product (with MILICO, which is what is likely on your 20 year policy) with a high first year premium, and then in subsequent years the difference would be invested into an annuity. This product may have still been around during the time frame in which you purchased your insurance. However, you would have been receiving regular statements on the annuities value, and it should be separate from the insurance. At the end of the 20 year Term the policy is not paid up but usually converts to Annual Renewal Term (ART) in which the premiums go up every year, and in your case the premium would jump to the ART at your attained age. Or you could convert it to at the time a Decreasing Term Product, in which the Face amount would gradually decrease. I don't even know if PFS still markets this product.

Unless the agent opened an investment like a Mutual fund or an annuity at the time you took out your policy there would have been no money to collect at the end of 20 years. So I'm afraid you would have been in for a rude awakening in 3 years had you kept the policy. I would contact the agent who sold it to you if he/she is still in the business (unlikely given the turnover rate of the industry). Or contact the local office. If you have proof that you were misled I would contact your local insurance board. I'm not a PFS defender by any means; however I would suspect that you're not alone and that there are lots of other people that may think the way you do about their policies. Over the next 4-5 years a lot of PFS 20 year level term policies will be reaching the end of their term, if the agents did not do a good job of investing for the clients, there will probably be a lot more complaints of this nature on this web-site.

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#5 Consumer Comment

You weren't ripped off

AUTHOR: Leroy - (U.S.A.)

You weren't ripped off by Primerica. If you read the other threads here about Primerica you will see my name very often taking primerica to task for the many rotten things they do....but this ain't one of them.

Term policies have NO CASH VALUE. It was not going to endow and pay you a lump sum in 3 more years. Term insurance is like car insurance. If you buy a 6-month policy from Allstate and you are not lucky enough to crash your car in that 6 months, the policy expires with no value and you get a new one. Term insurance works the exact same way except you pay for it for 20 years before it expires with no value.

Possibly one of the 1000s of untrained people primerica had selling policies purposely explained the policy wrong to you to get a sale...however I doubt it. Since what you are talking about is called a 20 year Endowment policy, and primerica since its birth has been on a jihad telling the world all cash value insurance is evil no matter what the product or circumstances, its hard to imagine they had an agent telling clients they were buying 20 year Endowment policies.

The wording in policies regarding missed payments is pretty clear. Furthermore, State Insurance Commissioners make sure that who is offered and who is not offered reinstatement comes under very clear guidelines and must remain absolutely consistent within a company. Therefore its very unlikely Primerica looked at your situation and said, "she is 17 years into this so lets make sure we dump her". Apparently you didn't get your policy reinstated in time according to the language in the contract.

MOST of the companies I deal with are far more lenient than primerica has appeared to have been with you about allowing reinstatement immediately after the mandatory 31-day grace period has expired, however, the guidelines they have are cleared with our State Insurance Commissioner (by the way, John Garamendi, our State Insurance Commissioner is as strong as an ox but not quite as smart).

What really was going to happen with your policy in 3 years was that there were going to offer to renew it for you at a much higher price.

You are a perfect example of why term insurance should have a conversion option to a good whole life or universal life. Sometimes illness strikes along the way and having a policy that will last til death at the same price all of a sudden becomes very attractive.
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