Primerica primarily offers insurance and asset management services. The company offers term life insurance coverage written by affiliate Primerica Life Insurance to some 4 million customers in the US and Canada. It also offers serves as a broker of debt consolidation loans, investment and savings products, and long term care insurance through other underwriters. Taking pages from franchise and multi-level marketing playbooks, it markets its products to middle-income customers through a network of some 91,000 independent sales representatives. The company was a subsidiary of Citigroup until it was spun off in a $320 million IPO in 2010.
In addition to its 4.3 million insurance customers, the company serves 2 million investment accounts. Its broker-dealer subsidiaries, PFS Investments and PFSL Investments Canada, and some 22,000 of its independent representatives distribute investment and savings products, including mutual funds and fixed annuities. The actual products are supplied by such firms as Citigroup, Invesco, Legg Mason, and MetLife. Primerica also distributes a handful of specialty products including individual long-term care insurance, prepaid legal services, and referrals for other insurance products.
Primerica has structured its distribution model to attract part-time professionals and entrepreneurial types who are willing to build up face-to-face relationship with clients -- starting with their friends and families. They can also look forward to being rewarded with higher commissions as they recruit and supervise more part-time sales representatives. New recruits pay the company a fee for their training, and then must work to secure their license to sell insurance in their state or province.
Attracting new recruits has been a challenge due to economic conditions. In 2011 the company temporarily cut its licensing application fee in half -- to $50. However, the resulting bump in recruits failed to offset a decline in its licensed sales force. Nonetheless, the company is seeing modest sales growth from its newest products that can be issued faster, with a lower face values.
Citigroup began the separation of its insurance operations with Primerica's filing to go public in late 2009. All proceeds from Primerica's IPO (which raised nearly $100 million more than the company anticipated) went to Citigroup, which retained about a 40% stake in Primerica; Warburg Pincus held more than 25%. The spin-off was part of Citigroup's strategy to simplify its operations and refocus on banking after it took serious hits to its earnings during the mortgage and credit crisis of 2008. Following the spin-off, Citigroup steadily reduced its holdings in Primerica, until it finally sold the last of its shares at the end of 2011. Warburg Pincus retains a 25% stake. – less