Primerica, Inc.
Type Public (NYSEPRI)
Industry Financial Services
Founded February 10, 1977
Headquarters 3120 Breckinridge Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30099 United States
Key people John Addison, Co-CEO
Rick Williams, Co-CEO and COO
Glenn Williams, President
Products Term Life Insurance[1]
Mutual Funds
Segregated Funds
Variable Annuities
Managed Accounts
Long-Term Care Insurance
Legal Services
Car insurance
Homeowners Insurance
Credit Monitoring
Debt Management Plans
Revenue increase US $1.36 billion (2010)[2]
Net income increase US $257.8 million (2010)[3]
Total equity US $1.4 billion (2010)[2]
Owner(s) Warburg Pincus (22.5%)[4]
Ruane, Cunniff, and Goldfarb (5.1%)[4]
Equity Award Recipients (7%)[5]
Employees 1,797 (2010)[4]

Primerica, Inc. (NYSEPRI) is a referral marketer[6] of financial products and services using a hybrid model of direct selling, franchising and distribution.[1][7] [8]

Headquartered in unincorporated Gwinnett County, Georgia,[9][10] Primerica spun off from its former parent company Citi through an initial public offering on April 1, 2010. It is a financial services marketing organization in North America with 100,000 or more independent representatives,[11] including 22,000 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 6 licensed[1] through Primerica's securities broker-dealer affiliate PFS Investments, Inc. in the United States, and through PFSL Investments Canada Ltd. in Canada. The company focuses on the sale of term life insurance,[1] as well as providing various financial products and services through its affiliates that have been added over the years, including mutual funds, variable annuities, segregated funds, managed accounts, loans, long-term care insurance, pre-paid legal services, auto insurance, home insurance, credit monitoring and debt management plans. Its client base was in excess of 6.3 million as of 2010.[11]

Primerica conducts business principally in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Spain.



Founded in 1977 by Arthur L. Williams, Jr. as A.L. Williams & Associates (A.L. Williams), the company established its base by mass-marketing the concept of "Buy Term and Invest the Difference."[7] With "BTID" the company claimed its mostly middle-income client base could purchase sufficient protection with term life insurance and systematically save and invest in separate investment vehicles, such as mutual fund Individual Retirement Accounts.[1] A.L. Williams was initially established as a privately held general agency, at first selling term life insurance policies underwritten by Financial Assurance, Inc. (FAI).

The company expanded, outgrowing the capacity of FAI to process its business. In 1980, A.L. Williams entered into a contract with Boston-based Massachusetts Indemnity and Life Insurance Company (MILICO), a larger underwriter of life insurance, whose parent was PennCorp Financial Services based in Santa Monica. To support A.L. Williams headquartered in Atlanta, MILICO established a regional office in that city. In 1981, the company established First American National Corporation (later renamed The A.L. Williams Corporation) as a holding company for First American Life Insurance (later renamed A.L. Williams Life Insurance Company) and First American National Securities (later renamed PFS Investments, Inc). In 1982, The A.L. Williams Corporation (ALWC) underwrote a public stock offering, listed in the Over the Counter (OTC) market under the symbol ALWC. In 1983, the company became listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the same symbol.

Origin of "Primerica" name

PennCorp's growth due to MILICO's underwriting caught the attention of Bill Woodside, Chairman & CEO of American Can Company, a former Dow Jones 30 blue chip can and container producing company based in Greenwich, Connecticut founded in 1901.[12] Due to the growing rise of plastic as a replacement for aluminum cans, the company looked to acquire financial services providers and move away from the dying manufacturing industry, having acquired life insurance holding company Associated Madison from Gerry Tsai Jr in 1982. With this acquisition Woodside created a new financial services division for American Can and hired Tsai, who succeeded him as Chairman & CEO, as the new head. In September, 1982 American Can and PennCorp signed a merger agreement. In 1983 the merger was finalized, making American Can the parent company of PennCorp and MILICO, signing a new contract with ALWC through the year 2000. In 1986 Nelson Peltz's Triangle Industries bought American Can's packaging division, along with rights to the name of the company. Therefore on March 6, 1987 American Can announced that it would change its 86-year-old name to Primerica Corporation,[13] hence giving birth to the new and currently recognized name "Primerica."

Acquisition by Commercial Credit

The newly-named Primerica Corporation targeted Smith Barney as the first significant purchase that moved the company completely into financial services with the May 1987 announcement of its intent to buy the Wall Street brokerage for $750 million,[14] which would later end up as Primerica's sister company under Citigroup in 1998.[15]

In 1985 ALWC began the procedure to open business in Canada. After encountering legal and cultural roadblocks to expanding outside the United States, ALWC began selling insurance products of Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company, a Primerica subsidiary, in Canada in 1986.

On November 30, 1988 ALWC acquired MILICO from Primerica Corporation through a stock merger acquisition for 44.58 million shares of ALWC stock, making Primerica Corporation the majority shareholder of ALWC. In December 1988, Sandy Weill's Commercial Credit acquired Primerica Corporation for $1.54 billion, retaining the Primerica name. At this time, the major businesses under Primerica Corporation were A.L. Williams, Smith Barney and Commercial Credit. On February 6, 1989 Primerica Corporation began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Travelers and Citigroup era

In November, 1989, Primerica purchased the remaining 30% of ALWC that it did not previously own and the privately held General Agent, A.L. Williams, Inc. In 1991, Primerica Corporation changed the name of A.L. Williams to Primerica Financial Services. The following year MILICO, Primerica's life insurance underwriter, changed its name to Primerica Life Insurance Company, and its broker-dealer FANS changed to PFS Investments, Inc.[15]

In December 1993, Primerica acquired the remaining 73% of Travelers Insurance Corporation and adopted the name Travelers Inc., which was changed to Travelers Group the following year.[15] Travelers Group included Primerica Financial Services, Smith Barney, Travelers Life and Annuity, Travelers Property/Casualty, Commercial Credit and other financial businesses.

Joe Plumeri was Chairman & CEO of Primerica Financial Services from 1995 to 1999.[16][17][18] He ran PFS giving 10 to 20 speeches a week around the country, rallying salespeople, and hosting his own monthly TV talk show, which was beamed from PFS headquarters to agents nationwide.[19][20][21] He gave a five-hour speech at one meeting, pausing only to change his sweat-soaked shirt.[21] In 1998, Primerica had net income of $398 million on net sales of $1.65 billion, compared to a 1994 $209 million net income on net sales of $1.28 billion.[20]

In December 1997, Primerica announced it was going to begin offering pre-paid legal through Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., at the time both subsidiaries of Travelers Group, Inc.[22]

In 1998, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) censured and fined PFS Investments Inc., the securities arm for Primerica, for failure to properly supervise a group of registered representatives in Dearborn, Michigan. The SEC found that PFS Investments Inc. had failed to have in place effective policies and procedures to follow up adequately on three complaints received about the Dearborn registered representatives, "selling away" activities. Prior to the SEC's ruling, PFS Investments Inc. hired an independent consultant to review its supervisory and compliance policies and procedures to prevent and detect violations of the federal securities laws. By the date of the ruling, PFS Investments reported it had complied with the final recommendations made by the independent consultant.[23]

In 1998, Travelers Group and banking giant Citicorp merged creating Citigroup (NYSEC). Primerica and its affiliates continued to operate as subsidiaries of Citigroup, although the Travelers insurance business was spun off in 2002. Along with Primerica, other major brand names under Citigroup included Citibank, CitiFinancial, Citicorp Trust Bank, Smith Barney, and Banamex.

Long-time veteran executives John Addison and Rick Williams, whom Art Williams quoted in his book Coach as "two true sons of A.L. Williams",[24] were hired as co-CEOs in 2000, with Glen Williams promoted to President in 2005.


Official Atlanta Convention & Travel Bureau promotional banner for the Primerica 2007 Convention
55,000 representatives attend the 2007 convention at the Georgia Dome
View of the 2007 Convention Stage

Primerica held its 30th Anniversary Convention August 1, 2007 through August 4, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia in the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center.[25] An estimated 55,000 representatives attended. Primerica Secure was introduced at the event, as well as the newest term life insurance product, Custom Advantage. Notable speakers included former Chairman & CEO of Citigroup Charles Prince, founder of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Harland Stonecipher, as well as Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.[26]

Due to the general economic downturn and Citigroup's acceptance of government bailout funds totaling nearly $45 billion in 2008, in February 2009 its management decided to cancel Primerica's 2009 convention and a trip to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for top agents, days before the trip was to take place.[27] However, in spite of the cancellation, Primerica's executives in August 2009 announced the company was holding two new trips for top producers within the company to Maui and Las Vegas planned to occur back to back in February 2010. It was stated that the trips would be fully funded from Primerica profits, and that this justified the merits of the sales force.[28]

The company announced on June 17, 2010 that it will hold its biannual convention in the Georgia Dome June 15–18 in 2011.[29] This will mark the first time since its acquisition by the Primerica Corporation in 1990 the company has had one as an independent entity. It is expected to attract around 60,000 attendees.[30]

Separation from Citi

Citigroup attempted to sell Primerica in 2008,[31] having received several bids from life insurance companies and private equity firms interested in buying.[32][33] At the time the market value of the company was estimated to be $7 billion, roughly 15 times its annual earnings[34] and Citi was trying to match various bidders in groups that could bid for the unit together. Initially, a sale to JC Flowers & Co. LLC and Protective Life Corp was underway until the deal was canceled last minute for publicly undisclosed reasons.[35]

In May 2009 the Primerica executive team led by co-CEOs John Addison and Rick Williams approached private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. yet again, as well as Blackstone Group LP and TPG Inc [31] in a new attempt to have the company bought, a plan which Citigroup did not endorse.[36]

Initial Public Offering

On November 5, 2009 Citi announced that it intended to spin off Primerica through an initial public offering.[37] The Primerica executive and legal team filed an S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),[38] having officially publicly announced the intention of becoming a public company. Citi would claim all profit from the primary offering, as well as continue to receive income from a significant portion of existing Primerica business,[39] with Citi Holdings CEO Michael Corbit claiming the move to be "the best separation alternative for this franchise.[37]

Primerica filed a final amended S-1 and preliminary prospectus with the SEC on March 17, 2010, indicating that it will offer 18 million shares[40] to the public through the IPO, with underwriters having the option to purchase an additional 2.7 million shares. The first trading occurred on April 1, 2010. Initially, the expected share price was in the $12 – $14 range, having ended up being priced $15 a share on March 31, 2010,[41] resulting in Citi raising 27 percent or $30 million more than $290 million projected through the IPO by selling 3.36 million more shares than the anticipated 18 million.[42] The first day of trading saw the stock surge 31 percent to end up closing at $19.65 a share.[43] In a separate offering, Private equity firm Warburg Pincus has bought 17.2 million shares, resulting in a 23 percent stake in Primerica, and up to 33 percent if Warburg decides to exercise warrants to purchase an additional 4.3 million shares from Citi.[44] It is expected Citi will have a stake between 32 percent and 46 percent and will divest its interest in Primerica "as soon as possible"[45] to fulfill its original goal of raising cash by shedding assets to improve financial performance.


In 2005[46] Primerica representatives were able to begin using the TurboApps[47] application developed by the Primerica Field Technology team via Palm handheld devices,[48] allowing the insurance quotes to be obtained instantly and applications filled out electronically, effectively speeding up the underwriting process for Primerica Life.[49] In 2007 the electronic application process was extended to include the $.M.A.R.T. loan program.

In the summer of 2009, Primerica's IT department started rolling out its line of TurboApps software on the windows mobile platform. With this change, wireless submission of applications is now possible.[50]


Primerica's life insurance underwriter Primerica Life Insurance Company and its New York subsidiary National Benefit Life are rated A+ as "Superior" with an outlook of stable by A. M. Best as of June 2011.[51] Standard & Poor's has the company rated AA as "Very Strong."[52] The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, a non-profit organization based out of Bethesda, Maryland with the intent to create ethical standards for the insurance industry, has renewed qualification for Primerica Life and National Benefit Life for high standards and quality business, "continuing dedication to ethical business practices."[53]

In 2010, Primerica received a Dalbar Service Award from Dalbar, Inc., a client service rating organization, for Primerica's customer service in mutual funds.[54]

In 2009 the Better Business Bureau changed their rating system from “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” to an letter-based rating. Primerica received an A+ rating from the BBB, and is also a BBB Accredited Business since January 1, 1980.[55]


In 2010, Primerica has paid a total of $503,115,928 in compensation to their agents. These licensed Primerica agents, who are licensed in life insurance, each earned an average of $5,296 in compensation during 2010. The income level that an agent achieves varies based upon the licenses obtained, contract level at which the agent receives commissions and the amount of personal production and commission-based businesses written in the field as well as the size and activity of an agent's organization. This is also dependent on whether the agent is an RVP and is also licensed in securities, debt, and other financial parts of the company. Actual gross cash flow is, among other factors, dependent upon the size and scale of a representative’s organization, the number of sales and the override spread on each sale, and the ability of each of their agents.[56]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Company Overview"
  2. ^ a b "Primerica Reports Fourth Quarter 2010 Results". BusinessWire. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  3. ^ "". CNBC. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-02-09. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c PRI Ownership Primerica, Inc. Ownership
  5. ^ Primerica IPO prospectus
  6. ^ "Primerica Opportunity". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  7. ^ a b "Primerica IPO: Citigroup unwinds its far-flung empire". BloggingStocks. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  8. ^ Peter Schneider et al (2008-05-27). "COMMENT of PRIMERICA FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. on the REVISED NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING on the BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY RULE R511993". Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  9. ^ "Duluth city, Georgia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "Contact Us." Primerica. Retrieved on January 5, 2010. "Corporate Address Primerica, Inc. 3120 Breckinridge Blvd. Duluth, GA 30099 United States"
  11. ^ a b Primerica's History,
  12. ^ American Can Company - International Business Group
  13. ^ "American Can Picks a Name". The New York Times. 1987-03-07. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  14. ^ Perlman, Merrill (1987-05-31). "Week in business; primerica sharpens its financial focus". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  15. ^ a b c "Primerica Financial Services". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  16. ^ "Plumeri next Willis CEO; Former Citigroup executive to succeed Reeve". Business Insurance. October 2, 2000. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Willis chief discusses changes in financial services.(Willis Group Ltd. CEO Joseph J. Plumeri)(Interview)". Business Insurance. January 15, 2001. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Joseph J. Plumeri Profile". Forbes. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  19. ^ Bianco, Anthony (March 30, 1998). "Joe Plumeri: The Apostle of Life Insurance". Business Week. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Nash, Jeff (April 19, 1999). "The Chief Preacher: Joe Plumeri – Citibank Finds Sales Religion". Investment News. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Monica Langley (2004). Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . . and Then Nearly Lost It All. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743247264. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Primerica Financial Services to Offer Legal Plans Through Pre-paid Legal Services, Inc". Business Wire. 1997-12-19. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  23. ^ SEC Release No.40269 - July 28, 1998
  24. ^ Williams, Art; Karen Kassel Hutto (June 2006). Coach. Atlanta, Georgia: Art Williams Productions. ISBN 0-9786266-0-5. 
  25. ^ Primerica 2007 Georgia Dome event[dead link]
  26. ^ "Atlanta’s Largest Corporate Convention Raises Attendance" (PDF). Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  27. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (2009-02-06). "Citigroup scraps Primerica convention, Bahamas trip". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  28. ^ Chris Cotter (2009). (TV). Fox News. 
  29. ^ Schoolcraft, Lisa (2010-06-17). "Primerica convention returns to Atlanta". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  30. ^ Potts, Tony (2010-06-18). "Primerica Convention to Returns to Atlanta". Coosa Valley News. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  31. ^ a b Fineman, Josh (2009-01-15). "Primerica Said to Drop Citigroup References on Cards, Brochures". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  32. ^ Bansal, Paritosh (2008-06-06). "Citi gets initial bids for Primerica unit: sources". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  33. ^ "Primerica prepares to be taken off Citi's map". 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  34. ^ Wahba, Phil (2008-09-05). "Citi could sell Primerica, Texas business: Ladenburg's Bove". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  35. ^ Magpily, Gerald (2008-12-11). "Primerica sale is a bust for Citi". Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  36. ^ "Citi's Primerica seeks bids for marketing arm: report". Yahoo!. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-19. [dead link]
  37. ^ a b Barr, Alistair (2009-11-05). "Citigroup files for IPO of Primerica unit". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  38. ^ Kulikowski, Laurie (2009-11-09). "Citi's Primerica IPO Points to Strategy Shift". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  39. ^ "Citi Announces Filing of Registration Statement for Primerica IPO". Citi. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  40. ^ Moore, Michael (2010-03-17). "Primerica to Raise as Much as $290 Million in IPO (Update2)". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  41. ^ Sweet, Ken (2010-04-01). "Primerca's IPO Prices at $15/Share; Stock Surging". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 2010-04-01. [dead link]
  42. ^ Tsang, Michael (2010-03-31). "Primerica Raises $320 Million in IPO Selling Shares Above Range". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  43. ^ Tsang, Michael (2010-04-01). "Primerica Jumps on First Day After $320 Million IPO (Update3)". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  44. ^ "Citi's Primerica sets terms for $234 million IPO". Renaissance Capital. 2010-03-17.$234-million-IPO-7820.html. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  45. ^ "Citigroup To Sell Stake In Primerica". BusinessWeek. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  46. ^ Kairer, Ryan (2005-08-30). "Primerica Deploys 4,000 Palm Devices". Palm Infocenter. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  47. ^ "Primerica Financial Services Uses Palm Devices to Automate Insurance Application Review". Palm, Inc.. Retrieved 2007-10-13. [dead link]
  48. ^ "Primerica Runs Customized Financial Services Application on Palm Handhelds and Smartphones". Business Wire. 2005-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  49. ^ Sisk, Michael (2005-11-01). "Primerica Experiment in Insurance Pays Off". US Banker. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  50. ^ "Primerica Goes Mobile". Ask Primerica. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  51. ^ "A.M. Best Revises Outlook to Stable for Ratings of Primerica, Inc. and Its Subsidiaries". A. M. Best. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  52. ^ Primerica Life Standard & Poor's Rating
  53. ^ "Primerica Life, National Benefit Life Renew Qualification in IMSA, Ethical Standards Organization". News Blaze. March 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  54. ^ Whalen, Kathleen (2010-01-21). "DALBAR Announces Its 2009 Customer Service Award Winners in Financial Services". Dalbar. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  55. ^ "Better Business Bureau Accredited Business Report". BBB Better Business Bureau. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  56. ^ "Primerica Disclosures". Primerica. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 


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