Oct 28 2006, 11:43 AM
This is an incredulous story that I’m about to relate. I’ll get to the background and then the shocking part:
I’ve been a member of a mostly techie web site called BroadbandReports.com, also known as DSLReports.com for about five years now. I’ve been a member in good standing, never spammed the discussion forums and, while often held a contrary view on property taxes and was somewhat notorious for that, never got into a clash with the board’s management because of my views on taxation. Same goes for religion. I was able to express some pretty “radical” views without censorship.
Then one day, I responded to a thread about some Wal-Mart employees who walked off the job because they didn’t like some new policy that the management had implemented. One person lamented that Wal-Mart was the only job in town and that those people had nowhere else to find a job.
I chimed in that perhaps those displaced employees would be better off if they all went to work for Primerica, a business opportunity where one works in business for themselves. Well, to my surprise, the software that runs the forum has “Primerica” in its list of keywords to censor the entire post, delay it and mark it for moderation.
I was rather angry about that and wrote the moderators to tell them how I felt, as a longtime BBR member in good standing, suddenly being treated as if they had discovered me to be a Nazi party member.
Furthermore, the replies given were full of patently false accusations, stating that Primerica was a scam, that I was just a loser and a low man on the totem pole, etc. All my attempts to respond publicly in that thread with facts from the government regulatory agencies that refute these lies, were censored and blocked/deleted.
My response included the statement that if they wanted to know the truth about Primerica, they should visit the NASD and Better Business Bureau sites, as well as A.M. Best, Standard & Poors, Moody, etc., for the accurate facts.
Primerica has a lot of enemies in the traditional Whole/Universal Life insurance industry. There are several web sites that are produced by a man from the competing insurance industry, and he makes a bunch of half-true statements, and provides no facts to substantiate the claims made.
The other ‘enemies’ are the many people who dipped their toes in the Primerica waters, didn’t have the discipline or the initiative to do what it takes (statistic: only 19% of people who join Primerica ever get their life insurance license) to be successful in the business who go on public forums and whine about how it’s “a pyramid scheme,” “a ripoff,” “taking advantage of poor people,” etc., ad nauseum.
The whole matter is, any idiot can put up a web site. The information can be totally false, and since the web is largely unregulated, there’s very little that can be done about it.
Getting back to the BroadbandReports.com site putting me on watch (they hate spammers with a passion and I don’t blame them) as a regular contributor to their forums who has never spammed their forums, I found the action to be knee-jerk and extremely unfair. But then, it’s their site. For now.
I’ve resolved that one of the things I will do when I start to make the really big money is that I will buy or takeover the stocks, if the site’s management company is publicly-traded by then, or the web site, and put up the truth about Primerica in prominent places all over the site. It will remain as it was, but I will take that former liar of a site whose bias and lack of integrity suggests ulterior motives and alignments with unfavorable parties and sweep out the lies, disinformation and innuendos and place the truth prominently on the front page.
Before I got involved with this company, I investigated it to a deeper level than most people do. I was a person who had been burned by MLMs before. I’d been in Amway, and later, some 3D camera outfit. Talk about pyramid schemes!
When I found Primerica, I learned that it’s a blue-chip company, part of the CitiGroup Financial companies, which include a lot of prestigious firms, such as Smith-Barney. The company has over a trillion dollars in assets. Somehow that doesn’t come across as a scam company. They’re highly rated with numerous independent financial institution ratings firms, and I verified that by doing my own research.
The compensation structure is really clever. It motivates representatives to build the business, and rewards them handsomely for doing so. The structure is similar to real estate and even the competing insurance industry. We get paid by the companies we place business with. Not from the people we hire. Every check comes from the corporation. We do get overrides from the business that people we hire do, but that’s our payment for training those people and bringing them on board. It’s perfectly legitimate and honest. And it’s a great income once you’ve built up your team. There is direct income plus residual income from the business your team does. So the larger the team, the more leverage you have for earning money.
The thing that really brought me on board was the education I received on life insurance. The more I learned about how the various policies work, and seeing how Primerica only offers Term insurance, the more I understood how the Whole Life/Universal Life policies were such a huge ripoff.
Conventional insurance policies like Whole Life have a savings vehicle built into the policy. The insurance companies make a lot of commission money off these policies because although the company gets a 12% return on the investments, they keep about three-quarters of that money and pay the client about 2-3% on the interest.
Another thing is that no interest is earned for the first two years. And when the client borrows his own money, he has to pay interest to the insurance company! But the thing that made me want to throw a book at the wall was this: when the insured person dies, the cash value saved up in that policy goes back to the insurance company! Only the death benefit is paid. And as an adjunct, if some of the cash value is out on “loan”, the beneficiary receives the death benefit minus the loan amount and interest due! What a ripoff!
There are so many things wrong with the traditional insurance industry that it could fill a book or two. I was reading an article on one of my radio journals about Nikola Tesla versus Thomas Edison. Their rivalry was fierce—when Tesla demonstrated his superior AC power generating system, Edision staged electrocution of live animals in front of the public, in an attempt to discredit Tesla’s AC theory. Clearly, Tesla’s work was superior, and eventually became the standard for power distribution around the world. But Edison even stole credit for that!
Now I liken Primerica to the rest of the industry in the same manner. The industry is like Edison—established, had the whole racket to themselves and were making excessive profits by nefarious sales practices and hidden disclosures, while ripping the clients off. When A.L. Williams founded Primerica in 1977, he started a new revolution of “Buy term and invest the difference”. It took off, and took a lot of business away from the fatcat insurance industry. And that’s where the smear campaign began. The insurance industry is guilty of Ayn Rand’s “biggest sin”:: hating the good for being the good. Hating the efficatious for their achievement.
I feel pretty good about this business. For me, it’s not easy. I have many personal obstacles to overcome, but the reality I see around me is that people are getting big checks every day. I was at a Filipino market last night and bumped into a young lady from my office and she told me that she had just sold a $1,000,000 life insurance policy to a doctor, saved him a lot of money over his old Universal Life policy and earned a $13,000 commission. Not bad for an hour’s work!
I’m drooling over the smorgasbord of profit centers in Primerica. The more licenses I acquire, the more types of business I can transact. Securities is a big income earner. The biggest commissions are there. Right now, I can write mortgages and loans and produce life insurance policies. I have yet to study for and take the test for the securities licenses. But that is my intent. For now, I am learning the business and to improve myself, because to make it in this business, you can’ t be a misanthropic xenophobe, like I was for so many years. I’m learning to change myself, so that I can open new opportunities for myself. Primerica has been a learning experience and a self-improvement program with a real incentive to succeed.
And now that there are so many people who call me a fool for joining that company, I am angry and motivated to succeed, so my ego-driven desire to show them by example is one of my strongest motivators now. I can’t wait until the day when I buy their web site and reverse all the lies and remove the Primerica censorship. That will be a sweet day.