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Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2018

Feb. 6, 2018
Insurance, Life Insurance
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at a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 9 life insurance company (out of 23 evaluated).
  • Offers term, universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance.
  • Solid financial strength ratings.


Principal Financial Group offers individual disability and life insurance as well as annuities, mutual funds and retirement plans. Principal also provides group insurance plans through employers, including critical illness, dental, disability, life and vision insurance.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

Find out more about each element that goes into our review of Principal by clicking below.

NerdWallet rank: 9th

Principal ranked No. 9 out of 23 large companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings take into account insurers’ A.M. Best financial strength ratings, the volume of consumer complaints to state regulators and J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction scores.

A.M. Best financial strength rating: A+ (superior)

Principal’s life insurance policies are issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co. and Principal Insurance Co. Both companies’ financial strength is “superior,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best.

Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims. It’s especially important when choosing a life insurance company, because claims might not be made until many decades after a policy is purchased.

Consumer complaints: Better than the median

Principal’s life insurance companies drew significantly fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators in 2017 for a company of its size, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The association assigns a complaint ratio score to insurance companies, based on the number of complaints to state insurance commissioners, adjusted for market share. The median score is 1. A score less than 1 means fewer complaints. Principal’s overall score for individual life insurance in 2017 was 0.07.

J.D. Power ratings: Generally Average

In a survey of customer service by J.D. Power published in 2017, Principal scored “among the best” companies for interaction with customers and “about average” in all other categories. Principal ranked No. 11 overall out of 24 insurers included in the survey.

Customer satisfaction category Principal's score
Overall satisfaction"About average"
Billing and payment"About average"
Price"About average"
Policy offerings"About average"
Interaction"Among the best"

More about Principal

Types of life insurance soldOther products & services
  • Term life
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal
  • Survivorship life insurance
  • Annuities
  • Disability insurance
  • Mutual funds
  • Retirement accounts
  • Workplace benefits

    Term life: Principal offers term options of one, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. The coverage can be converted to permanent life insurance.

    Permanent: Principal offers three types of permanent life insurance policies — universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance. Both universal and variable universal life give the flexibility to adjust premiums and the death benefit. Variable universal life provides greater opportunity for cash-value growth than universal life, but comes with risk for losses if the underlying investments perform poorly. Survivorship life insurance covers two lives, typically a married couple. The death benefit is paid after the second person dies.