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Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2019

Jan. 2, 2019
Insurance, Life Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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at a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 7 life insurance company.
  • Offers term, universal, indexed 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: 7th

Principal ranked No. 7 out of the 20 best life insurance 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 ratings. NerdWallet scores national life insurance companies that sell policies to individuals.

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 companies of their 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 0.06.

J.D. Power ratings: Average

In a survey of customer service by J.D. Power published in 2018, Principal scored “about average” across all five categories. Principal ranked No. 13 overall out of 23 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"About average"

More about Principal

Types of life insurance soldOther products & services
  • Term life.
  • Indexed universal life.
  • Universal life.
  • Variable universal life.
  • Survivorship life.
  • 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 four types of permanent life insurance — universal, indexed universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance. All the universal life policies give the flexibility to adjust premiums and the death benefit. The cash value growth for indexed universal life insurance is linked to a stock market index. Variable universal life provides greater opportunity for cash-value growth, 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.