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The Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2018

Insurance, Life Insurance

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The Principal

  • Offers term, universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance
  • Solid financial strength ratings
  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 9 life insurance company (out of 18 evaluated)


The 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.

NerdWallet rank: 9th

Principal ranked No. 9 out of 18 large companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings take into account insurers’ A.M. Best ratings, consumer complaints and J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction scores.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

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 2015 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 National Life Insurance Co.’s score for individual life insurance in 2016 was zero. Principal Life Insurance Co.’s score for individual life insurance in 2016 was 0.11.

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.

Principal customer satisfaction scores
Overall satisfaction About average
Billing and payment About average
Price About average
Policy offerings About average
Interaction Among the best
Source: J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Life Insurance Study

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.