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Shopping for life insurance, you have a lot of options to explore, whether its the breadth of insurance companies or the variety of products they sell. When it comes to dealing with a multi-level management company like World Financial Group, it pays to be aware of their heavy emphasis on recruitment over all else. This way you don’t find yourself roped into an unexpected business opportunity when all you wanted was a solid life insurance policy.

What WFG Actually Sells

On their website, World Financial Group markets itself as a resource dedicated to providing middle class, everyday people with the tools and savings vehicles to protect themselves and their families for the future.

They offer this security through policies sold in partnership with the insurance company, Transamerica.

The Transamerica backed products WFG sells include:

  • Insurance Protection
  • Retirement Strategies
  • Legacy Strategies
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Business Solutions

The products offered are life insurance policies, investment vehicles for retirement solutions, mutual funds, and group insurance/benefits plans for businesses. WFG serves as a boilerplate outlet for Transamerica to sell its variety of services. As an insurance provider, Transamerica is rated highly, but even selling generally reputable products may not take away from World Financial Group’s otherwise unsavory reputation.

Is Transamerica Life Insurance Affordable?

Regardless of the prevailing opinion behind World Financial Group, Transamerica is a legitimate company who offers a solid life insurance product to the marketplace. However, Transamerica’s term life insurance product can be 25%+ more expensive when compared to other competitors, as seen below.

20 Year Term (Medical Exam Required)30 Year Term (Medical Exam Required)
BannerLife$14.85$22.84
Protective$15.08$25.51
AIG American General$16.93$24.45
Transamerica$19.09$25.89

Rates above are an example only. Rates shown are for a 44-year-old, non-smoker male in California in perfect health for $100,000 policies requiring a health exam.

Emphasis on Recruitment

In World Financial Group’s System Manual, the word “sell” is used pretty sparingly, 14 times to be exact.

Instead, WFG uses its nearly 60 pages to detail its intricate system for recruitment.

While it may seem like WFG aims to sell Transamerica policies, it places a much higher emphasis on the need to recruit people to sell those policies instead. In both their systems and leadership manuals their guiding principles are the Law of Averages, that a mass of recruits performing at the average level will help “superstars” stand out, and the Law of High Numbers, a high volume of recruits increases your chances for success and helps you find the best. Essentially, it’s a numbers game, where they want to find high performers and get the most from them while having a strong base of average performers.

This may account for the varying quality in agents that some online reviews from customers identify. An emphasis on bringing people on and a revolving door of agents and associates certainly leaves room for a knowledge gap about the company’s policies and products.

Along these lines, World Financial Group doesn’t require their recruits to buy policies to become part of WFG. But, this also doesn’t take into account the $100 administrative fee that must be paid in order to get their educational materials (as noted in their Napkin Pitch video) and learn WFG’s very specific selling strategies.

They also work under the assumption that many recruits ultimately won’t work out. This explains the heavy emphasis on consistent cycles of recruitment which assures they’ll constantly have new recruits coming into the fold.

Picking Up the Pace

Joining WFG is also framed as a being as low of a commitment as possible. They sell it as the kind of “opportunity” you can do part-time until it starts to finally pay dividends. Their manuals encourage members to frame it as a way to achieve dreams of achieving the lifestyle you’ve always wanted, a common tactic when it comes to an MLM.

With dollar signs in your eyes, they then try and get you to recruit three more people within 72 hours. In a perfect world, this would allow them to grow exponentially. They call this process taprooting. This is where higher level associates encourage high performing new recruits to dig three or four layers deep, ideally creating a lucrative upline of revenue.

They also refer to this taprooting process as the “3-3-30 Strategy.” This boils down to a trainee bringing on three new recruits and either observing or making three sales over the course of 30 days. It facilitates what they call a “Fast Start,” which hooks new recruits early on, helping to establish their own leg before they have time to question it.

Their system is all about building up momentum so associates will keep going, selling policies and hoping to eventually start seeing more and more of the commissions, if they can create the upline.

Pitfalls of Operating as an MLM

World Financial Group’s structure as an MLM means that as more people join, it’s harder to actually turn a profit. It’s a cycle that only works when there are constantly people down the line ponying up their own money in hopes of making more, instead of lining the pockets of everyone above them.

Implementing what is known as “network marketing,” your success in an MLM hinges on the need to recruit people who will, in turn, recruit people who will also recruit people. It may sound like a foolproof plan to some, but it’s pretty difficult to keep people motivated when they aren’t actually turning the kind of profits they were promised when they joined.

It’s one of the biggest pitfalls you run into working for an MLM, whether it’s WFG or Primerica. This accounts for WFG’s noted high levels of turnover and means more recruiting is necessary for those who actually want to keep making money.

Why Does WFG Have Such A Bad Reputation Online?

This all brings us to why World Financial Group has such a negative reputation online, even if they are backed by Transamerica’s generally reputable insurance policies and financial solutions.

Their intense recruiting tactic and high levels of turnover contribute to this less stellar reputation. This, coupled with a number of testimonials from former associates, corroborate that the atmosphere is far more focused on recruiting and even bring to light the notion that most associates aren’t set up to succeed. One Glassdoor review, in particular, noted that associates don’t get any part of their commissions until they are licensed, yet WFG notes that less than half the associates they bring in ultimately get licensed. This means that those commissions just go directly up the line instead of to the person who made the actual sale.

Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong going with the Transamerica policies and financial vehicles World Financial Group is selling. Instead, it’s important to be aware of the sales and recruiting tactics their many agents utilize, not to mention the varying levels of knowledge they actually have when it comes to the policies they’re selling.

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About Luke Kinton

In additional to his background in marketing, sales, and web design, Luke brings an impressive range of financial and insurance experience to his role as marketing and communications director at True Blue Life Insurance.

A licensed insurance producer in life/health/property/casualty, Luke also has FINRA Registered Series 6 and 63 certifications. As a Six Sigma Green Belt and Certified Market Research Associate, he takes user content to a new level of professionalism.