Most clients naturally assume that if they’re signing an illustration with the Principal name and logo on it, then they must be buying a life insurance policy from the same company that runs the TV ads with Eddie. They recognize the name and trust it. But chances are good that they’re actually buying a life insurance policy from Principal National Life Insurance Company, a small and fairly new subsidiary of the Principal Life Insurance Company. As it turns out, many life insurance companies write policies through subsidiaries and sometimes the primary name-bearing life insurers are subsidiaries themselves. If you take captives into account, it’s actually pretty difficult to figure out what contractual relation (if any) a particular policy has to the big, name-bearing life insurer. Do subsidiaries have the potential to negatively impact policyholders? I think it’s an open question that’s well worth exploring.