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Update News for March 2008
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
Last month we discussed our latest plans for Critical Illness comparisons and there is nothing to add. If you did not read that bulletin you can click here:
The balance of this bulletin is a repeat from our U.S. bulletin and focuses on the progress of our forms technology. I would like to underline that this technology has been developed for BOTH the U.S. and Canada and the only reason that we have not populated the Canadian system with Canadian life company forms is because we have yet to receive any Canadian forms. Having noted that, I have had discussions with a small group of companies who have indicated they are willing to consider doing so.
As you can see from the expansion of companies in the U.S. bulletin, March will be a busy month entering additional U.S. company forms, but once that work is completed, we will be making a more determined effort to get Canadian companies in the system.
In the last week of February Genworth confirmed that they will be participating in Compulife's forms library. By mid-March the three Genworth companies will bring the total number of life companies to 18. A 19th is also in the process of being added and so we wonder, "Who will be number 20?" You can help - keep reading.
The following are the companies whose forms will be available in our forms library by the end of March:
American General Life Insurance
Banner Life Insurance
Centrian Life Insurance
Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Co
Genworth Life Insurance Company
Genworth Life Insurance Company of NY
North American Company for L & H
Pruco Life Insurance
Pruco Life Insurance of New Jersey
Reliastar Life Insurance Company
Reliastar Life Insurance Company of NY
Security Life Insurance of Denver
Savings Bank Life Insurance
Transamerica Financial Life Insurance
Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance
United States Life Insurance in New York
West Coast Life Insurance
Western Reserve Life Insurance
William Penn Life Insurance
If you have a company which you do business with, and they're not on the above list, WHY? Remember, this is FREE to the life company. It costs a life company NOTHING to have their forms available through Compulife.
All we ask from the company are two things. First, we need the current forms and a list of forms indicating the states that they are used in and how they are used (most companies have all this already). Second, and most important, we ask that the company put us on their email list to notify us whenever they add or make changes to their forms. Most companies already have bulletins on that subject and so we just need to get the same copy that they send to everyone else.
Life companies do not have to use our retrieval software in order to participate. Having said that, we are giving our forms retrieval software for FREE to any life insurance company that wants it (keep reading). At the very least we think life companies should consider having our technology as an alternate (backup) method for their agents to get forms. In case no one noticed, Florida just had an enormous power outage this month and I suspect that anyone with servers in Florida, were probably off-line during the outage. Compulife's technology can allow for multiple servers, in multiple locations, anywhere in the world. The best backups are completely redundant services.
While Compulife will not host forms for life companies (we do host for our own subscribers) we can direct life companies to Internet providers that can provide space and bandwidth for less than $100 per year - and we'll set it all up for the company - FREE. And because the data files that we provide companies are the same as the data files that we are already creating for our own subscribers- we can do all the maintenance for FREE. Or the company can do the maintenance or take over the maintenance anytime that they like. Sound to good to be true - JUST KEEP READING!
Many life companies don't realize this opportunity exists. You can do those companies a big favor by calling the company and asking why their forms are not in Compulife. Give them Bob Barney's phone number: (888) 798-3488. Alternately you can call Bob with the contact person. Either way, YOU need to let the company know how helpful it would be if you could get their forms through your Compulife program. I think if you let your company know which companies are on our current list, it will be hard for the company to argue why they shouldn't also participate.
Progress has gone very well with the web based version of our stand-alone forms software. The web version of "Go For Forms" allows an agent to obtain forms from a web site. We expect to have the web based software completed by the end of March. A lot of it is already up and running, so if you would like to take a sneak peek at the development version, call Bob Barney at 888-798-3488. Bob will be happy to give you a personal tour.
The new on-line software (written in PHP) preserves virtually all of the features, including look and feel, of the PC based software. The web based software includes our color coded class system. The list of forms is identical regardless of whether you're using the PC or web based version. We're very happy with how close the web version is to the PC version.
Of course the data files that currently list the forms for our PC based system are exactly the same as the data files that we use for the web based version. That means that all the data entry that we have been doing for the PC version is ready to go for the web based retrieval system. It also means that we have only one maintenance cycle to take care of both retrieval systems.
This dual use of data files is something that Compulife has been doing for our PC based and web based comparison software for almost 10 years. You can have a look back in time to see the first term4sale.com web page, from January 25, 1999. :
NOTE: archive.org is a fun site for those who want to see what popular web sites looked like in year past. Check it out.
In case you missed it, Compulife is providing the web based and PC based forms retrieval software for FREE to life insurance companies.
And for those companies that we have already entered forms for, it means that they can have both the retrieval software (web AND PC versions), and the ready made data files, for a complete turn-key solution. And if the company falls in love with our technology - we think it will be hard to resist - then they can take over the maintenance and share that with Compulife, or Compulife can keep doing the maintenance and share that with the company. And if Compulife does the maintenance there is no charge to the company for it.
One more time - that's all FREE as in NO CHARGE!
As I have spoken to subscribers about our concept of forms retrieval "freeware" many react that companies are not going to think it's any good if it's free. Some have told me that Compulife needs to charge companies for it.
Let me ask you a question closely related to forms. Why does Adobe provide its Acrobat reader for free? Is there something wrong with Adobe Acrobat? Think about it, virtually all the life companies provide forms that are produced to be read with Acrobat reader and the reader is FREE. Why do life companies use Adobe - wouldn't they be better off buying something that costs money? Do life companies think that Adobe software is bad because the reader is FREE?
Of course that's silly - there is absolutely nothing wrong with Adobe software. The freeware that Adobe provides was a strategic marketing move to get people to use Adobe software to produce documents - which is how Adobe makes money.
Here's a question for life insurance companies. Does the fact that we don't charge you to have your rates in Compulife concern you about the quality of our comparison software? Now any life company that has had any experience with Compulife has to look at that question and honestly say that our software is first class. So clearly the fact that we don't charge a life company to put their rates in our software does not mean our software is not good - it just means we are paid a different way.
Compulife makes money selling insurance comparison software. We've been doing it for 25 years and we are profitable. We have thousands of customers and we would like to add thousands more. Our job, in our 26th year of business, is to make our software more valuable to current and future subscribers.
For a long time subscribers have told us that they want forms retrieval for both our PC and web based comparison software. We listened and we are delivering. We have managed to develop what we believe is the best forms retrieval system available. The only thing we are now missing is the active participation of more life insurance companies. How do we get more life companies to use Compulife technology to deliver forms to agents? Simple - we give it away.
Think about it. Do life companies charge you to use their forms? Of course not. Consumers are not going to buy life insurance from you because of the method that you use to obtain a company's application form. Will your sales increase if you use our forms technology versus another method of getting forms - of course not. With that in mind, we find it hard to imagine why we should charge for a convenience service.
Does the ability to do life insurance comparisons make you money? You bet it does. Consumers buy life insurance from agents who use comparisons because consumers want to pay less for the products that they buy. It doesn't matter whether it's a toaster, gasoline or a new suit, consumers want to shop and get a good deal. Agents who do comparisons profit from using life insurance comparisons, they don't profit from how they get application forms.
To summarize - Compulife has been around for 25 years because comparison software makes our subscribers money and producing that software make us money. Life insurance companies that provide everything to their agents for free aren't going to provide comparison software because insurance comparisons are a two edged sword. Today it may help to sell a company's products but tomorrow it could be used to sell another company's products. Why would a life company want to give their agents free comparison software when it could be used to sell another company's products?
Of course a company or agency might give agents a limited comparison tool but you can be certain that the content is structured to make the products that they want the agent to sell look good - and there is nothing wrong with that. But that's not what Compulife is about. We don't make money based upon the sales that agents make.
And Compulife does not charge life companies to put their rates in Compulife - more FREE stuff. Why not? Because it would create a barrier for life companies to provide their rates to Compulife. Once again, that is NOT why agents buy Compulife.
Compulife makes money from agents and agencies who buy our software to have the most exhaustive, objective and unbiased comparison software in the market - something that no agent can expect any life insurance company or agency to pay for. If the agent is using FREE software from a source that makes money selling life insurance, that agent is going to be a mushroom (kept in the dark) in competition with the agent that uses Compulife. And for all we charge for comparison software it takes less that one extra sale every two years to pay for it.
So back to forms. Compulife is anxious to give agents and agencies one more reason to use our software.
The forms software development is rapidly coming to a conclusion and the only thing that we are missing are the companies that you sell for which have not yet provided us their forms. In that regard you have far more ability to persuade than we do. We think it is now up to you. If you want forms for a particular company, and it is not in the system, you need to pester the company to get them into the forms library.
Once work is completed on the on-line forms retrieval software, Compulife will be allowing our authorized web providers to have copies of the on-line forms retrieval software for their web sites. Our authorized web providers will be able to offer forms retrieval for web sites, providing that they only do so for those who are Compulife subscribers.
We will also give the forms technology to those subscribers who purchase and use the Compulife Internet engine for their own sites. As an Agency this is useful because your agents will be able to have forms available from any computer that has Internet access.
Agencies who purchase the Compulife Internet Engine will also be able to obtain the Forms Management Software. This will allow Agencies to add additional forms to the forms management system, for companies and products that Compulife doesn't provide.
For example, a lot of agencies sell mutual funds. Compulife will NOT have mutual funds forms in our software. But if you have the Compulife Forms Management Software you will be able to add the company to the list and create an inventory of that company's forms using our Forms Management Software. You may have your own agent contracts, instructions, etc.; they can all be added to your forms library. When you are done the Forms Management Software will create your own customized version of the forms library, including those companies you select from the Compulife forms library, and the combined forms library can be transferred to your web site.
To complete the deal, you will be given copies of Compulife's "Go For Forms" programs, both the PC and online version.
All of this will be free to any agency which buys our Internet engine. The Internet engine is sold for $995 per year and comes for use on either Linux or Windows NT servers.
But if all you need are the forms that Compulife provides, then your least expensive way to add forms and quotes to your web site is to sign up with one of our authorized web providers.