The October 2001 disk update will be processed Wednesday, September 26th and Thursday, September 27th. Disks will be shipped Friday, September 28th. You should have the October Update in your office Monday, October 1st.
The Internet monthly update will be posted on Friday, September 28th to our four monthly update websites.
Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your "August disks" ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed the September 2001 Update. August disks are your backup in case you should have problems installing the August edition.
For those not wanting to return disks there are two ways to eliminate the problem.
1. Switch to obtaining monthly updates by Internet.
Not only will you eliminate the expense and hassle of returning disks, you will save $50 per year in subscription fees (that will be an $80 per year savings starting January 1, 2002).
To switch to Internet monthly updates, call us at (800) 567-8376. We will send you an agreement called the "Internet Update Endorsement". Read it carefully, especially the part where you agree that you have successfully downloaded and processed our "mid-month updates". If you haven't done that before, call us and we'll be happy to take you through the procedure. It's easy.
2. Disk Purchase Program
The other way to avoid returning the disks and the disk box each month is to pre-purchase them for $21 per year ($1.75 per month). Once you do that you can keep them for future reference, throw them away or return them for a credit (once each year) when you are invoiced for the following year. $21 costs you less than mailing back disks each month.
Our programmers made some very nice changes to our Windows software this month.
Just like last month, the latest changes are not being provided with this monthly update. You can download the latest Windows version of the program from the mid-month updates at www.compulife.com. Last month we did the same thing and it was good that we did, given that there were some minor bugs in the software that we needed to repair.
The good news is that those who encountered the bugs were those who had downloaded from the mid-month website. Once we discovered and fixed the bugs, a replacement file was provided at the same mid-month website. Inconvenience was minimal. The process allows us to more broadly test the new software before placing it into general release to over 3,000 users.
Those who have been downloading the new Windows software will discover that we have made significant improvements to the look of the comparisons and single product printouts. Printouts have actually been improved in three separate parts of the program:
F2 Single Product Printouts
F3 Comparison Printouts
F5 Pick 5/11 Spreadsheet Summary Pages
F3 Comparison Printouts
F5 Pick 5/11 Spreadsheet Summary Pages
Each of these printouts now permits you to use proportional pitch fonts. This makes the printouts much more attractive. A great deal of time and care was spent making sure that columns were properly aligned and that information was placed in the right position on each page.
Having done that, we are also pleased to advise that we have now added a "font selection" feature to each of the above printouts. You can select the type of font that you want for comparisons and single products simply by going to the top of the respective window and clicking on "Print Options". Click on "Set Print Font".
Pick 5/11 summary page font selection can now be made from the "Print Style" page located in the "Style Options". The "Style Options" menu item is found in the top line of the Pick 5/11 Window. Once you have chosen "Style Options", then click on "Print Style".
With the Print Style windows displayed, look to the top left corner of the Window. There you will find "Select Item to Change Font". To the right of the current item, click the "down arrow" button to display the entire list of items which you can select fonts for.
At the bottom of the list of items to set font/colors for, you will find a new option called "Summary Page Body". This is where you can select a different font for the body of your summary page.
Fonts are individually selected for each of the above three printouts. For example, you could have an "Arial" font for the single product printouts and a "Times New Roman" font for the comparisons.
The summary page font can be recorded individually for each print style page.
Note: the "Arial" font is the default font if you do not select a different font.
To summarize, font selection is done from the "Print Options" menu choices located at the top of the comparison and single product windows. For the Pick 5/11 summary pages you change the fonts in the the Print Style Window.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While the font window allows you to select the font size, this has no impact on the actual font sizes used for these printouts. The program determines the space available and the maximum font size which can be used (to a pre-set limit which has been established by Compulife).
This new feature will be important as we had been receiving some complaints from customers when they used our previous Windows printouts.
For the sake of expediency, when converting our DOS modules to Windows, we had simply selected "fixed pitch" fonts as the default fonts. With that, we then used the same spacing logic previously embedded in our DOS software. However, not all Windows operating systems have the same range of font sizes for fixed pitch fonts. Because of this, for some systems, things might run off the page or the font size which was used was very tiny. All of this should be resolved with the new improvements.
As we discussed last month, the "Pick 11 Product List" window has two new buttons added. You can highlight a product on the list, and click the "Delete a product" button to delete that single product. You can also, when finished with the filing, click the "Go to pick 5" button to go directly to the "Pick 5/11 Policy Analysis" spreadsheet.
You will notice that the new Windows program loads much more quickly. The reason is that the program forms (screen images) now load only when needed. Before this they all loaded at the start-up of the program and this took time. We think you will find the program is now quicker, and for those concerned, uses less system resources (memory).
Once again, if you want these changes you will need to go to our mid- month update website at www.compulife.com in order to download the UPDATE3.CMP file which contains the latest Windows program. Because of the large volume of changes we have made, we want to test this version for another month. We will put it into general release for October.
a) Product Families - As we have explained before, the existing Compulife database can require two or three separate product entries to include the numerous "rate categories" which some products require. The existing system allows the entry of up to four rate categories for a single product; a maximum of two non-smoking and two smoking categories. This new enhancement will allow us to group multiple product entries which will give us an unlimited number of categories per product (family). To the user, this will appear as a single product entry with multiple categories. It will greatly simplify your use of our system and the lists of products should be less confusing.
b) Pick 12 - We are now moving forward with renovations to our Pick 5/11 which will become Pick 12. The existing "pick5.dat" file, which now contains your selected products, had some limitations attached to it. These prevented us from easily expanding the maximum number of products to 12.
Note: The limit will remain at 11 in DOS due to the printing limitations of fixed pitch fonts.
Pick 12 will also allow the filing of multi-life quotes into Pick 5. You will be able to print pages showing total premiums for all lives, and then subsequent pages for each individual life. Discounts, where available, will be be shown.
c) Enhanced Internet Updating - Compulife will be upgrading our Windows software to permit it to automatically search for open Internet connections, and then it will automatically check for both monthly and mid-month updates at our numerous websites. The system will divide our users among our various websites and servers to ensure a moderate traffic level for each server. It will also automatically check for alternate servers when connections fail or where download performance is deemed unacceptable.
d) Trials Available by Internet - Compulife is investing some programming time and energy into development of new software that will permit us to ship trials to subscribers by Internet. Until now a trial user was sent a box of disks and given a serial number. That trial serial number only permitted one installation of the disks. There is also a "time-out" function when the 30 days are over. We did not know how we were going to preserve those limitations, and still permit someone to use our trial for only 30 days.
We have now come up with the solution and we are testing the software now. The concept is relatively simple. When the perspective subscriber calls for their 30 day free trial, a program called "trial.exe" will be shipped to them by e-mail. Once they download the MONTHLY.CMP file from the Internet, TRIAL.EXE will process the MONTHLY.CMP file and let the system be used for 30 days. It will work just as a trial subscription works now.
The TRIAL.EXE that we send out will be personalized for the person in question. The TRIAL.EXE will only work with the current month's MONTHLY.CMP file. Trying to move the TRIAL.EXE to another computer, and downloading the following month's update, will not work. This preserves our security and ensures that a 30 day free trial remains free for only 30 days.
e) To make the process of shipping trials by Internet fully seamless, Compulife is now taking steps to place on the Internet all the documentation that a new user or existing user needs to have. This will include software examples, instructions, applications forms, license agreements, etc. This will be very helpful to new users, but we think it will also help streamline our service and support to our existing users.
If it appears that Compulife is moving more and more toward internet delivery of services, it's because we are. Having noted that, the Internet is still very flaky.
During August the "Code Red Worm" computer virus created real havoc and one of our Internet webproviders was hit harder than the others. Unfortunately this affected the operation of our www.term4sale.com website which happened at one of the most inopportune times.
On August 1, 2001 the "New York Times" did a story titled "Group Says Web Sites on Insurance Have Pitfalls". The story was based upon a study completed by the "Consumer Federation of America" who reviewed a number of insurance comparison websites. They were critical of many insurance websites but the group did like www.termforsale.com.
In its story the New York Times said:
"Term4sale, they said, provides the most comprehensive list of term
life insurance prices and makes its money not by selling insurance but
through the sale of software to agents and nominal fees from agents to
be listed on the site.
To get the best deal, the consumer advocates recommended going to
Term4Sale and two or three other sites to compare prices"
To get the best deal, the consumer advocates recommended going to Term4Sale and two or three other sites to compare prices"
Shortly after that article appeared, the "Code Red Worm" hit and our site was up and down intermittently. Needless to say, we were not too happy. This serves to underline the reason why we will not be relying upon the Internet for the production of quotes for our agent based software. We are happy to ship our software to you by Internet but once you have it you do not need the Internet in order to produce comparisons and quotes. Things will be staying that way. Other newspapers followed up on the website insurance story. We had reports of it appearing in the Miami Herald. It also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the title "Study suggests risk in Web insurance-shopping".
The Inquirer said:
"The report had special praise for several sites, in particular Term4Sale (www.term4sale.com), which it said was among the easiest to use and offered an especially complete list of carriers, including no- load insurers."
We think this confirms and validates what Compulife was attempting to do when we put together the www.term4sale.com concept. In that regard, each subscriber will be receiving more information about that, by mail, at the beginning of September. If you get your monthly update by disks, look for it with the update.
We would point out that Canadian subscribers, who are members of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada, can have a free listing at the Canadian version of www.term4sale.com. U.S. subscribers pay modest fees to be listed. There are currently over 3,000 zip code listings purchased by U.S. subscribers. By sharp contrast, there are ONLY 140 Canadian postal code listings (out of about 1,000 Canadian subcribers).
In the May Update Bulletin we advised you that on January 1, 2002 Compulife will increase prices for software which is updated monthly by disk. As long-time subscribers know, we have been lowering our prices for the past 5 years. During that time shipping costs have been increasing.
Now that our monthly updates though the Internet are working quite well, we prefer that our subscribers use that method of obtaining updates. Once again, prices for Internet subscriptions are not changing and we do not expect them to change in the near future. The new prices will be as follows:
|Agency Use||Updates by Disk||Updates by Internet|
|One Year Subscription||$379 ($349 prior to 2002)||$299|
|Two Year Subscription||$659 ($599 prior to 2002)||$499|
|Personal Use||Updates by Disk||Updates by Internet|
|One Year Subscription||$279 ($249 prior to 2002)||$199|
|Two Year Subscription||$459 ($399 prior to 2002)||$299|
|Compulife Lite **||Updates by Disk||Updates by Internet|
|One Year Subscription||$139 (was $99)||$99|
** NOTE re: Lite subscriptions
Sometime this summer Lite monthly updates will be made available through the Internet. Once Compulife makes Lite updates available through the Internet, the price for Lite updates by disk will increase to the above mentioned $139 per year. The $40 additional fee, versus the $90 additional fee for the regular and personal use system, reflects the fact that Lite software is shipped by regular mail as opposed to Priority Post.
Once Compulife's Lite subscriptions are available through the Internet, the above prices for Lite will take immediate affect. Those with a current Lite subscription will continue to receive disks at the old prices. There will be no change in service or price until the Lite subscription renews.
For agency and personal use subscribers who want to continue to receive updates by disk there will be a special standing offer until December 15, 2001. You can "top-up" existing subscriptions at the old price. If you act before December 15, 2001, you can add another one or two years to your subscription at the old prices.
Having said that, we suggest you act now, before the deadline as it is our experience that most people forget there is a deadline and then want Compulife to extend it. In this case, that will not be done.
Here is an example of the top-up opportunity:
If your personal use subscription is paid to May 31, 2002, and you act now you can add one more year for $249 or two more years for $399. If you didn't act by December 15th then you will receive your normal invoice in April 2002 for the new price of $279. You could elect at that time to pay a total of two years for $459.
If you receive that new invoice, at the higher price, don't forget that you can still elect at that time to switch over to Internet monthly updates and save $80 per year. The price for a personal use Internet subscription remains only $199.
Subscribers who are part way through a disk update subscription can switch to Internet and have their existing subscription extended based upon the time left and the price difference. Call Compulife at (800) 567-8376 for more specific information about your account.
We again underline the importance of using the mid-month update service. Companies are changing rates faster and faster all the time and so monthly updates are increasingly becoming stale shortly after they are issued.
Regardless of how you are obtaining your monthly updates, you need to carefully monitor our mid-month update service at www.compulife.com. This is a free service.
Check in at least once a week to see if there have been important changes. Each change made to the database during the month is itemized, documented and dated in the Mid-month update news.
For those who update by Internet, Compulife has gone to great lengths to provide you with redundancy in our websites. Our main website is:
However, we keep another completely separate website, on a completely different server, in a completely different country, at:
Whatever we update to compulife.com, we also update to compulife.cc. If one website goes down, for whatever reason, the other is ready to serve you. That includes both monthly and mid-month updates.
For those doing monthly updates by Internet, we have a third website standing at ready with the monthly updates ready. If you cannot obtain your monthly update from either compulife.com or compulife.cc, call our office at (800) 567-8376 and we'll tell you where the third site is.