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Update News for June 2016
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.
Jeremiah has been continuing to work very hard to bring the responsive web page changes that he has made to the Canadian Compulife Mobile Edition, to the Web Quote option so that our subscribers who buy the web quote option ($96 per year) can have those improvement for their website quotes.
The older pages and templates will remain for those who want them. If you have designed your site to work with the old pages, you don't need to do anything. It will continue to work as it did before.
NOTE: One exception to this applies to those who have the consumers ID option. We have moved the web quoting system to a new server, with now has an SSL security certificate. Even though the server is with the same provider, GoDaddy, the new server handles .php code differently, and this affects the consumer ID option. If you are using the consumer ID option, please test it to ensure that it is working. If not, contact us by calling (800) 798-3488 or emailing us at email@example.com. One line of code must be changed for those having a problem with this option.
For those agents who want to obtain and use the new version, you can see a preview of the new version here:www.termsampler.ca.
The BIG benefit of the responsive pages are for those agents who want to simply create a frame (box) on their web page, and have the Compulife page display in that frame. You will now be able to do that much more easily as the quote result page is fully responsive and will fit the frame (box).
More important: If you design/modify your site/page to be responsive, in order to make it look better on a phone or small tablet, you can do that and the space you allocate for Compulife will also be responsive.
The big benefit is that you no longer have to place the life insurance quote page on your site in order to customize the content around that quote form. If you want, you can simply display the frame, and call the quote page from our server, which can then display in the box. However, if you want to modify/change the page, then you can still place the initial quote request page on your server and change it in any way that you want. Needless to say, for those adding the quote system for the first time, things will be much easier than they were before.
NOTE: You will still need to leave enough space in the frame so that the quote looks decent; you can't display a quote on a postage stamp. Typically you want the frame size to be what would display nicely on a phone (with nothing next to it). Take a look at what we did at www.termsale.com, on the home page. The Term4Sale quote pages are not yet responsive but will be responsive once the work on the web quote pages is all finished.
All of the options to the web quote option are also upgraded to the new responsive pages. You will find the various options to the web quotes here: www.termsample.ca.
If you do not currently use the Compulife web quote option on your site, then you can do so for 4 months for FREE, with no obligation to buy it at the end of 4 months. It you want the 4 free months, send an email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month Jeremiah upgraded those with the previous version of the Compulife Mobile Edition, to the new version of the Compulife Basic Edition. The Compulife Basic Edition is FREE with your existing subscription to Compulife.
If you do not currently have the Compulife Basic Edition activated, please complete the following applicaton form. Remember, it's FREE:
Included with the FREE upgrade:
*NOTE: Company logos are available for use by agents on their sites, because we expect agents to quote ONLY those companies who they have been appointed with. Naturally, if a company has appointed you to sell their products, we assume that you have permission to use the company logo. By contrast, Compulife does NOT have logos at www.term4sale.ca because that site does not sell insurance, and we are not contracted with, or appointed by, any life insurance company.
Individual agents can now buy the Compulife Basic Edition for the stand-alone price of $96 per year. 10% and 20% discounts apply for those who want to pay 2 or 3 years in advance. Those who buy the Basic edition can get 3 listings at www.term4sale.ca for an additional $72 per year. Alternatively, if the Compulife Basic Edition customer wants a quoting system for their website, they can get that and 3 postal codes for only an additional $168 per year.
IMPORTANT: Standard License subscribers have had the maximum number of Compulife Basic devices increased from 5 to 12. They are also allowed to give links to their Compulife Basic Edition to their agent/brokers. If you are a Standard License subscriber, and need more information, please call or email us at:
If you are a personal use subscriber, but would like to provide a quoting system to fellow brokers, you can upgrade to a standard license.
VERY IMPORTANT: Standard License subscribers are now allowed to purchase additional access to the Basic edition for more of their brokers. The initial cost is $300 for 25 additional agent users. If you are interested in that, contact us:
Every day I still use a software program called Wordstar, which I first purchased over 30 years ago. I bought the latest DOS copy of that software in 1987. I had actually been using Wordstar for about 5 years, having bought a copy for CP/M; a pre-DOS operating system. Yep, I'm still running the DOS copy and it evern runs in Windows 10 just as Compulife does. Needless to say I don't need upgrades to Wordstar to be able to continue to benefit from what that software does for me.
Some will think that makes me a dinosaur but for those who do you need to read this article which I found after I wrote that paragraph:
US military uses 8-inch floppy disks to coordinate nuclear force operations
Compulife never provided software on 8" disks. We looked into it at the time but decided 8" was on the way out and that we should focus on the latest 5 1/4" technology. As a side note to the military, we would suggest upgrading to the 3 1/2" disks. Much more convenient. Also, I have a number of used diskettes for sale (5 1/4" and 3 1/2"). Get'em while they're hot.
All this to say that Compulife wouldn't be much good without updates as the companies and products that we quote change over time. This necessitates updating. But one of the things our subscribers tend to forget is that they are also buying a program that is being changed, enhanced, expanded and improved over time. The pace of software change is slow by comparison to other more commonly used programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, but changes are constantly in the works. Part of your subscription fees fund those ongoing improvements. That is why we don't have software upgrades where we charge you additional money; you are paying for it already. That is why the new, improved web quote options are a free upgrade for those buying that option/service.
Some of the software improvements that we make are obvious (like the web quote option) but some are not obvious. The improvements we are now back to working on will be NOT obvious for a few months.
We are currently working on the restructuring of our data files, to take advantage of the larger memory and faster performance of modern computers. It is worth reminding folks that some of our technology was written to accommodate older slow computers (by comparison to modern machines) and slower disk drives with limited storage. Our first DOS software required two floppy disk drives, not one, and a second floppy disk drive was a $700 upgrade. Our first DOS software required 256K of internal memory, a $600 upgrade from the standard 64K memory that came with the computer. Times have changed and we have been changing with them, but some of the technology we are using can be greatly enhanced by overhauling some parts of the software code which is what we are doing.
The core software of Compulife is quite complex, we call it the internet engine. Some components of the software are what you see, but what you don't see, which looks up rates and calculates premiums, can get really complicated because there are so many options and variables that must be accounted for. The simpler we make that software, the easier it is to enhance with new capabilities.
The need for improvement does not mean that Compulife is antiquated. Anyone using the software will note that Compulife is FAST, lightening fast. Why? It was written to run on slow equipment. The software code is tight and economic, making quotations instantaneous. But there are things that we can do more easily, which will not be as tight and economic, but which will have no discernible impact on performance. What those changes will do is make it easier to adapt and enhance the software for the future.
One thing I have heard a lot about lately is the need to improve our table ratings quote option. There is a way to do table ratings now, and you can watch the video here:
Table Ratings Video
But many subscribers would like the system to remember the percentages which are used to calculate the table ratings for various companies and products. After lengthy consideration, I have determined there is a way it can be done in conjunction with our current mechanism. However, we are going to delay introducing that new feature until some of the infrastructure changes are complete.
Keeping the data in Compulife up-to-date and current is job one. No subscriber cares about whether Compulife was up-to-date yesterday, last week or last month. When a subscriber produces a quote for a consumer, and that quote is wrong, the subscriber is mad, I mean they are downright angry.
I deal with a couple of angry calls per week, from someone that is reporting an in Compulife. Fortunately, most of those calls are due to "pilot error". The most typical error is a subscriber quoting a male, having actually entered a female (or visa versa). Another typical issue is the subscriber who neglected to update the software and the rates for one of their favorite company/products changed, and they didn't realize it. Such issues occur routinely and all we can do is get to the bottom of it and explain what happened to the subscriber. They end up less angry but are never completely happy having given a wrong premium quote to a consumer.
Back to the subject of keeping Compulife's software up-to-date. That remains our primary objective.
Each time we add a new element to our service, such as life company forms, it means that we are also adding a new area where information must be stored, and more important, kept up-to-date. It is pointless to offer information that is out-of-date. Often, when we build a new system such as the life company forms library, you are looking at the tip of the iceberg. The software that we need to develop, to store and maintain data, software that you don't see, often requires more time and energy than the final software that lets you retrieve the date.
If the effort to build high quality data entry software is not made, then eventually maintenance and keeping the software up-to-date deteriorates and suffers. Introducing a feature without a well designed mechanism to keep it up-to-date is a recipe for failure.
With that said our emphasis has now shifted to restructuring our product and rate data storage system. Work has progressed well, having successfully introduced that new structure for ROP factors. The new data structure used for ROP factors is the same date structure we will be using for the main products.
Currently we are working on an improved mechanism for renewal premium storage and retrieval, where renewal premiums are common among various products. We hope to have that completed in the next month, work is progressing well. Once that is completed, there will initially be a significant shrinkage in the size of our renewable term data files. Once the restructuring of all the product data is complete, those data files will marginally expand in size. However, that new structure will make it much easier for our program to retrieve and process the data. In the end you will see little if any change to the speed of the quotes and comparisons but we will have a much better platform upon which to build the next generation of features.
We routinely get requests and questions not unlike this email from a prospective customer:
Many agents would like to have an on-line application system added to their website quoting option, and we have not offered it for some pretty important reasons:
2. We are NOT going to create a generic application form. The actual questions that appear on life insurance applications are carefully and legally worded, and no one should substitute a question and answer from one form, to another form that did not ask the very same question the very same way. The questions and answers on an application form are the basis for a life company to REFUSE to pay a claim. If the company believes the insured failed to answer the question truthfully, they have every right to deny payment of the claim (in the first 2 years). If the answer to a generic question was answered truthfully, and that answer was then used for a question that was asked differently, then the parties involved in the transposition of that information are in for a world of legal exposure if a lawsuit results. Compulife doesn't generate enough revenue from our activities to defend against a lawsuit brought in that situation.
3. We think it is a mistake to believe that a life insurance quoting system on a website, should be a "life insurance vending machine" where the consumer fills in an application in order to buy a life insurance on their own. First, the majority of consumers are not going to do it. Second, if consumers did do it, life insurance companies would be able to get rid of life insurance agents and have their own "direct to the consumer" insurance selling platforms. Some are already trying it, but in truth these efforts are less than successful. The reason life insurance policy sales pay big commissions is because life insurance is SOLD not BOUGHT. Anyone who has been in our business for any length of time should know this. Third, consumers don't like to give out personal information to a website, they are terrified of identity theft. The simple questions "What is Your Birthdate" probably concerns many consumers but in the absence of other personal details, a birthdate is meaningless. Only the most ignorant of your website visitors would think otherwise, and if they won't give you their birthdate up front, they certainly aren't going to give you their name, phone number and email address on the back end.
A quoting system on your website is a prospecting tool, and it can be a VERY effective prospecting tool. Think of it as the big picture window at the front of your store in the local mall. A web quoting tool gives a consumer some important information, and can help identify a consumer who wants/needs life insurance, and can encourage them after they see some prices to reach out to you in order to buy life insurance. That's why most stores put prices on the products that they feature in the windows of their stores.
If you attempt to press the purpose and function of the web quote option on your site beyond that point, I believe that you will rapidly suffer from diminishing returns. Remember, the back button is always there and if consumers don't like what they are being asked to fill in, they can easily go somewhere else.
A number of product price changes were discussed in February's bulletin. If you missed it, you can read it here:
We have decided to delay the product and price changes to September 1st. Once the above reference website work is complete, we will need to upgrade our customer database and the websites to accommodate the product and price changes, and with the delays to this point, we are going to add a month to the transition.