Update News for August 2007
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
Help Us Add More Companies to the Forms Library
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
From time to time I pass by a life insurance web site that notes the number of companies being quoted by the site. In many cases I recognize that the software powering the site's quotes is Compulife. I cringe when I see that the actual number of companies referred to as larger than the number of companies that are in Compulife.
Some of this has to do with material that has not been updated. At one time Compulife had over 180 companies but that number has been steadily shrinking over the last decade. Some have not kept up with the shrinkage.
The reason for the shrinkage is the significant number of mergers and acquisitions which are occurring in the market. We full expect this to continue and additional companies will be eliminated as time moves forward.
The August monthly update of Compulife contains 130 companies and that number will shrink to 129 as quickly as the new LifeElements term products of Lincoln National are approved in all states. At that point Jefferson Pilot will no longer be offering term insurance and will be removed from our software.
At www.term4sale.com we state that the site quotes "over 125 companies". We set that number at a time when there were about 140 companies in the software, knowing that the number was continuing to shrink. Once we are down to 126 companies we will change 125 to 115.
All of this is to say that we would like to see Compulife subscribers pay attention to the number of companies that they make reference to in their material - on the web and otherwise. It is in everyone's interest to accurately reflect the real numbers.
During July Compulife introduced improvements to our forms retrieval software.
The first improvement is that we now list the PDF file name for the form. To see this you may need to widen the window which displays the list of forms. In all cases Compulife uses the same file name that the company assigns to their form. Including the file name works nicely in conjunction with the second improvement.
The second improvement was the introduction of a "text search" function to the form retrieval system. You can now type in a string of text and the program will search for that text in both the form description and form file name. For example, suppose you are looking for a beneficiary form. Type in "beneficiary", click on search, and the beneficiary form (if available) will be highlighted.
NOTE: Some forms are multi-purpose and a key word for one of those purposes may not be part of the form description. If you encounter that problem, simply report it to Compulife and we will add the keyword to the description line. This will improve the function of the search mechanism.
The file name of the form is included in the search. That can be useful if the company has advised you of the file name of the form that you need. Type in part or all of the file name and the system can locate that form for you.
In all cases searches are completed from within a particular state. You can search for all forms available in the state, or you can search within a category within that state.
Third, we have added a "check all" button to the forms list. Now that we have further categorized forms, there may be occasions when you need all or virtually all the forms on the list. It may be easier to use the "check all" button and then individually remove check marks from the forms that you don't need.
In July we indicated that:
First, Transamerica asked Compulife to sign a "hold harmless" agreement before providing us with forms. The idea was that if one of our customers obtained a form from Compulife and then misused it, that Compulife would pay Transamerica's legal costs to defend itself from any litigation that arose from that misuse. When I pressed Transamerica on the fact that I didn't understand why the company was at more or less risk based upon how the agent got the form, given that the form was the same either way, Transamerica explained that unlocked forms could be changed. I assured Transamerica that Compulife did not want unlocked forms because we didn't want anyone to be able change their forms. That seemed to take care of that.
Subsequently Transamerica contacted us to say Compulife would still need to sign a hold harmless agreement even though we only wanted locked forms. Compulife responded to the company indicating the reasons why we cannot sign such an agreement. While we think the reasons for our position should be self evident, we would be willing to provide a copy of our email to those subscribers who believe Compulife should be willing to sign such agreements in order to obtain forms.
Compulife is now offering FREE forms technology to any life insurance company that provides us with their forms - for FREE!
During July one company called and obtained a copy of our current forms technology. They are currently evaluating the software. We may, depending on feedback from the company, be making further improvements to the forms system to address any needs that the company has. Any such improvements will be integrated into our own forms system to keep the forms software consistent and robust for everyone.
In case you missed it, here is the offer again:
Compulife will give the life company our forms management technology for maintaining an inventory of the company forms. The forms entry and management software is easy to use and it runs on a local PC. The program creates and maintains an inventory of forms and allows you to easily categorize those forms any way they want. For companies already in our system, we can start them off by giving the current forms list that we have already created. The company can change or edit the file anyway the company wants, or the company can let Compulife do it for them. Either way - it's FREE.
The result is a forms library list in a small forms data file. That file will be what the retrieval software relies upon.
Compulife will also provide stand alone versions of our retrieval software for use on either (or both) the Internet and/or a PC. Just to be sure that we are making this clear, the company can have BOTH a PC based retrieval system AND/OR an internet based retrieval system.
Using the internet based software the company's agents can go to its web site and download any forms that they want. The forms can be on one or more servers as the company chooses. The servers will be servers that the company has or obtains (we typically pay about $100 per year for shared web servers) and the company can add as many servers as it likes or needs. Use of Compulife's technology does NOT depend on servers provided by Compulife. We think it is important for the company to have separate control over that.
For the agent it's pretty straightforward. The agent selects the state, the type of form that they want (from a category that you can create and maintain), and gets a list of forms. From the list they can download the forms that they want.
The PC based software is superior. That software allows the agent to access the company's forms library from their PC. Of course that happens with the Internet version anyway, because the agent must use a browser on a PC. But here's why the PC software is superior to a purely Internet version:
First, the PC software displays the forms list and lets the agent make selections without any Internet communication. This makes identifying and selecting forms really fast. Once the agent has checked off the forms, they are downloaded from the web (if they need to be - keep reading).
Second, if your agent needs the same form again, the PC retrieval program will have kept a hidden copy on the agent's computer. The form retrieval system will check to see if the form on file is still the current file on the forms list. Providing that there is not a newer version of the form, the PC version will retrieve the form from the agent's PC. That means no download - just an instantaneous retrieval of the form. That means this is really, really (did I emphasize really) FAST.
If the form is not the newest version, the PC version automatically goes and gets the newest version from the web and replaces the old one on the agent's PC.
As forms get bigger and bigger (fillable forms can sometimes exceed a megabyte) this saves time and bandwidth. It also means that your agent can have the forms on their laptop and even if they can't get access to the web in a remote location. The agent will be able to retrieve and print a form wherever they are.
Third, the PC version of Compulife's form retrieval will automatically search for updates of the form library (keeping the form data file current). If you place a newer version of the forms data file on your server, the software will automatically check to see if that file has changed (by downloading a 16 byte file). If the form data file has changed, the PC version will automatically download the new form file. Because the form data file is less than 100K, the download is quick.
The PC software can be provided as a stand alone program or as a linkable library which will allow your software provider to integrate it right into your illustration software.
Once you have the Compulife forms software (which we give you for free), you will have complete and independent control over your forms library and retrieval system. You can use multiple servers to host forms.
But most important, this software is FREE to any life company who is providing forms to Compulife.
In exchange, all Compulife wants is access to your forms library so that we can keep our own library up to date. Of course you don't have to use our FREEWARE, you could just use it internally or you can use it fully. The choice is the company's.
The only other condition for use and distribution is that you may not give the technology to third party entities, who then distribute the software as part of their multi-company forms service to agents. You can give them the forms retrieval system to let them obtain your forms, but they may not pass the technology on to their users as part of a multiple company retrieval system.
IMPORTANT: There is no restriction on your distribution of the software through your agents and agencies.
Some may say - "the software can't be any good if Compulife is giving it away". Please remember that Compulife will be giving you the same technology we provide to our subscribers, in software that those subscribers pay to use. We already have thousands of agents who prefer our product to the FREEWARE life companies hand out. So offering the forms software to a life company for FREE is a pretty good deal - don't you think?
During the writing of this bulletin one of the life companies sent me a new form. It was quick and easy to add that software to our library. Here were the steps I took, which a company would take to add a form using our software:
1. I saved the form into the form folder for that company
2. I started the forms management software and selected the company.
3. I clicked one button which checked the company's current list of forms against the forms in the folder. The software immediately found the new form and added it to the list.
4. I opened the form record up by double clicking on it.
5. I cut and pasted the description of the form from the company email.
6. I checked off the states that the form was approved in. The form was available in all states except NY so I just hit the "all states" button which checked all states, then turned off NY.
7. I then checked off the categories that the form was used for. This was from a list of categories I had previously defined.
8. I moved the form to the physical spot on the list where I wanted it to appear.
9. I closed the forms software which automatically updated my forms data file.
10. I uploaded the form from my PC to the server.
All in all, using the forms maintenance technology that we have created, this was about a 5 minute chore. The forms.dat file has then been transferred to our next internet update, and after that the update will be on our customers' machines.
If you have any questions about any of this, please call me (Bob Barney) at (888) 798-3488.
Compulife now has 2,500 forms in our forms library. The following are the companies now available:
Banner Life Insurance
Centrian Life Insurance
Jefferson Pilot Life
Jefferson Pilot Life (NY)
Pruco Life Insurance
Pruco Life Insurance of New Jersey
North American Company for L & H
Reliastar Life Insurance Company
Reliastar Life Insurance Company of NY
Savings Bank Life Insurance
Western Reserve Life Insurance
William Penn Life Insurance
During June we began to categorize a number of the forms in our software. When you display a forms list for a company, you now have a new drop down selection box to identify the type of form that you are looking for. Current categories are based upon type of products. When you select the category, the forms list is reduced to forms related to that type of product.
We suspect these new form categories will make it a lot easier to find the forms that you need.
We have just given life companies another great reason to provide their forms to Compulife. Our forms library "FREEWARE" makes it easy for a company to maintain their own forms on their web sites and in their illustration software. But companies may not pay attention unless somebody points it out to them. That's where you come in.
If you help us convince a life company to provide us with their forms, we'll give you a Palm Tungsten E PDA and a FREE year of Compulife as our way of saying thanks. Call for details - you must be key in influencing the company in order to claim the reward.
During July we began the release of our new Internet engine on a subscriber by subscriber basis. We were concerned not to be overloaded with problems encountered by those using the previous version. As it turned out, there were a number of problems, and we have been working with subscribers to get them up to speed.
The most common problem had to do with those running the Linux versions that had older C++ libraries on their servers. Not everyone keeps their servers up-to-date with the latest linux operating systems and C++ libraries. This is a shame considering that the Linux operating system is free. Unfortunately older Linux libraries are not necessarily forward compatible. What this means is that if we provided a CGI program file that relied upon old libraries, you would think new libraries would run it - but they don't necessarily do that.
In the case of one user, the IP advised the user they did not want CGI scripts run from their server. It is clear that when you are confronted with an IP that has that mentality, it's time to find a new IP.
The last server which Compulife rented space from was provided to us by www.lunarpages.com. Lunarpages runs the Compulife program just fine and a 2 year agreement with lunar pages is only $6.95 per month (including one domain name renewal). Needless to say, price should not be an issue. The IP market is highly competitive and renting space is quite affordable.
Compulife would be happy to send out the new engine to anyone who wants to give it a try but we would like to note that during the first two weeks of August our programmer will be on holidays. Problems encountered may not be resolved until he returns. If you want an engine immediately, send Bob Barney an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure that when we send you the new internet engine package that you NOT DELETE the old engine from your system. RENAME the old program file, try the new on in its place, and confirm it is working before deleting the old engine - and don't be in a rush to delete it.
On January 1, 2002 Compulife added a counter to our www.term4sale.com web page. During June 2007 the counter hit 1,000,000 quotes.
We would like to take this occasion to remind our subscribers that Compulife does not sell life insurance. What we do at www.term4sale.com is encourage consumers to purchase life insurance from agents who use our service, and provide consumers with a list of three life agents listed in their area.
Are you listed at www.term4sale.com? If not, why not? All Compulife subscribers are entitled to FREE listings. For complete details visit: www.compulife.com/term4salelistings.htm
In April we announced a change to the pricing structure for QuickerQuoter. Agencies can now buy as little as 3 companies for only $225, and can now buy 12 companies. Here is a copy of the e-mail announcement:
Have you heard about QuickerQuoter for your agents?
QuickerQuoter is a limited edition version of Compulife Quotation System that agencies can distribute FREE to their agents and brokers - no matter how many brokers they have.
IMPORTANT: QuickerQuoter runs on your agent's desktop and laptop computers but also comes with software that runs on PDA's and PDA phones. The PDA software works on both Palm and Windows Mobile devices. This lets your agent put your companies in their pocket - ready to go - anytime, anywhere.
QuickerQuoter is now available for 3 to 12 life insurance companies
Agencies buying 3 companies can now get started for only $225 per year.
Compulife has changed the pricing for its QuickerQuoter program and is now offering the program for up to 12 life insurance companies.
Here is the pricing:
Most QuickerQuoter buyers have purchased 6 companies - therefore the price is unchanged.
NOTE: Those wanting to add additional companies to their original 6 can do so for $200 per company (6-9) or $250 per company (10-12) and we will pro-rate the cost to the balance of your current QuickerQuoter subscription.
Click Here to try Compulife's QuickerQuoter.
There are two reasons for this change in pricing:
1. There is now NO REASON for an agency to not get and try QuickerQuoter for its agents.
This gives your agents a way to run quotes their phones and PDAs for your favorite life companies. $225 gives you software you can give to ALL your agents for FREE!
IMPORTANT: The QuickerQuoter program now comes with FREE Windows Mobile Phone software. The current phones running this software are the:
Samsung Black Jack
Think about the importance of PDA/Phone software for your agents.
2. Some agencies have wanted more than 6 companies.
The rational behind this new stepped pricing is that the more companies in your QuickerQuoter program, the less demand there is for the Compulife program, which we are retailing. That's also why the QuickerQuoter program is simpler than the Compulife program - we don't want this product being a substitute for agents who want all the features and benefits in Compulife. But that isn't all bad for you - there's less need for technical support, which you must do for this product.
As we have indicated before, if Compulife determines that QuickerQuoter is having a negative impact on our retail sales, we will discontinue the product. But that gives an important benefit to existing QuickerQuoter purchasers who will have a 36 month service extension for service to their QuickerQuoter program (for the number of companies purchased). For complete details refer to the October 2006 Compulife bulletin:
As before, buyers of QuickerQuoter are entitled to as many FREE updates per year as they have companies in the software. An agency buying 12 companies is entitled to 12 FREE updates. An agency buying 3 companies gets 3 FREE updates. Updates over the FREE number permitted are available for $100 per update.
Here's Something Else that's New:
Click Here for more details about Compulife's QuickerQuoter.
Feel free to reply to this e-mail with any questions you may have