We plan to post the June 2004 Internet monthly update to our six monthly update web sites on May 27th.
The June 2004 disk update will be processed Thursday, May 27th and Friday, May 28th.
Disks will be shipped Friday, May 28th. You should have the June Update in your office by Monday, May 31st. Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your April disks ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed this May 2004 Update. April disks are your backup in case you should have problems installing the April edition.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Subscribers who are receiving disks can save up to $100 per year by switching to updates by Internet. Please read the last part of this bulletin for complete details. Don't wait for your next invoice to make the change. Compulife will bonus your subscription renewal deadline for switching from disks to internet.
We have added another server to take care of the midmonth and monthly updates of our subscribers. Instead of compulife.us and compulife.cc both pointing to the same server, they each point to a different server. Altogether we have our main website services at 3 sites:
NOTE: compulife.ca points to compulife.com
The point of adding this additional redundancy is to ensure that our services to you operate uninterrupted. If for some reason you are unable to get compulife.com to come up, try one of the other domain names.
It never rains it pours (particularly in Kentucky). This past week I was contacted by two separate entities both offering internet lead generating services/concepts.
One of the two entities is someone I know very well. I was told that they have come up with a very successful marketing campaign in conjunction with the google search engine. This lead generation system is not cheap costing $5,000 up front plus $500 per month. Having said that, there are two or three Compulife subscribers now using it and they are having particularly good results.
The other entity is a simple lead generating system that sells individual leads to agents in the $20 to $30 per lead range.
From time to time I get calls from subscribers wondering if I know of any lead generating possibilities. With the exception of "Budget Life", I don't know.
I now am aware of these other two and would suggest if you are at all interested to give me (Bob Barney) a call at 800-798-3488 and I'll direct you to the right people.
Compulife is completing work on a new function which will allow us to add the Return of Premium products for four life insurance companies. These companies use a calculation method which takes the basic premium, times a "factor", in order to convert that premium to the cost of the Return of Premium option.
The companies we are currently quoting express their Return of Premium option as an additional rate per thousand, which permits us to use our traditional rate storage system "as is".
We expect the new Return of Premium function, and the products for the companies involved, to be added in May.
This story is something of a pet peeve of mine. We are increasingly hearing from those who tell us that they have just bought a brand new computer and it did not come with a floppy disk drive. The caller will say, "Can you send me a CD?"
Personally I cannot imagine why people are buying computers without floppy disk drives. The fact is that it costs less than $20 to add a floppy disk drive to a computer and it seems just silly to not have one. Nothing is easier for transferring files from computer to computer than a floppy disk (and they're reusable).
Desktop computer motherboards (that's the main board in your computer) all come with plugs to connect to floppy disk drives. Most decent size computer cases already have a blank slot for the floppy drive. So all you really are buying is the drive and cable, less than $20. Why not order your computer with that option?
Laptops can be a different story because everything costs more on laptops. Even so, most computer vendors sell external floppy disk drives that can be plugged into the computer's USB ports. That might double your cost to $40 but why not have that option?
Up to this point, when we received a call from a subscriber who doesn't have a floppy disk drive on one of their new computers, we suggested that the subscriber install Compulife onto one of their older computers that has a floppy disk drive, then burn a CD with the \COMPLIFE folder from that computer. The subscriber can then take the CD to the computer that has no floppy disk drive and copy the \COMPLIFE folder to that computer.
Now here's the funny part. We are often told that the subscriber does not have a CD burner on their older computer, or they don't know how to to burn a CD. Let's review this. The subscriber has a new computer with no floppy disk drive and can't burn a CD. What's wrong with this picture? How do you expect to transfer files from one computer to another?
By the way, if the computers are on a network, you can simply copy the \COMPLIFE folder from one hard disk to the other, and you have installed Compulife. Just make an icon to run GOWIN.EXE.
To summarize, let me be bold and suggest that you not abandon old technology until you can use the new technology on all your equipment. The safe bet is to make sure that you order a floppy disk drive with your new computer.
Despite this, there is a growing expectation that Compulife should produce our product on CD's. We have given this a lot of thought, and despite the fact that producing a CD means another step in our procedures, and additional cost to our product, we are moving forward with that.
CD's to install Compulife will ONLY be available to those who subscribe to Compulife's Internet updates. When an Internet Update subscriber is sent their subscription renewal they will be receiving (with the next subscription) BOTH a floppy disk and a CD. We may eliminate the floppy at some point but we want to be careful to ensure the CD's we are burning are compatible with all CD drives.
NOTE: EITHER the floppy disk or the CD can be used to install the subscription renewal to your computer
NOTE AGAIN: EITHER means you don't need to do install both. Once either disk has been installed, the computer will be able to get updates until the end of the subscription period.
Compulife will NOT be providing monthly updates by CD. We believe that CD's are an interim update technology that will eventually be replaced by Internet updating. At some point we will likely have a system for paying for and obtaining subscription renewals by Internet.
Because we are already phasing out disk updates in favor of Internet updates, there is no reason to support a monthly update system using CDs instead of floppy disks.
Therefore, if you don't want to use monthly update floppy disks, we strongly encourage you to switch to Internet Updates. That alone saves you $100 or more per year which can go toward a high speed internet connection. Please read the end of this bulletin to find out how to switch to Internet Updates.
If you don't want Internet Updates, and you are getting ready to buy a new computer, MAKE SURE YOU ORDER it with a floppy disk drive. As discussed, this should cost you no more than $20.
To accommodate CD's we have had to produce a new installation program. This new program is called "SETUP.EXE" and it auto starts from the CD when you first place it into the CD drive.
The new SETUP program will ask what drive to install to then places its files into the \COMPLIFE folder on that drive.
The existing installation program (INSTALL.EXE) is more sophisticated and requires that it be run from read/write media (diskette). One of the things the INSTALL program does is back up your existing Compulife hard disk files (with your settings for Compulife) to the Master disk before it installs the new update. This includes your license name and agent name so all you needed to do was enter your serial number.
NOTE: Those obtaining updates by Internet do not have to enter in serial numbers. It is part of the automated update procedure.
The backing up of your your computer's setup for Compulife added a safety feature. If there was any problem with the floppy disk we would discover it when recording your setup information to the floppy. We then would encounter a problem BEFORE the corrupted update file was written back onto to your hard disk.
Please note, backing up your setup information is NOT something that we are able to do with the CD installation. That is another reason why we will not issue CD's for monthly updates.
To review, in the future when a Compulife subscriber renews their internet subscription Compulife will be sending that subscriber a subscription renewal floppy disk AND a CD. You will be able to use EITHER the floppy disk OR the CD to install your subscription renewal for Compulife.
As is the case now, your subscription renewal is a one time installation. Once installed, your computer will be able to get its own monthly updates by Internet until the subscription ends.
Compulife has completed work on our new product called "QuickerQuoter". This is a "single company" quotation software product targeted directly at life insurance companies for distribution to their agents.
QuickerQuoter is a Compulife-like quote system for a single life insurance company and its products. This new product should be attractive to life insurance companies because it is FREE.
That's FREE as in NO COST!
IMPORTANT: The software is only given to life companies.
Compulife will not distribute this software product to anyone but the life companies. The life company is free to give the program to anyone that they want to give it to.
While the idea of giving free software to life companies may appear crazy, there is method in our madness.
Compulife only provides this new software to life companies who have been kind enough to assist us with the provision of product, rate and state approval information. If a company is unwilling to help Compulife, QuickerQuoter will not be available to the company.
We hope this will be an added incentive for life companies to help us keep our rates and database up-to-date. That will have obvious benefits for our existing Compulife subscribers.
As Compulife subscribers already know, Compulife produces the fastest quotes in the market. I know it is hard to imagine, but when we are only comparing the products of a single company, from a database that has just that company in it, quotes are instantaneous. You click and it's done.
The QuickerQuoter menu appears as the Compulife menu appears now. Instead of a red background the QuickerQuoter menu is dark green. The "Display Single Product" button has been removed and the "Display Product Comparison" button works differently. After entering a client into the program, clicking the "Display Product Comparison" displays every available product for that company in the comparison format that you are used to seeing. From that comparison the user double clicks on the individual result which will then display that product in a single product window. From there the quote can be printed or e-mailed.
For those who think that the single company comparison feature would be great to have in Compulife, it's been been there for quite some time. You access the feature by picking any individual company from a comparison, going to the "options" at the top of the "Display Single Product" window, and select "compare products for this company". It will give you a good idea of what is available to the life companies who obtain QuickerQuoter.
QuickerQuoter should be popular because it will be faster and easier to use than any other life company quote software in the market. Even installation or updating is a dream. The software comes in its own self-extracting SETUP.EXE file which can be distributed through the internet, on a floppy disk, CD, by e-mail, whatever. When the SETUP.EXE file is run a folder for the company is made, the software is installed and an icon placed on the desktop. The installed program and database is about 3 meg in size. (not 30 meg; 3 meg!)
First, we believe a large number of companies, particularly smaller companies, will be delighted to have free software for their agents. Distribution and use of the free software will mean the Compulife name becomes better known in the market. The more people who know the Compulife name, the better our opportunity to sell comparison software.
Second, we think a number of companies will say, "Heh, we like what you've got but before we distribute this we need changes, additions, enhancements, etc." Compulife is quite happy to customize this software further on a time and materials basis.
We think the custom software market for life insurance illustration software has been over priced and that it is in need of some serious competition. We intend to see that the market gets that competition. What should be appealing to life companies who consider our services is that we will be charging to MODIFY what we have already provided for free, we will not be building from scratch.
"QuickerQuoter" has now been prepared and delivered to over 40 life insurance companies. If you are a life company and ready to give this new product a try, please call us and we'll be happy to put together a free QuickerQuoter for you.
As a matter of routine, we are building versions of QuickerQuoter for companies who have made the most recent rate changes and who have given copies of their product material to Compulife. Regardless of whether the company distributes QuickerQuoter, we will be providing it to companies as a "pre-release" way for a company to check the rates that we have placed into our system. This will be very helpful in cases where the company has given us rates in advance of the targeted release date and where the company wants to check what we have done.
In the meantime, companies interested in retaining Compulife for custom software work are welcome to contact Bob Barney, at 800-798-3488. I'll direct you to the project consultant and programming staff who are in charge of this new service.
Last month we added Health Analysis and A.M. Best ratings to the Term4Sale web site. Those new improvements will make term4sale.com an even more popular and useful tool for consumers. We believe that the improvements will make the media pay even more attention to the site.
If you have not yet checked out the new version of the site, please do so. Once you have run a comparison you will notice the new column of A.M. Best ratings. If you click on the rating, further rating information is displayed in a pop-up window, along with a copy of the A.M. Best Guide to ratings. We think this looks very sharp.
For those Compulife subscribers who are using our Internet Engine through our authorized web providers, we have good news for you. Two of those authorized web providers, Insurance Squared and termlifequotesonline.org, have secured agreements to use the A.M. Best ratings in their on-line comparisons. What that means is that if you have an existing comparison service with either of these providers, A.M. Best ratings can now be added to your site at NO CHARGE. Contact your provider for complete details.
As background, A.M. Best charges an annual fee of $750 for the right to use the A.M. Best ratings with the Compulife internet engine. This means that if you are a subscriber who has purchased the internet engine, and you do not use the engine through one of the above mentioned providers, you will need to obtain your own license agreement from A.M. Best. Only after you provide us with a copy of your license agreement with A.M. Best will we provide you with the version of our engine that gives access to the A.M. Best ratings.
While this may seem unfair to our internet engine purchasers, who can get the A.M. Best ratings for free through the web providers, but must pay $750 to use A.M. Best ratings with their own copy of our internet engine, please do not blame us. These are the current rules as set out by A.M. Best. The ability to obtain ratings at NO CHARGE through authorized web providers was something that the two above mentioned web providers were able to negotiate with A.M. Best. Before those negotiations began the rule was that each individual user would have to pay $750 per year. The work and effort of our web providers has secured a very attractive compromise for the majority of our subscribers.
When you run a term comparison at term4sale.com, and once the comparison is displayed, there is an intriguing new question set out in red in the middle of the screen. It asks:
When the consumer clicks to go to the Health Analysis questionnaire, the first thing that pops up is the list of 3 Compulife subscribers. That is combined with a very appropriate message that term4sale is made possible by the good folks (like you) who buy and use Compulife.
It is our belief that giving the agent listing at this point, and crediting our subscribers with making the site possible, will lead to more more exposure for subscribers. We expect a greater percentage of consumers who visit term4sale will now see agent listings.
If you are a Compulife subscriber, and you are not listed at term4sale.com, we strongly recommend that you get listed. All Compulife subscribers are entitled to one free listing.
IMPORTANT: You must request your listing; it is not automatic.
If you are not listed, please call us at 800-798-3488 and get that listing now. While we do not expect anyone to receive a lot of calls from consumers, many who receive calls have expressed their happiness with the quality of the insurance prospect. Many Compulife subscribers have made significant sales as a result of term4sale.
Please try out the new improved site. If you find something that you think is complicated or hard to understand, we would like to hear from you because we want the site to be as consumer friendly as possible.
The Health Analysis function will be available to ALL internet engine users at NO CHARGE. During March we shipped the new engine to our four authorized web providers to determine if there were any bugs or problems. It was our intention to wait to see if they could implement the new features and make them work properly with their existing client base.
To this point it appears that none of the authorized web providers have yet implemented the new functions. Therefore, we are going to delay general release until later in April. This actually works well for us because it will give us time to implement the family health history and driving record data into Health Analyzer in both our Windows software and internet engine.
During the month of March, as we were entering the driving record and family health history data into our health analysis datafile, we realized that we could make improvements which would make our health data much easier to update and the data file much more compact. The benefit of this for subscribers is that the program is faster. The new HEALTH.DAT file was released during April and it is part of this May monthly update.
For those who update by Internet, Compulife has gone to great lengths to provide you with redundancy in our web sites. Our main web site is:
However, we keep two completely separate websites, on two completely different servers, at:
Whatever we update to compulife.com, we are also updating to compulife.us and to compulife.cc. If one web site goes down, for whatever reason, either of the other two are ready to serve you. That includes both monthly and mid-month updates.
For those doing monthly updates by Internet, we rely on three other web site to supply monthly updates. These are automatically checked and used by our automatic Internet update software.
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 $100 per year in subscription fees.
To switch to Internet monthly updates, go to our web page www.compulife.com and select the last menu choice "Forms, applications, instruction tutorials, etc." Under the section "License Agreements" you will need to select and complete a new License Agreement for the type of license you have. After you have printed the new agreement, please read it, 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 step 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.