The September 2001 disk update will be processed Wednesday, August 29th and Thursday, August 30th. Disks will be shipped Friday, August 31st. You should have the September Update in your office Tuesday, September 4th.
The Internet monthly update will be posted some time on Thursday, August 30th to our four monthly update websites. As we promised last month, a fourth monthly website has been added for August.
Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your "July disks" ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed the August 2001 Update. July 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. Internet Monthly Updates
You can switch over 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 saving next year).
If you want to switch over to Internet monthly updates, please call our office at (800) 567-8376. Our staff will send you an agreement called "Internet Update Endorsement". Please read it, particularly the part where you agree that you have successfully downloaded and processed our "mid-month updates". If you haven't done that before, call the office and we'll be happy to talk 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 next year. The $21 costs you less than mailing back disks each month.
July was an important month as we concluded the changes that we needed to make to our Windows quotation system for the Canadian market. The Canadian and U.S. markets are quite different in terms of the types of products and options that are quoted. Even so, Compulife has spent an enormous amount of time developing a single program that serves both markets (using two different databases). Our objective in doing this was to streamline service and maintenance.
With this complete, we can now move forward with important system improvements. As we do, both markets will benefit at the same time. And with the conversion work now completed, we are now busy making further changes and improvements to the software. Two of the quick changes that we have recently made are:
a) 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 to the "Pick 5/11 Policy Analysis" spreadsheet.
b) You will notice that the program now loads much more quickly. The reason is that the program forms (screen images) now load only when specifically requested. Before this they all loaded at the beginning. We think you will find the program is now quicker, and for those concerned, uses less system resources (memory).
Please NOTE: 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 UPDATE2.CMP file which contains the latest Windows program. Because of the large volume of changes made, we want to test this version for another month and will put it into general release for September.
The following are next on our list of changes to be made:
a) Improved Printouts - To transition as quickly as possible from our DOS based software to the Windows, we used the same fixed font style printouts for individual product quotations and comparisons as we did in the DOS version. That was by contrast to the Pick 5/11 Windows printouts which we spent an enormous amount of time on making very attractive. We also placed some important print style options into Pick 5 allowing you to control the look of those quotes.
While single product quotations and comparisons will not give you the same ability to edit print style, we are spending significant time on these printouts to incorporate proportional pitch fonts which are far more attractive. The same will apply to the summary page for Pick 5/11.
b) 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 and that will greatly simplify your use of our system.
c) Enhanced Internet Updating - Compulife will be upgrading our Windows software to permit it to automatically search for open Internet connections, and then 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 any one server. It will also automatically check for alternate servers where connections fail or where download performance is unacceptable.
During August we will be activating monthly update webpages for Compulife Lite. Those wanting to do so will be able to purchase Compulife Lite and update their Lite by Internet. This is done in the same way as those who now update their regular Compulife systems, but the webpages and download file will be different.
Please Note - The Compulife Lite monthly update file will NOT be compatible with the regular Compulife, and the Compulife regular monthly update file will NOT be compatible with Compulife Lite.
As discussed in our previous bulletins, now that Lite will be available for updating on the Internet, our pricing for Compulife Lite has been amended. A subscription to Compulife Lite, updated monthly by Internet, is $99 for one year or $189 for two years.
A subscription to Compulife Lite, updated monthly by mail (first class post) is now $139 for one year or $249 for two years.
Compulife's "Application to Purchase" form has been amended to reflect the new prices.
During the month of July the number of visits to the www.term4sale.com website passed the 50,000 mark. That's 50,000 visits since October 30, 2000 when we first activated the counter.
Of those, about 1/3 of those visits went on to do Canadian quotes. One can only assume that they were Canadians looking for Canadian quotes. That's pretty remarkable when you consider that Canadian subscribers can obtain their listing for free, provided they are members of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada. By contrast, U.S. subscribers pay $1 per month for a zip code listing (some have many).
I have personally taken the position that the IFBC is an important voice for brokers (I was once president of the organization) and that it deserves your financial support. No other agent association has or is defending your independence and liberty. To be blunt, the IFBC needs members and membership revenue and if you are not a member, I think you should join.
Having noted that, less than 150 of our 950 subscribers have joined the IFBC and gotten themselves listed at Term4sale. Think about it, over 17,000 hits to the Canadian Term4Sale website, with less than 150 brokers being listed. Is it any wonder that those Canadian subscribers are usually quite happy to tell me that they have sold insurance as a result of their listing. And what did Compulife generate in revenue from it...?
One of the other things that you will notice is that Term4Sale is now enjoying a much improved status on a number of search engines when searching for things like "term insurance".
We credit the improvement to some of the U.S. subscribers money which we have been spending. A few months ago Compulife came to an agreement with Mr. Terry Burt of Interlinx, LLC. Interlinx operates the website "www.budgetlife.com" (among others).
Term4Sale, Inc. (our U.S. company which operates the U.S. www.term4sale.com) retained Terry (Interlinx) to work on improving our Internet presence on search engines and in other areas. We have noted that Terry has been very successful at getting Budget Life well placed on search engines, etc., and so we asked if he would be interested in doing the same for term4sale.com, at the same time he was doing it for Budget Life. Having come to suitable financial terms, Terry agreed.
We believe that has helped a great deal. Of course we are always anxious to hear from subscribers as to whether they are getting calls from consumers.
We do realize that a number of the hits at the website are from agents who are simply too cheap to buy the agent version of our quote service, but we also know that more and more consumers are finding the site and those agents listed there. Once again, please keep us posted as to how you are doing.
Two months ago we announced that your website can now offer Compulife's term comparisons on-line, to your clients, for only $249 per year.
This created a buzz of activity with a number of calls from subscribers eager to take advantage of this very attractive offer. Many thought it sounded to good to be true. To that we simply say, IT'S TRUE.
Compulife has created an Internet compatible version of our software that allows a website to do comparisons on-line. Those who purchase and use Compulife's web comparison software not only have the right to to use it for their own website, they can turn around and use it to set up websites for other agents.
Among those using our Internet engine, Compulife now has four "authorized Compulife web providers". Authorized Compulife web providers are individuals or companies that do NOT sell or distribute insurance. These people don't compete with our customers in the sale of insurance. These authorized providers are eager to talk to you about setting up web comparisons for your website.
One of those authorized providers is offering their service for $249 per year. Another, Terry Burt, who we mentioned is doing work for www.term4sale.com, is offering web comparisons for a first year fee of $350 plus $100 per year thereafter.
The only condition to these authorized providers setting up sites for agents is that those agents must be Compulife subscribers. Once you are or have become a Compulife subscriber, then the Internet engine can be used on your behalf at NO ADDITIONAL FEES payable to Compulife. What you pay the authorized provider is for services provided by that provider to you. Compulife is already happy to have your PC subscription business and the internet option is simply a value-added benefit to those who are Compulife subscribers.
Note: This offer is made exclusively to subscribers of Compulife. Compulife Lite subscribers do not qualify. Lite subscribers can upgrade to the full Compulife system for the price difference.
Please call Bob Barney at (800) 798-3488 for the names of Compulife web providers.
As we have noted in previous bulletins, agency customers who purchase the Compulife Internet engine are also permitted to take the $1,500 annual fee and use it as a credit toward the purchase of additional PC based systems.
For example, the personal use system costs $140 per year updated through the Internet. You could have 10 of those systems at no additional charge, with the 11th system costing only $40 per year. In other words, the $1,500 for the Internet engine can be used a second time, to buy PC based software.
Alternately, if you are already bulk-buying Compulife from us, and paying more than $1,500 per year over your own subscription, you can get the Internet engine for an initial fee of $500.
And here's another important kicker, you can then go ahead and create a websites for any of your agents who are using that PC based software. You do do not owe Compulife any additional money for the privilege of doing so. Providing a subscriber is getting the PC software, Compulife charges nothing (that's NOTHING) for an Internet engine purchase to create a website for that subscriber.
Effective January 1, 2002 Compulife will stop shipping both Windows and DOS software on our monthly update disks.
IMPORTANT: BOTH Windows and DOS software will continue to be provided as part of the Internet monthly update. If you want to use the DOS software then we encourage you to switch over to Internet monthly updating.
This is just one more incentive for you to switch from getting monthly disk updates to getting Internet monthly updates.
The reason for this change is simple. By going to the Windows-only program on our monthly disk update, we can reduce the total number of monthly disks back to three from four. Less disks means less copy time and less handling expense. Please remember, Compulife is working hard to keep our costs as low as possible, so that we can keep our prices as competitive as possible.
We believe we can eliminate the DOS version of the program from our disk updates because the Windows version of our software is becoming more reliable all the time. Therefore, the need for the extra security of the DOS program, which gives you an alternate way to access the same company/product data files, will be much less important by the end of this year. Once again, the Windows software has been working very well and we are having very few problems with it.
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.
Every month we get at least one call (that's an understatement) from a subscriber who says they went to our www.term4sale.com website and the rates at the website were different than those in their Compulife program. It happened again in July. To companies dropped rates that month and calls came in complaining that the rates in Compulife were wrong, when in fact the person had not gotten a mid-month update which had the new rates already entered in.
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.