Update News for December 2007
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.
As background, I used to put my Christmas reflections within the monthly bulletin but that always generated some complaints from people who took the position I shouldn't be discussing my religious views in my corporate material (note that "my" is the key word). Apparently there is the notion that this violates the separation of church and state - as though Compulife was the Federal government.
It would do well for people to recall that when the First Amendment talks about "free speech", the speech it is specifically protecting is speech about religion and politics. The founding fathers understood that religion and politics are subjects that are too important to be given the silent treatment.
But a couple of years ago I decided that I would separate my more expansive thoughts on the reason for the season into another web page. For those who would like to consider my thoughts about Christmas 2007, you can read them here:
To everyone, Merry Christmas. Thank you again for your business and support. We hope that your celebrations with friends and family are a blessing to you and yours.
As we announced two months ago, we are no longer sending CD's for subscription renewals. You can now obtain your subscription renewals your very own personalized web page at Compulife. That web page will let you install Compulife from scratch on a new computer, or will let you install the subscription renewal to a computer that already has Compulife.
In order to send you a link to your web page we need your email address. If you don't think we have your email address, or your email has recently changed, please take a minute and send an email to:
and make sure to tell us what email address to use for you.
Compulife has completed the work to make our product appear more properly in Windows Vista. For the most part this meant changing the size of windows and text.
As part of that we have also made some other minor changes. For example, there is no longer an OK button on the client screen. There is no real need for that button in that the client information was automatically remembered whether you clicked that button or not. Further, there is no need to close the client window to run comparisons. That make it handy to quickly go back to the client window, and make changes, without having to use the Red Menu.
Master Menu selections have been abbreviated to keep text strings shorter. We also think it makes it easier to find what you are looking for on the new menu listings.
Having tried out this new Windows program through mid-month updates in November, we are confident that we have worked out most of the bugs and problems.
We have also added a couple of new features that folks have been lobbying for:
First, you can now save comparison premium modes, other than annual, as the default. When you have a comparison on screen, and you go to options to choose monthly, you can also click the "Retain as Default Premium Mode". With that checked, and monthly premium checked, the next time you start Compulife you will be in the monthly premium mode.
Second, comparisons can now be printed with 0 comparison pages and 1 or more summary page. At one time we forced the printing of at least one comparison page, with 6 products and renewals, to ensure that your client knew about renewal premiums. We still think that is a good idea, but for those who want a simple one page list - you now have it.
The following information applies to Canadian subscribers in that the Canadian software has the capability of providing forms. It is not currently offering any forms because we have not yet had any Canadian life company provide us with their forms. Needless to say we would be delighted to provide our Canadian subscribers with forms just as soon as Canadian companies provide us with forms. Note that in the U.S. Transamerica Life is now in our forms library but we have not heard from Transamerica Canada - go figure.
Needless to say, you could be of great help by letting your favourite companies know that you would like to be able to get their forms through Compulife. Companies are much more receptive to do something, if they think it is something their agents would want. Given that we make no charge to the life company, it is hard to imagine what serious objection their would be to the idea.
We think the Canadian situation will change once we introduce our forms FREEWARE software for companies which will include an online retrieval system. At that point we are planning to offer that online retrieval system FREEWARE to some of our agency customers to let them use that software to provide forms to their agents on their web sites. Of course to be able to do that the agencies will need to get the companies to provide the forms, and of course the provision of the FREEWARE will be based upon getting the same forms for Compulife's customers. We anticipate this should move things along more quickly.
During December Compulife will be focusing our attention on further enhancements to our forms library including the development of stand alone forms retrieval software that can be run from web sites or PCs. As we advised previously, Compulife will be making our forms retrieval technology available FREE to any life insurance company who is kind enough to provide us with their forms for our library.
Our philosophy is that forms is a non-profit issue for all involved: the company, the agency and the agent. As a software vendor Compulife has no intention of trying to make money from the delivery of forms, we simply want to enhance our service to subscribers to make it more attractive to both existing and new customers.
With respect to the life insurance companies, we want to trade our technology in order to get the companies forms in our system. We think this is a win-win-win strategy for all involved.
We will be making the forms technology available for FREE to those authorized web providers who offer web services on behalf of Compulife. This will mean that forms retrieval will be an option for those who use Compulife's internet engine to provide quotes for their agents. We would caution that third parties using our technology, who are NOT life companies, need to remember that the forms are the PROPERTY of the life companies, and that you must have the company's permission to use those forms.
We are also willing to discuss and consider providing our forms retrieval software to agencies involved in promoting Compulife software products to their agents.
It is our goal to have a stand alone web version of the forms retrieval software ready to go by the end of December.
The following are the companies whose forms are currently available:
American General Life Insurance
Banner Life Insurance
Centrian Life Insurance
North American Company for L & H
Pruco Life Insurance
Pruco Life Insurance of New Jersey
Reliastar Life Insurance Company
Reliastar Life Insurance Company of NY
Savings Bank Life Insurance
Transamerica Financial Life Insurance
Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance
United States Life Insurance in New York
West Coast Life Insurance
Western Reserve Life Insurance
William Penn Life Insurance
One company has already expressed an interest in taking us up on our FREE software offer which lets a life company use our forms technology for their own web site.
To reiterate, Compulife's forms software is FREE to any life insurance company that provides its forms to Compulife. And because the forms software technology is the SAME for both the company and Compulife, and because the data files will be the same, it means that Compulife can do the forms work for the company or the company can do the forms work for Compulife. If the company wants Compulife to do the forms work that's FREE to the company. The only thing that Compulife will not do is provide hosting services for a company's forms service. Even so, we would be happy to find the life company a low cost Internet Provider if the company needs one (or more).
Once again, a life company can obtain and use the Compulife forms technology for FREE, and that will give the company forms retrieval software that can run from a PC or from the web (or both).
The following is reprinted from our Canadian midmonth news:
Compulife has been slow to add Critical Illness comparisons to our software because we had understood that there were significant differences between the coverages provided by different companies. It was our belief that we would need to add a contract comparison function that would permit an agent to compare contract wordings and coverages, in addition to price quotes and comparisons.
Adding CI price comparisons is relatively simple, in that we already have the technology for that. Adding coverage comparisons will/would require additional work and I believed that we needed to complete that first.
I am now wondering if the market has more or less standardized coverages. I noted the following comment, posted on a message board, by a Canadian insurance agent. He said:
"Given that the definitions have become largely similar (Munich Re has told the carriers NOT to say "My definition is better" because they feel that this is no longer a valid argument) - I feel that you should choose the carrier that you are most comfortable with. Since the only major who does not have a CI product is Transamerica - the choice is wide. If you have two or more carriers you deal with for insurance purposes please feel free to write me and I will give you an analysis of their products. Basically I know AIG, Canada, Empire, Industrial, Manu, RBC, Standard, La Survivance and Unity"
Does this statement reflect an accurate perspective of the market. Are coverages largely the same?
If yes, Compulife would like to move forward (immediately) with the addition of Critical Illness insurance quotes and comparisons.
I would deeply appreciate receiving from you the product description and rate material for the CI products that you are currently offering to the market.
One company has already indicated their agreement with the above statement made by the agent. We have advised that we would like to move forward and introduce CI comparisons that would have the following disclaimer at the top of the results page, and at the bottom of comparison printouts:
WARNING: The premiums in this comparison are for Criticial Illness (CI) insurance. CI does NOT pay a death benefit as does a life insurance policy. A CI benefit is paid ONLY if the insured becomes afflicted with one of the critical illnesses that are named in the policy contract. Not all policies have the same list of coverages. Please ask your agent/broker for a company generated illustration which will permit you to review the specific coverages offered in the policy of the company that you are considering.
Assuming that we encounter no red flags to this strategy, Compulife will move forward with adding these products by the end of December. If you have any comments on this idea, please call Bob Barney at (888) 798-3488.
At this point we have had about a dozen responses from agents and companies who have shared their views on this discussion. No life company has disputed the idea that CI products are now so uniform that the coverage differences are insignificant.
To date only one agent has taken the position that Compulife should NOT have a simple price comparison. His position is that the difference between products are more substantial than others are admitting. While he makes a compelling argument, the fact is that there appears to be no other support for his position. So, does this agent stand alone in his views, or not? If you agree with his position we would like to hear from you.
And even if the agent is correct, that there are significant differences, is it up to Compulife to create software to examine those differences when it is apparent that no one thinks that is important? And further, we think that the proposed comparison warning, which will appear on our comparison results screen, and at the bottom of our comparison results page, should be enough to draw attention to that issue.
Please let us know what you think on this subject. At this point we are planning to use January and February to roll out CI price comparisons, unless we hear more opposition to that plan. And if you want CI price comparisons, and don't care about coverage comparisons, you need to let us know that too. In a sense you could be outvoted if we only hear from those who think that that idea is not a good one.