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Update News for December 2013
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
A Challenge But You Can help
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
Each year at Christmas I address the subject closest to my heart: Christianity. You know, the same "Christ" that is in the word "Christmas".
This year's Christmas greeting contains a reference to an Elvis Presley song which you may want to check out.
Several years ago I moved my Christmas greeting from the main bulletin to a separate bulletin which you can view by clicking on the following link:
Last year, in the U.S., we increased Term4Sale listing fees for the first time since the site began over 10 years ago. Fees went from $12 per year to $15 per year. Canadian fees were left unchanged at $12 per year.
There will are no changes to fees for 2014 and the invoices for renewal of fees were sent mid-November. The 2014 renewals must be paid by the end of this year: 2013. If the invoice is not paid by the end of December, your previous paid listings will be removed and placed back into the available pool.
Subscribers looking to get into postal codes that were previously full should check the Term4Sale postal code analyzer on or about January 15th. You will find the postal code analyzer here:
We get a certain number of cancellations for these listings each year at renewal time. With that in mind, on or about January 15th we will place the new listings (with the deletions made) onto the web site. That is the time to see if you can get into postal codes that were previously taken by others who may have surrendered those codes at renewal.
Needless to say, if someone else purchases a postal code that you did not pay to renew for 2014, and you change your mind after that occurs, you will no longer have the ability to get that postal code.
IMPORTANT: Postal codes in which you are listed for FREE are unaffected by the paid renewals. As long as you continue your subscription to Compulife your FREE postal code listings are secure.
During 2013 we spent a significant amount of money on pay per click advertising with both Bing and Google. To put it simply, we just didn't get enough bang for the buck. We have added some google and bing analytics to our email requests from consumers, which tell us where the request originated (how the person first found the term4sale.ca site). The vast majority of visitors are being generated from organic searches.
For example, if you go to google and type in "term insurance", you should find us on the first page. If you type in "term life insurance" we are on the first page. Other searches fair better. If you type in "life insurance comparison" we rank number one. "term comparison" we rank number one. You should see similar results with the same searches in Bing.
Last month Jeremiah and Chris (our programmer) spent a week in Las Vegas attending the Pubcon convention. The one week convention offers a number of different sessions (courses) which help you to better understand social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While the trip was expensive, we think it will pay off with improvements in our web site traffic. We certainly hope so, YOU paid for it with your listing fees for 2013 (no Chris and Jeremiah were not given money for gambling). The big gamble will be whether the trip pays off.
Based upon what the fellows learned and reported, 2014 will see us focus many man hours on improving our ranking and driving more traffic to our site using, among other things, social media. We think that what we have learned at the convention can help us institute new ways to enhance the popularity of the term4sale.ca website. We'll have more on this in the coming months.
This topic is primarily directed at U.S. subscribers, as we have over 20 life insurance companies who have provided us with their application forms for our forms library. Sadly, we don't even have ONE Canadian life insurance company who has provided us with forms. We think it would take an effort from Canadian subscribers to convince Canadian companies to do so. That is what it took to get that ball rolling in the U.S.
This afternoon, as I was doing the first draft of this bulletin, I received a call from a subscriber who was upset that we did not have a current form for Transamerica Life (U.S.). The conversation began as though it were a call demanding capital punishment.
As I explained to the subscriber, and as I am explaining to you, forms are a big challenge. Currently there are over 5,700 forms in the Compulife forms database. At any one point in time one of those forms can be replaced by a newer version and it can sometimes be a crap shoot as to whether or not we were told of the change.
Some life insurance companies are very, very good in letting us know about changes to forms. We want to thank those companies for their efforts, they are sincerely appreciated. Other life companies and not as helpful and we are left to do some real digging to keep up to date. Having said that, we still appreciate the permission that the companies have given us to have their forms in our system.
It is important to note that Compulife completely respects the fact that life insurance company forms are the property of each respective life insurance company who holds the copyright for those forms. We will not include forms in our system unless a life company agrees to permit us to do so. There is no cost to the life insurance company, although we do request that they keep us alerted to changes in their forms and be available to answer any questions we may have regarding a form's use or the states that those forms are used in.
This is different from life insurance company rates. We will publish the premiums for life insurance company products in our software whether we have a company's permission or not. Providing that we have received documents which were produced by a life company, which we can use as a source of information to obtain rates or other pertinent facts about the products, we will publish those products in our software. Remember, we are not reproducing the company literature, we are simply using that literature as a resource to gain the facts about a product which the life company sells to the general public. Those facts are not trade secrets, patented or protected by copyright.
Back to forms. If a form changes and we do not know about it, we won't know until someone gets the old one, tries to use it, and is told there is a newer form.
With that in mind, NEVER assume that we know or will know about a form change.
If you encounter an older version of a form in Compulife, and you know that there is a newer version, please email us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your information is first to advise us of the change (and accurate) then you will get a 10% coupon for your assistance.
I became aware to the following article and thought you would find it worth considering:
Of course there is no concern for having Compulife backed up in that if you lose your hard drive we can email you the installation instructions and you can fully recover our software at anytime. However, we all have computer files that are unique to us, and so the need to have "copies", "duplicates", otherwise known as "backups", is very important. We discussed backups at length in our September 2005 bulletin. If you want to read our thoughts on backing up your computer, you can go to:
Since then there has been a proliferation of "online" backups. You will find more information about that here:
While on-line backup are convenient and very user friendly, I have two problems with them.
First, I don't trust anyone else with my data. If someone hacks my computer, that's one thing. If I put my data on someone else's computer, and it gets hacked, then that's another thing. Having said that, I can't imagine these backup system have not taken such things into account, and so I suspect the risk is low. Even so, Compulife's most precious files will not be on anything buy our own computers, and the numerous hard drives that we have with backups on them.
Second, and more important, if your hard disk crashes and you have to start over, you will find online backups important, but they do not resurrect your hard disk as it was before the disaster occurred. Installing the operating system and various programs onto your computer creates a spider web of files that cannot be replaced easily. Inevitably, if you lose your hard disk drive, and you don't have a cloned copy (another drive that is identical) then you will need to get a new drive, install the operating system, all the programs you were using, then restore from you online backup those files that were unique to your computer.
We know all about this program because it is quite routine to get the service call from the subscriber who has blown up a disk drive, and is now discovering what a painful process it is to restore everything back to the new drive. Or we hear from the subscriber who bought a new computer, and supposedly all his old files were transferred, but discovers that didn't happen.
As far your your Compulife goes, none of this is a big deal because you can re-install Compulife easily. We have copies of all those files, and actually the monthly update is a complete refresh of our software, each month. So, installing Compulife is as simple as installing the startup files, installing your subscription renewal, and getting a monthly update. Piece of cake.
But you might want to consider cloning your hard disk drive (I have several cloned copies of various vintages) and then having current copies of your unique files in another place (like an online backup system). Of course if you clone your hard drive routinely, and keep copies of your cloned drives in another location (don't let a fire burn up everything) then you might not need that online backup service.
Either way, it's not IF your hard disk drive is going to fail, it's only a matter of when. Most people don't have the problem, because they replace their older equipment with newer equipment before the disaster happens.
In last month's bulletin we talked about a serious encounter with a software bootlegger. We explained how such problems are addressed. We also reviewed the software licenses that Compulife offers, and their restrictions. You can review that if you have not already done, by clicking on the following link:
In response to that bulletin we received an email from a subscriber that we thought summed things up quite nicely:
I read with much interest your recent monthly bulletin regarding unauthorized use (ie-theft) of your Compulife software.
I have been a Compulife subscriber for some years now. I consider it to be one of the best bargains in the industry. As an individual agent, it is an absolute no-brainer to me that for $199 a year [note: $149 pear year in Canada], I have a powerful tool whereby I can show incontrovertible proof to a prospect that in the highly commoditized market of life insurance, he can indeed get the best price through me.
I must confess, I have not sold a lot of life insurance in recent years, so in that regard, my subscription has been highly under-utilized. Even so, for the sales that I do make, Compulife is largely the reason that I am able to do so. If it helps me earn just a relatively small number of commissions a year of $500 to $1000 (which it does) then it is worth the price several times over. Like I said, a no-brainer.
Which brings me back to your bulletin. I simply cannot imagine why anyone, individual or agency, would feel the need to actually STEAL your product. Anyone who has the least business sense would just factor in the price as part of the cost of doing business. Also, when I read the story the agency owner in question gave you, my BS meter pegged at maximum. An agency owner who doesn't even bother to skim over the highlights of a contract? Doubtful. And an owner who in this day and age doesn't know that unauthorized use of proprietary subscription software isn't considered theft? Even more doubtful.
I confess I have never read your contract word for word in its entirety. But even a brief two minute glance through it made it unmistakably clear that my individual subscription was for my use only, period. And just as clear that for a slightly higher price, up to five agents could use it, but only them and no one else [note: not quite. An agency subscription allows 5 MACHINES in one location, multiple agents (no limit) but no access to that equipment outside office]. And for an agency with a lot of agents who needed to use the software, a quantity discount could be arranged. [note: absolutely correct.]
On several occasions, I have had other agents ask me to install the software on their computer. I have always politely but firmly told them that they could go right to your website and get it for FREE for four months, and if they like it they can get their own subscription. I would also tell them that if they never planned on writing any permanent life insurance, they could get the term-only version for $70.00 [note: not available in Canada], and use it to go out and land one term case that would earn them hundreds of dollars almost immediately. And yet, as far as I know, none of them ever got a subscription. It always amazed me that even after seeing what a valuable tool Compulife was, they weren't willing to cough up a very nominal amount to have it for themselves.
I just cannot understand that kind of something-for-nothing mindset. But I figure that it actually works to my advantage, as I have an unfair advantage over agents that don't have Compulife. For that (selfish) reason alone, I heartily commend you for aggressively enforcing the (quite reasonable) terms of your contract.
Instead of being belligerent, if the offending party had simply confessed, apologized, offered to make reparations, and pledged to abide by the contract going forward, I think that you might have been willing to work something out and allow him to continue as a subscriber. Too bad for him that he thought he could and should continue to get something for nothing.
So keep up the good work, Bob. You provide an invaluable product and service for guys like me.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks George.