We plan to post the March 2004 Internet monthly update to our five monthly update websites on February, 24th.
The March 2004 disk update will be processed Tuesday, February 24th and Wednesday, February 25th.
Disks will be shipped Wednesday, February 25th. You should have the March Update in your office by Friday, February 27th. Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your January disks ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed this February 2004 Update. January disks are your backup in case you should have problems installing the February 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 subscription invoice to make the change. Compulife will bonus your subscription renewal deadline for switching from disks to internet.
Most of our customers know Patrick Houle who has been with us for the past 9 years and who has been our primary technical support person. Patrick will be leaving us in February for a new employment opportunity. In a small company like Compulife, staff become like family members and you can imagine that after 9 years it is difficult saying goodbye to Patrick. We want to take this opportunity to wish Patrick all the best in his new endeavors and, more important, we want to extend our sincere thanks for his many years of dedicated service to our customers and company. Technical support is a tough and demanding job and Patrick was very competent.
Because training of a technical support person takes a significant amount of my personal time (Bob Barney), and will require a great deal of my personal involvement, the position of technical support person will be moving to the U.S. office where I work. Patrick had been handling both U.S. and Canadian calls from the Canadian office (which is why U.S. customers used a different phone number) but our new technical support person will be handling those calls from our U.S. office.
Effective immediately with this bulletin, all technical support calls (U.S. and Canada) should be directed to the (800) 798-3488 phone number. If you call the other toll-free phone number you will be advised to call (800) 798-3488 for technical support.
As I train our new technical support person, some calls will be taken by me. For example, and due to the fact that very few customers continue to use our DOS product, questions involving the DOS software will be directed to me (Bob Barney).
Calls from Canadian subscribers will also be directed to me, unless they are installation issues. Because the companies and options for the Canadian software are different, we will be first focussing on getting our technical support person familiar with the U.S. Windows software. Until then, I will be happy to answer any technical support questions for Canadian customers.
As has always been the case in the past, questions involving companies, products, rates, etc., will continue to be handled by me. The good news about this technical support change is that you will now be calling one number. In the event our technical support person cannot handle your call you will not be required to call another toll-free number to speak to me.
Callers to (800) 798-3488 will discover a new voice answering the phone. My son-in-law, Jeremiah Kuhn, has joined the U.S. company and will be training to become our new technical support person. Jeremiah will likely be the first voice you hear when you phone the U.S. office. Because most calls are for technical support, we want you looked after as quickly as possible. If Jeremiah is busy you will end up with Diane Rhodus and if Diane is busy, or it is a technical issue, you will be transferred to me (Bob Barney).
Jeremiah, who graduated from college 2 years ago, is a very personable and bright young man who has demonstrated that he can work well under pressure. Jeremiah spent the last year in customer service with Continental Express airlines and works extremely well under fire (you have to when dealing with airline passengers). As I mentioned before, technical support can be a tough assignment because people who call are having problems and having problems is not a pleasant experience.
As I train Jeremiah he will initially field most technical questions but will likely hand many of those calls off to me when they get into areas that he is not yet competent to handle. When that happens Jeremiah will be invited into my office and will listen in on the call as I assist you. After the call is completed, Jeremiah and I will discuss the nature of the call and I will give him a better "nuts and bolts" briefing.
As noted before, all questions involving DOS software will be directed to me. Be prepared to hear me encouraging you to learn to use the Windows version of our software, which is now much more powerful and robust. While we intend to support DOS for as long as possible, the day will come when it is no longer available. If you have questions about that, give me a call.
Our Canadian office manager, Donna Jackson, will continue to service all calls related to Canadian customers with respect to accounts and invoicing. As most service calls will now be re-directed to our U.S. toll-free number, Donna will need to answer the phone less, giving her more time for the responsibilities of disk preparation, duplication, packaging and distribution. As you can imagine, the volume of time involved in disk distribution has been steadily shrinking as more and more customers obtain their updates by Internet as opposed to disks.
We would also point out that the Canadian office in Kitchener will continue to be home to our software development. Having said that, and because customers rarely get to talk to our programmers, the only people who will need to call the (800) 567-8376 phone number are Canadian customers who have questions related to their invoicing or disk shipments/returns. If you need to talk to a programmer about your problem, we will conference them in.
As you can appreciate, Compulife's method of software delivery has radically changed over the past 3 years. Increasingly, our subscribers are getting their monthly updates by Internet and there are fewer and fewer subscribers getting disks. That's great news for subscribers who pay less and good news for Compulife as we have lower costs preparing, handling and shipping disks. However, with Patrick leaving, and with Jeremiah being added to the U.S. office, we will be reducing our U.S. staff by one person.
We regret having to say goodbye to Sheila Bellomy who has served the U.S. company for the past 6 years. Those of you who have taken advantage of your free (and paid) listings on the www.term4sale.com web site will know Sheila as the person you talked to with respect to those listings. Sheila was also the person who most likely answered the phone when you called (800) 798-3488. Adding the technical support position to the U.S. office means we can re-designate Sheila's responsibilities to Jeremiah and the other members of our staff.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Sheila for her service to our customers and company and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Once again, losing a long-time member of our staff is like losing a family member, and this is a difficult experience for us all.
Diane Rhodus will now be the individual in charge of term4sale listings and invoicing. Diane already takes care of the customer accounts and bookkeeping for our U.S company and so she will now take over this responsibility for both companies. U.S. subscribers will already know Diane as the person they talk to when they have questions about their invoicing and accounts. If your question has to do with your account, you will be handed over to Diane.
The disk preparation and distribution work will be taken over by my wife Pat whose role in the company will be temporarily expanded. I say temporarily because we expect disk distribution numbers to continue to dwindle. With more and more customers taking advantage of the convenience and lower cost of Internet updates, we see the day coming when disk distribution is a thing of the past.
Last month we announced an important new interface between the GBS "Agency Expert" software (client/agency file database) and the Compulife Quotation System. The Compulife program can now be launched from Agency Expert. When an Agency Expert user does so, it transfers the current client data directly into Compulife. As you proceed to use Compulife to do quotes for that client, PDF file copies of the quotes are then attached back to the client record in Agency Expert. This is all automatic and those already using the new feature like it a lot.
GBS customers who used to obtain GBS's "Term Life Expert" are now receiving the Compulife Quotation System in its place. Compulife will be honoring the balance of the GBS subscription period for that software and we will bill you directly when your renewal comes to an end.
We want to take this opportunity to welcome those GBS customers to the Compulife Quotation System and we would like to underline that we are here to be of service to you should you have any questions related to the term comparison software.
As a result of the new feature, we discovered a number of our subscribers were already GBS "Agency Expert" customers. These folks were quite delighted to discover that their two individual software providers had gotten together to provide a new software interface that makes their lives simpler and better. In talking to our customers we have asked them what they think of the GBS product and we have heard nothing but good things about the Agency Expert software.
During January we also shipped a number of software trials to GBS customers who were not using the term comparison software. Some of those have purchased. If you are in the market for a client or agency database, or you are not satisfied with what you are currently using, we would again encourage our customers to take a look at the GBS Agency Expert. The website is www.gbsinc.com.
Compulife subscribers who do not have the GBS database can purchase that database and receive a 20% discount. If you do not have the GBS database and are using an alternative, GBS offers a demo and a free conversion service to go from other databases to theirs. If you need more information, please visit www.gbsinc.com or call GBS at (800) 231-8495, extension 505. Make sure you tell them that Compulife sent you.
Compulife is now making it easier than ever for agencies to bulk purchase Compulife products. Providing that your agency is willing to spend a minimum of $1,980 per year, in addition to your own Compulife for the office ($299 per year by Internet), Compulife will give you 50% off the individual retail price for our agent software.
With the 50% discount, your $1,980 annual fee can buy either of the following two packages:
Package 1 - 40 Term4Sale - Agent Editions $1,980 per year ($49.50 each per year)
Package 2 - 20 Compulife - Personal Use Editions $1,980 per year ($99 each per year)
Either bulk package of software comes complete with custom monthly update hosting for your group of agents. This means that we will customize the software to include only those companies that you want your agents to quote. Compulife will provide the monthly updates by Internet from two separate servers and websites. This double hosting/redundancy ensures that your agents get their updates without problems.
The hosting and downloading of monthly updates from your custom sites is invisible to your agent. You will be given an "Internet Monthly Update" disk for each of your agents. Once that update disk is installed on the agent's computer, it will point that computer to the correct spot on our website in order to download your custom monthly update. Once again, updating is fully automatic providing that the disk is installed on your agent's computer.
Agencies who currently purchase this service from Compulife are very happy with it. It has eliminated the need for shipping monthly update disks to each agent and it has minimized the technical support needed. Once a year you pay for the service and once a year a single disk is sent to you for each of your agents. And that's why we are making this arrangement even more attractive for agencies who would like to start. Keep reading; it gets even better.
Regardless of which agency package deal that your agency purchases, you can add additional systems at the $49.50 or $99.00 per unit prices.
Important Note: For those who receive custom monthly update hosting, you cannot mix and match the two systems. On the other hand, if you do not need custom hosting, you can mix and match either version of the software. Further, if your volume is sufficient, at least 40 Term4Sale - Agent Editions AND 20 Compulife Personal Use Editions, you can mix and match and also receive custom hosting for both editions.
Last month we told you that Insurance Squared, one of Compulife's authorized web providers, is now offering our agency customers, who bulk purchase from Compulife, special prices for adding on-line term quotes to their agents' websites. Another one of our authorized web providers is matching that offer and you can now choose between Insurance Squared and termlifequotesonline.org.
Either company's normal fees to add term quotes to a website is $99 per year. However, if you're an agency subscriber who is bulk buying from Compulife, and if your agency is already using one of those companies for term quotes for your agency's website, those providers will now cut their fees in half for individual agents who are part of the bulk purchase arrangement. Therefore, your agents can now have their own on-line term quotes, at their own websites, for only $49.50 per year.
Add it up! You buy 40 Term4Sale - Agent Editions for $49.50 each. If any of those agents want term quotes on their websites, its only $49.50 more per agent. That's total per agent cost of ONLY $99.
For $99 your agent gets your customized term quotes on his desktop computer and your customized term quotes on his personalized website. Now that's a deal worth promoting to your agents before your competition does.
And if your agent doesn't have his own website, you need to talk to our webproviders. Both can offer complete website solutions and they are both happy to discuss bulk purchases of websites.
The condition for bulk buying arrangements is that the agency handles the funds. If the agency wants to charge its agents, or to provide the services as part of a promotional program, that's all up to the agency. The agency is responsible to collect all fees and pay Compulife.
The new agent listings for 2004 are now posted at the term4sale website. If you would like to review your listings, or would like to add to your listings, give Bob Barney a call at (800) 798-3488. I'll be happy to review what is now available or whether we can reposition your existing listings for better impact.
Sometime in February Compulife will be releasing the expanded version of the "Health Analyzer" option. The new version will add "Driving Record" and "Family History" as areas to be examined. The software has been completed, we simply need to complete the entry of the data and then run checks to ensure it is performing properly. Once again, this will be part of one of the February mid-month updates.
It should be noted that there will be a further enhancement to the refile option that is not yet functional. Once it is completed, and if you use the Health Analyzer, the program will refile the least expensive premium rate class for the product which is available based upon the health criteria that you have entered.
To go with that coming option will be a "Health Criteria Report" which will explain what premium classes were rejected by the program and the reasons why they were rejected. If the health criteria for that product was not provided by the company, the system will still pick the lowest premium available for the class selected. The Health Criteria Report will indicate that health analysis was not performed for that company/product.
We are slowly moving forward with expansion of our multi-life quotes from 2 to up to 5 people. Progress on those improvements has been slowed by other work which has been more important. As we complete that, work will again focus on expanding to a maximum of 5 lives for comparisons.
Some companies permit a discount for husband and wife when they buy policies at the same time, while others also allow it for business partners. Many companies that allow the discount for business partners will allow the discount for more than 2 partners and so the multi-life comparison button for non-spouse will eventually ask how many clients to include in the comparison. It will give the total premiums for that group. You will also be able to file that group of 2, 3, 4 or 5 individuals into the Pick 12.
Once this function is completed our multi-life comparison option will be completed.
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.us or 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 rely on three other websites 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 webpage 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.