Update News for February 2008
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.
Did anyone notice that the program got a minor face-lift in January?
While doing work on our new stand-alone forms program (freeware for life insurance companies - keep reading), we discovered that our language supplier had provided us with a new set of display options that permitted us to give the software a much more current look.
We introduced this change in a late midmonth update, without comment, to see if anyone would notice. With the exception of one young lady who was very pleased with the change, and one very happy subscriber who had been lobbying for a larger "Compare Now" button on the Enter Client window, there wasn't much said.
It should be noted that the "Compare Now" button is tied to the bottom right corner of the client window, and it grows or shrinks with the size that you make the window. The bigger you make the client window, the bigger the button is. I personally make the size of my client window equal to the length of the Red Menu, and just a little wider than the client record/card. If you make it bigger than that, then the button does become quite large.
To change the size of a window go to the bottom right corner of the window with your mouse. The mouse cursor will change into a double arrow that is on a 45 degree angle. If you then click and hold the left mouse button, you can drag the corner of the window to make the window taller or shorter, wider or more narrow.
Apart from the comments mentioned above, no one had much to say. Generally if no one complains then that is a pretty good indication that subscribers are happy. At least we hope you are happy because we think the new look is a nice improvement. Make sure you let us know if you think something could be better.
Once Compulife completes work on our new stand-alone forms library software, we will be turning our attention to Critical Illness comparisons. You will find information about the progress on that, at the end of this bulletin. We have included the relevant portions from the U.S. bulletin.
While the forms library has not had any immediate benefits for Canadian subscribers, we think that that will change in the next couple of months. We have now spoken to Transamerica Life and Canada Life, both of whom have expressed interest in providing us with their forms for the library. We pointed out to Transamerica that their U.S. counterpart has been VERY helpful and it would be nice to have the same treatment north of the border. We also noted that the "first in" always gets some good publicity for themselves because agents appreciate added convenience when selling life insurance - and appreciate companies that provide them with that convenience.
We have also obtained a commitment from one of our Canadian agency subscribers to set up our online forms library for their web site. They will be the first agency to take advantage of our offer which will not only allow them to have the forms that Compulife will provide for their web site, but the ability to use our forms entry technology to adds forms for other companies and product lines. We also think the agency will give us a great deal of help convincing their group of life companies to provide forms to Compulife for our library.
As we promised, once the forms work is complete, we will turn our attention to adding Critical Illness to Compulife.
Those who have followed our midmonth bulletins will appreciate the ebb and flow of the discussions and debate on the subject of Critical Illness policies, and whether price comparisons are sufficient for comparison.
Compulife has now come to the conclusion that price comparisons ARE NOT ADEQUATE for comparing differences between coverages and definitions in Critical Illness policies.
We had originally seized upon the comments of one agent in Canada who publicly said:
When we first read that we thought "fantastic", Critical Illness has evolved and policies are now more similar than different, and if coverages and definitions are uniform then price comparisons - rather than benefit comparisons - make much more sense. As you know we aired that for discussion and comment and just when we thought most agents agreed, Dick Gilbert of Megacorp Insurance sent Compulife the following:
I would like to wish you, your family and staff a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2008.
A number of quite knowledgeable C.I.I. brokers have called and asked me to try and influence you with regards to the format Compulife intends to use for C.I.I. quotes. I've advised them all that you can't be influenced and it would appear from your postings to-date that you have already made up your mind.
Bob, I can assure you that I am not the only one that knows there are significant differences between product definitions.
I would like to point out a few facts:
1. My associates and I have more experience than any other group in Canada. Not only did we design the first successful individual C.I.I. plan in Canada, we advised several carriers and negotiated with the reinsurers.
2. In 2007, our office received 3 calls from distraught brokers whose clients had all suffered critical illnesses and were refused payment by the carriers involved. 2 of the calls came within the last month. None of the policies in question were sold through our office or with plans we would recommend.
3. The denied claims all resulted from the covered conditions not satisfying the definition in their respective policies. 38% or more of denied C.I.I. claims are the result of the condition not satisfying the respective policy.s definition.
4. In 2008, the single reinsurer's monopoly of C.I.I. reinsurance in Canada will come to an end, as a very aggressive major international reinsurer enters the market. We have already had some dealings with the new party in connection with a new Group C.I.I. plan we have just launched and I can tell you they are a breathe of fresh air and will definitely break the monopoly. We intend to work with them on the individual side also.
5. Bob, if you think your warning caveat is going to protect you and Compulife, then you don't understand C.I.I. The statement: A CI benefit is paid ONLY if the insured becomes afflicted with one of the critical illnesses that are named in the policy contract.; will actually sink you. Don't you think the three denied claimants, mentioned in #2, had their conditions covered in their respective policies?
6. We spend a great deal of time updating our individual and Group C.I.I. policy comparisons not because we enjoy doing so; but, because we don't want to be sued or have any of our brokers sued!
Bob, I believe there is a relatively simple method of illustrating C.I.I. on a fair basis, which should keep Compulife out of any lawsuits and at the same time attract major C.I.I. producers. If you are interested give me a call.
In conclusion, you'll note that I have copied a few brokers in the hope that they will contact you and give you their input.
All the best, regards,
As a result of the comments from Dick Gilbert, and as a result of additional comments from other subscribers, Compulife now believes that a simple premium comparison of CI products is inadequate in order to properly determine which CI product best meets your client's needs.
Further, it has been brought to Compulife's attention that there are already a number of CI claims which have been denied, where the agents believe that the insured suffered a loss from an illness named by the policy, but where the loss did not fit the particular wording and definition of the policy.
In our view, this is the worst possible scenario for agents marketing these products.
Compulife believe that we are in no position to offer meaningful commentary regarding the differences in wording between CI contracts, or to be able to advise you what the implications of those difference might mean. Our expertise lies in the area to doing comparisons of much simpler life insurance policies. While that expertise is transferable to the "premium comparison" of other insurance products, we have no expertise in differences between similar products that appear to cover the same things, but which have conditions and coverages that are defined differently.
Having conceded that, we seriously doubt that most agents are in any different position. And worse, if Compulife or the average agent attempts to offer an opinion as to the meaning for a definition of a critical illness, and the opinion later turns out to be incorrect, we think the agent (and Compulife) could have a serious problem.
Having noted this, it would seem that there is a need for a service which specifically examines the differences in CI products and which provides information about developments in products and information about claim denials. In fact we think a service providing that kind of information is badly needed by all agents marketing CI insurance.
To address this Compulife will be doing two things:
First, we will be moving forward with a PRICE ONLY comparison of CI products. However, displays and printouts will come with much more toughly worded disclaimers that underline, beyond doubt, that the comparison or individual quote is "price ONLY". Agents and consumers will be warned that they must give significant consideration to the definitions contained in individual contracts, and how those definitions compare from company to company.
Second, Compulife will be working together with Dick Gilbert on the creation of a new web site service that can be directly linked to from Compulife program.
The new web site will be called CIAnswers (short for Critical Illness Answers) which you can view by going to:
We have also registered the following domain names:
The content of the CIAnswers web site will be under the editorial control of Dick Gilbert who will make all decisions about content. We are are convinced that Dick Gilbert is a leading expert in the field of Critical Illness Insurance. It was clear from the debate that Dick knows his stuff.
Compulife's role in the site will be to provide the technical assistance to operating the site. We will assist Dick in organizing the content that he believes should be published there. From our early discussions with Dick the intent is to run the site much like a magazine, and the site will contain relevant articles from a number of contributors. Dick has already published a spreadsheet comparison of a number of CI products and that will also be a key feature on the site.
The web site will be password protected and users MUST BE registered in order to use the site. There will be NO CHARGE for ANY agent to use the site and there will be NO CONDITIONS for agents to use the site other than they must register. They must also agree to hold harmless Compulife, Dick Gilbert and any other contributors to the site.
IMPORTANT: In order for Compulife to agree to participate in this site we required that brokers do not have to be contracted with Dick's agency in order to have access to the site - Dick agreed. Further, brokers do not have to be Compulife subscribers to use the site. This should help address any concerns of any of Dick's agency competitors who may consider the site an endorsement of Dick's agency by Compulife or an endorsement of Compulife by Dick's agency.
To ensure that the site is FREE to all, the site will contain advertising and promotional information about Dick's insurance agency and Compulife. Agents will NOT be compelled to do business with either or both entities, but advertising is the basis of funding for the site.
Once again, the site will be password protected.
Compulife subscribers will have a direct from Compulife link to the meat and potato information provided at the site. Compulife's direct access feature will be an exclusive arrangement.
Entering the site without using Compulife will mean that users must go through some advertising and promotional pages to get to the meat and potatoes.
During the period while the site is under construction, Compulife will be working to build our CI price comparison software. Once the new web site has adequate content to begin, we will release the comparison software to our subscribers.
ALL Compulife subscribers will receive the new CI comparison for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please contact Bob Barney at (888) 798-3488 or you can email Bob at
The balance of this bulletin is taken from the U.S. bulletin.
During January we were able to wrap up work on our new stand-alone forms retrieval software which is called go4forms.exe. The icon for GoForForms is a gopher with a distinctive librarian look.
The work took longer than we thought due to further improvements to the forms retrieval system. The changes that we made were the result of some input from one of the largest insurance retailers in the U.S., who also happens to be a longtime subscriber to Compulife. They are planning to begin using our forms retrieval system in their operation. They told us what they thought we needed y way of further improvements to the forms retrieval software and all those changes have now been made.
The changes are most obvious on the Transamerica Occidental forms listings - so we would appreciate you taking a look and letting us know what you think. We are now working through the other companies to adapt their lists of forms to the same new classes. That work should be completed in February.
As mentioned, one of the changes suggested was some changes to the class descriptions. Some classes have been expanded based upon the suggestions. As we advised last month, classes are a universal system of identifying types of forms. Because classes are universal they apply to all companies equally.
Classes are distinguished by color coding. That was another change that was requested. We were advised to NOT use colored text because it was harder to read, and to stay away from pink and red background colors because they are too hard on the eyes. You will see that the new color scheme is much more pastel and subtle, and as a result we agree that the lists of forms are easier on the eyes.
We were also told by our subscriber that they needed multiple email templates. The idea is that there would be different things to say about different types of forms, and so the user wanted the ability to select the appropriate email from a list of email possibilities. That option is now completed and you can now construct a number of different email templates that can be selected, on the fly, when emailing forms.
For those who wish to see what we are talking about, you can check out the improvements by going to the Forms Library, and selecting Transamerica Occidental Life (the second Transamerica on the list).
As noted, during February, we will be working to change the rest of the companies over to the amended classes.
All the above changes and improvements have now been made to the forms retrieval system within Compulife, and they are also now contained in our new stand-alone forms library software. That software is available for FREE to any life insurance company who wants it, providing that the company has been kind enough to provide us with their forms for our library. We will also provide companies with the forms entry/maintenance technology, which is also FREE for life companies.
Our attention is now turning to develop our web based version of go4forms.exe. The web version of "Go For Forms" will allow an agent to obtain forms from a web site. While many companies already have that ability, the big advantage to the Compulife variation is that the web version can display lists of forms, and retrieve forms, from the very same location that the PC based forms software obtains its forms and updates.
Compulife's forms technology also permits the life insurance company to establish its own web sites (servers) and does not require the storage of forms, or the retrieval software itself, on any particular web server. This means that life companies will have complete autonomy and independent control over which servers they use or how many they use.
Today, renting space on servers has gotten dirt cheap and Compulife has built redundancy into all our own services by having multiple servers, provided by multiple internet providers. If there is a failure it does not affect our subscribers because our software can go to alternate servers to get the same information. We think that life insurance companies should be thinking the same way and our forms software gives them the ability to easily do that.
And to reiterate, apart from multiple server redundancy, Compulife's forms retrieval software gives a life company TWO different methods of providing forms to their agents. And even though there are TWO ways to get forms, there is only one system of maintenance required for both.
To learn more, you can speak to Bob Barney by calling (888) 798-3488.
Once work on the on-line retrieval software is completed, Compulife will be allowing our authorized web providers to have copies of the on-line forms retrieval software for their web sites. This will also include those subscribers who purchase and use the Compulife Internet engine on their own sites. As an Agency this is useful because your agents will be able to have forms available from any computer that has Internet access.
Agencies who purchase the Compulife Internet Engine will also be able to obtain the Forms Management Software. This will allow Agencies to add additional forms to the forms management system, that Compulife doesn't provide.
For example, a lot of agencies sell mutual funds. Compulife will NOT have mutual funds forms in our software. But if you have the Compulife Forms Management Software you will be able to add the company to the list and create an inventory of that company's forms using our Forms Management Software. You may have your own agent contracts, instructions, etc.; they can all be added to your forms library. When you are done the Forms Management Software will create your own customized version of the forms library, including those companies you select from the Compulife forms library, and the combined forms library can be transferred to your web site.
To complete the deal, you will be given copies of Compulife's "Go For Forms" programs, both the PC and online version.
All of this will be free to any agency which buys our Internet engine. The Internet engine is sold for $995 per year and comes for use on either Linux or Windows NT servers.
But if all you need are the forms that Compulife provides, then your least expensive way to add forms and quotes to your web site is to sign up with one of our authorized web providers.
The first thing you can do is to help us add more companies. Currently the following are the companies whose forms are available in our forms library:
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
If you have a company which you do business with, and their forms are not in our system, WHY? Remember, this is FREE to the life company. It costs them NOTHING to have their forms available through Compulife.
All we ask from the company are two things. First, we need the current forms and a list of forms indicating the states that they are used in and how they are used (most companies have all this already). Second, we ask that the company notify us by email whenever they add or make changes to their forms. Once again, most companies are already doing that with their agencies, all they need to do is put us in the information loop.
Life companies do not have to use our retrieval software to participate. It is available to them if they want it, or if they want to have an alternate (backup) method for their agents to get forms. The important thing is that the company does not have to use our technology.
Many life companies don't realize this opportunity exists. You can do those companies a favor by calling that company and asking why their forms are not in Compulife. Give them Bob Barney's phone number: (888) 798-3488. Alternately you can call Bob with the contact person. Either way, YOU need to let the company know how helpful it would be if you could get their forms through your Compulife program.