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Update News for March 2009
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.
During the course of adding the new categories to Compulife we discovered the need to make some changes and improvements to the Pick 12 Policy Analysis. The work on Pick 12 has delayed completion of the changes to the Internet Engine.
With the introduction of the new "to age 121" categories in the U.S., the need exists for a Pick 12 presentation that goes longer than 20 or 30 years. With that in mind we have introduced a new print style: "PORT40.PTY". This is now offered in Canada as well. Having noted that, we suspect a number of subscribers have no idea what a style sheet is or how to load and/or change one.
Style sheets are loaded/changed from within the Pick 12 program. Therefore, you need to go into the Pick 12 Policy Analysis by clicking the 5th large button on the Red Master Menu.
NOTE: If you have not loaded products into the Pick 12 spreadsheet you will need to do that first. If you do not know how to do that, here is a quick video you can watch which will review the process:
Once you are in the Pick 12 Policy Analysis the quickest way to load a new print style is to go to the top of the page and click on the "File" option. On that list you will find the option "Load Print Style...". When you click on the option, an "Open" file window will appear and you will have at least 5 default styles provided by Compulife. They are:
CAUTION: If you have already changed and customized the Pick 12 printout, do not load one of the above styles unless you have saved your changes. Read on to learn how to do that.
To load a new style page, from the list that appears, double click on that style filename.
The new PORT40 (portrait printout for 40 years) is a very useful presentation for those attempting to show the benefits of long term products such as whole life or term to 100, especially the limited payment versions.
NOTE: The normal default print style is a landscape printout showing 20 years of premiums. That works well for comparing 10, 15 and 20 year products. If you are trying to show the benefits of 30 year term, the LAND30.PTY or the PORT30.PTY make more sense. You can switch to either of those by following the steps above.
Generally portrait styles look better as long as you are not quoting more than 6 to 8 products in the printout. If you are going beyond that, landscape printouts make much more sense because they offer more width for more columns of premiums.
Once again, Compulife's default spreadsheet is the landscape style for 20 years. If you need to go back to that, just following the preceding instructions and double click on LAND20.PTY.
The Compulife program lets you modify the default print styles that we provide to you. You can change the fonts and colors and modify the structure within limits. To make those changes load the print style that is closest to what you want. With that style loaded, you can go to the top of the Pick 12 window and click on the second option, "Style Options". From that menu click on "Print Style" which will display the "Print Style Options" window. From there you can select the area of the spreadsheet that you want (drop down box in top left corner) and then change the fonts/colors for that part of the spreadsheet.
The best way to learn how to use this is to make a change then do a Print Preview to see what impact you have on the print output. If you mess it up badly don't worry, just reload the print style and start over.
IMPORTANT: When you have a change that you like and want to keep, you need to "Save Print Style.
REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT: Do not save changes that you have made using the default file names that Compulife uses. Make sure that you enter a different name. If you use Compulife's default names then you will lose those changes at the next monthly update because we replace our style sheets with each monthly update.
After the interruptions to changes to Pick 12, we have again re-focussed on adding the new categories for our web software. Once those changes have been made, and once the new categories are working at our own web sites, we will alert those web engine users as to the availability of the new web programs.
Last month we announced that we will be moving forward with a new service for PDA/phones.
An increasing number of subscribers are calling to say that they have Blackberries, Apple iphones, and/or other smartphones which have web access. To date we have focussed on PDA software that did not require the expense of having to purchase web services for these smartphones. The costs for these smartphone services greatly exceed the cost of a subscription to Compulife and so we wanted alternatives that did not require you to spend more money on someone or something else.
Having said that, costs for smartphone services are coming down and/or many people are buying those services for other reasons. Either way, it is clear that devices that use those services are becoming increasingly popular and it is not a surprise to learn more and more subscribers are asking what we have. Our new service will address that.
Currently we have a generic site that we point subscribers to. Here it is so that anyone and everyone can have a look:
There are two basic problems with the service as it now exists:
First, anyone can use it and you don't even have to be a Compulife subscriber to do so. That is why we have no links to it on our web sites and why only those who have asked for it have been given the address. Needless to say, we are now making it public because that generic service will end shortly.
The second problem was that agents were required to quote ALL companies, including those which they do not sell for. Our PC and PDA software allows you to select which companies you will quote. Many subscribers do not want to show quotes for companies that they are not appointed with.
The new service that we will be providing (FREE with your subscription) will address both of these issues.
IMPORTANT: The new service will be available FREE to ANY Compulife subscriber who requests it.
When you ask for the new service, Compulife will create a personalized web site that allows your PDA to run online quotes from the web. Not only will your name appear on your web pages and quotes, you will have the option of selecting which companies appear in your comparisons.
Once again, this will be personalized to you and will be for your use ONLY. This software is NOT intended for use on a public web site and/or for use by other agents. We expect you to keep your personalized web address a complete secret. Once again, it will be for your personal use ONLY.
WARNING: Once the new sites are available, Compulife will be monitoring activity on those new PDA web quoting sites. If we detect volume indicating it is being used by more than one person, or links on the web pointing others to the web address, Compulife will terminate that service for that user. You will not want to give out your PDA web site address to anyone else.
On the other hand, if you want web quotes on your public web site, then you need to either purchase Compulife's web software or go to one of our authorized web providers and purchase the service there. This new service is NOT an attempt to offer an alternative to those services for public web quoting. If you are an agency, and you want to offer web quotes for your agents' online PDA's, then you can do so by buying these services and tailoring the web pages for PDA's.
To summarize, the new personal PDA service is an alternative for PDA quoting for those agents/agencies who are subscribers to our PC software. The new PDA service will be FREE and considered part of your existing subscription to Compulife.
Once the new service is available, either in late March or April, Compulife will place a notice and application form at this address on the web:
Once you have completed the short application form, and we have verified your subscription, we will email you a link for your new PDA service, and a link to the web page where you can select the companies that you will be quoting at your PDA site.
During February Compulife will work on rolling out video tutorials for the material that we have just covered. We will also be doing tutorials on the Income Calculator and Retirement Calculator. These are equally simple and effective marketing tools that make it easy for a client to identify their insurance and retirement saving needs.
Apart from the Analysis tutorials, if you have an area where you would like to see us do a tutorial, drop Bob Barney a note at:
We are now turning our efforts to some maintenance work that is needed to the data entry systems. Those programs have not been updated for quite some time, and some need to be converted to take advantage of the newer programming compilers that we have been using for the Windows software that we already distribute to you.
Having reviewed where we are heading over the next few years, and the changes that we would like to be able to make in the future, we have decided to stop and do a much more extensive overhaul than simply changing our data entry software. We have determine that we would also like to implement a better data storage structure that will make maintenance easier on both a data entry basis, as well as a programming basis.
To achieve our goals in this regard, we will be spending a fair bit of time reviewing our new data storage needs, and then building conversion software that will convert our existing data files into our new data file structure. Once we have done that, we will then introducing new comparison software that does exactly what it does now, but which derives its results from the new data structure. In other words, you will end up with a new program that does exactly what the old program did/does.
Once this first stage is completed, we will have both old program and old data, with new program and new data. Moving forward we will use the old data entry systems to maintain the old version, then converting old data to the new data forms for general distribution.
The next stage is to create the new data entry systems that talk to the new data format. Once we are satisfied that the new data entry system give us everything that we have now, we will then switch to the new data structure alone. We will only do this once we have thoroughly tested the new software to ensure it gives us no problems in maintaining the date. This may take several months. As far as the part you use, by the time we make that transition, you will have been using the new software for several months.
The point of sharing this with you is that the process will be quite lengthy and so from this fall throughout most of 2009, you will not be seeing many changes and improvements to the software that you use, even though the underlying foundation will be going through a massive change. Once the foundation has been reconstructed, and all the tools to work on the foundation have been built, the program will be in a position to make some substantial moves forward.
Think of it as transplant surgery, where you need to keep the patient alive and well, at the same time as you are swapping out the organs.