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Update News for May 2013
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 we have explained, we are going through a significant infrastructure overhaul to the Compulife program. It has been many years since we last did this, and the time was/is right to implement better data storage/retrieval technology versus what we currently have.
When Compulife first introduced software, one of the big financial decisions for a subscriber was whether they should purchase a double sided floppy disk drive versus a single sided disk drive. It was a big decision. A single sided disk drive for an IBM PC was $695 while a double sided would run you another $300. We needed two double sided drives in order to run our software, so the user had to lay out the bucks.
Another issue we faced was memory. In order to run Compulife a user with a 64K IBM PC had to upgrade the memory to a minimum of 256K. A 192K memory card was a few hundred bucks and so the agent who wanted to run Compulife had to have a substantially upgraded IBM PC.
Of course all those numbers look tiny by contrast to today's machines, but what we are trying to explain is that Compulife was originally designed to run in very small environments. That's why, when we transitioned to Palm devices, our software ran so quickly. Because Compulife was originally designed to function on older slower equipment, the original design of our data structure was intended to keep things tiny and much of that remains in the software.
One of the other benefits (for us) of the current data design is that it is very encrypted, making it virtually impossible to reverse engineer. I guess I am a bit paranoid but I want to ensure that any new data structure is going to be equally difficult to reverse engineer and our programmer assures us the new data structure is just as encrypted.
The problem with our current data structure is that it is very rigid and requires a significant amount of work when we decide to add new information or capability to it. The new data structure will be much more flexible, making it easy to add and expand features and capabilities.
The other thing we are doing is migrating our data entry software (what you don't see or use) from DOS to Windows (stop laughing). There has been no real need to convert the data entry software to Windows because YOU never see it or need to use it. Converting it to Windows will make it much easier for our programmer to make additions and modifications in the future. But in the meantime, it's a big re-programming effort that is taking a lot of time. Having said that, the progress is looking really good and when completed, my job of entering rates will be even faster and easier than it is now. And I can assure you that I routinely shock companies at how quickly we can add their products. It's only going to get better.
The problem in rolling out a new data structure is that it must be done while we are at the same time supporting our current data structure. When it is ready for you to begin using, we intend to roll it out but still have the old data and program available at the same time. Both versions of the software will contain same latest rate changes and modifications and both will be updated together, at the same time.
When the new data entry system has been completed, we will have an internal software program to convert old data to new data after we make changes to the old. ONLY after we are certain that the new data and program is working properly, and ONLY after we are certain that the new data entry system talks to the data and works flawlessly, will we dump the old system.
But this is all time consuming, although our programmer is closing in on the end of the new data entry system interface. We are hoping this will be done by the fall.
For those technically minded, the biggest change moving from DOS to Windows is the construction of the new data entry screens (called the user interface). As virtually all our existing variables will still remain, and will just be stored and manipulated differently with the new system, we decided that we would create a new Windows based user interface for our old, existing data structure. That allows us to test the user interface's functionality with the old data structure. Once again, that is the first step and what we are working on now.
Once that is completed a second data entry system will be created, using the same user interface. In this version of the data entry software, that user interface will be talking to the new data structure. That will give us two data entry system that will both work the same, one for the old data, and one for the new data.
Once the second step is completed, a converter will be built that allows the old data to be converted to the new data structure.
This careful, step by step process will ensure that you will continue to have dependable, reliable software to use, even as we are rolling out the new product. There is an old saying in software, that the last bug is never found. But having said that, our current software is highly reliable and well tested. If there is a bug, it is usually a data entry error that can be easily corrected.
Our first goal with the new software will be to get it to the same level of reliability. However, given the massive changes, the new software will have inevitably have some bugs that we won't find during our testing and won't be known to us until they are reported by subscribers. That's why you will have BOTH the old and new on your computer. If in doubt, you will be able to fall back on the old.
For those interested, the existing Compulife program is called GOWIN.EXE. The new Compulife program will be called CQS.EXE. For a lengthy interim period you will have both on your machine.
Now there will be a certain number of customers who stick with the old and who will not want to use or play with the new. That happened when we migrated from DOS to Windows. In fact when we finally killed the DOS software there were some really unhappy subscribers who liked it better. We fully expect to go through that again. But our assurance to you is that we will not kill the old until the new does everything the old did and just as reliably.
Once we are through the transition, you will see the system accelerate forward with many new options and features.
Having said all that, there are a lot of features and benefits in our current software that subscribers do not use. We thought we would devote this bulletin, and some future bulletins, to bringing some of those existing features to your attention.
We also hope that this summer we will be able to do some additional work on Instruction Tutorials. Those are the videos which explain some of the features in Compulife. If you have not checked those out, go to "Help" on the Red Menu, and then click on "Instructions". That will take you directly to the video tutorial page.
A number of subscribers have called in the last couple of months having noticed that the "minimize" button has been removed from Compulife's Red Menu. That was the button next to the red "X" , in the top right corner of the menu, for closing the software. There is now ONLY a red X to close the program, no minimize button.
The reason for the minimize button being removed is that we intentionally took steps to eliminate some of the flexibility of moving windows and sizing the red menu. The reason for that was we had too many subscribers losing windows that they had moved. They would then have to call in order to get help to fix the problem.
The fix was simple. You needed to go to "options" at the top of the Red Menu and click on "Reset Defaults". Resetting defaults puts everything back to the way we think you should run Compulife. Once that was done, the problem was fixed and the subscriber could then carry on. The problem was it routinely led to a number of calls trying to sort out the issue and we grew tired having to deal with it.
Even so, some customers like to minimize software rather than close it. We were now getting calls because they didn't know how to minimize our software without the minimize button. For the last couple of months we have been explaining that you can minimize any program by clicking on it's tab on the bottom of the screen.
When you run a program in Windows, the program appears on a tab at the bottom of the screen in an area called the "task bar". The task bar keeps a running inventory of all the programs that you have open.
If you click on a program's tab at the bottom of the screen you will minimize that program to the task bar. If you click the tab again, it reappears on the screen. That works for ALL programs and once you learn to use it, is much handier than shopping for your program and having to look for the button in the top right hand corner.
Anyway, having gotten through all that, our phones have quieted down considerably, which leaves us more time for the other fun things that we do, like entering company rates and improving our services.
At our website www.4biggestmistakes.ca we identify buying too little insurance as the second biggest mistake that life insurance buyers make:
2. Not Buying Enough Life Insurance
This needs analysis concept is easy. If you die, your dependents lose the paycheque that you brought home each week/month. If the paycheque can be replaced, doesn't that solve the financial problem caused by the death. Of course it does.
The only question is how how much investment capital does it take to replace that paycheque for a given period of time? That what this feature calculates.
At www.term4sale.ca you will find an "Income Replacement Calculator" that lets you easily see how much life insurance it takes to provide your family with the income that you earned while you were alive. If you insure your paycheque, everything else will take care of itself because you pay all of your expenses from that paycheque.
Not buying enough life insurance is not the second biggest mistake consumers make, it is the BIGGEST mistake. No beneficiary receiving a life insurance death benefit ever cared what kind of life insurance it was or what it cost. The only concern is whether the amount of the death benefit was going to be enough money to replace the loss of the insured.
An old friend, David Chilton, author of "The Wealthy Barber", used to do a lot of financial planning seminars and often discussed life insurance. Dave would say that he didn't care what kind of life insurance people purchased as long as they had "enough" life insurance. He was right.
Compulife's "Income Calculator" began life as the "Income From Capital Analysis", which we called "IFCA". In fact if you click on "Income Calculator" on the Red Menu of the Windows program (7th button from the top) you will display a window with 4 tabs at the top. The second of four tabs at the top of the window is called "Income From Capital Analysis".
IFCA began life as a DOS based program that allowed the user to calculate 4 different things. That program sold stand-along for $179 but it is now included FREE as part of your subscription to Compulife. I have said to many subscribers over the years that next to the impact of comparisons on helping you close sales, Income From Capital Analysis will do more to help you make money than any other feature in Compulife. The reason is quite simple, it will increase your average sale substantially, and it will make it much easier to sell larger face amounts. And the other benefit is your clients will have more insurance and know why they do.
The current IFCA does the same 4 calculation that the original IFCA did. They are:
The most important of these functions, in relation to selling life insurance, is the second, calculating how much capital it takes to provide an income for a period of time.
To make it easier to understand the logic behind that, we created a "scripted" version of the strategy and called it "Income Calculator" which is the first tab in the window with 4 tabs.
If you have not done so, try using the "Income Calculator" and stepping though a typical insurance need scenario. There are some articles that I wrote for the magazine "Canadian MoneySaver" which you will find here:
Once you have played with the calculator, and read the articles, I would encourage you to give it a try in a sale scenario. Make sure you use the year by year schedule of values, and carefully explain the mechanics of the first two or three lines. The client needs to see/understand how income is removed, and interest is earned on the balance. After going through a couple of lines, explaining the income goes up with inflation, take them to the last line of the schedule where all the money is gone. It is a complete shock for most buyers and they will not longer be concerned about the big number at the beginning, they will be concerned about the ZERO at the end.
Anyway, many subscribers overlook this simple and effective needs analysis tool. Because they do, they miss out on the opportunity to sell bigger face amounts and do so more quickly and easily.
One of the "options" on the Red Master Menu (under options at the top is "Multi User Login". If you click on the option, you will be tossed out of Compulife. When you restart Compulife, you will be asked to "Enter your user ID". If you do not enter anything, and click the OK button, the system will say: "Master is the User ID for System Administration". When you click on OK, MASTER will automatically be entered into the field and you can proceed to run Compulife just as you had before.
IMPORTANT: You must use "MASTER" (or "master"; it is not case sensitive) in order to do system maintenance functions such as updating the software. Any other User ID will turn off certain options such as obtaining monthly or mid-month updates.
When I first sold life insurance in the late 1970's, I did referral work for a Property and Casualty agency which had a simple and yet effective filing system on their first (pretty basic) computer system. Client records were given 5 letter codes which were the first four letters of the client's last name, and the first letter of the client's first name. It was always an easy way to remember the client's code in order to retrieve the client's record from the computer. I recommend that you assign User ID's to clients the same way.
Here is a little exercise to explain what I mean:
Start Compulife and when it asks for a User ID, try entering "BARNB" to represent Bob Barney. The first thing the system will do is say: "Select the Name of the User to Use as a Model" and will give you a list of current Users you have saved in the system. The User ID "MASTER" will be already be highlighted and we recommend that you use that as your model. When you select that, Compulife will appear as it does now. The one difference is that you will notice the title of the Red Menu says "Compulife Quotation System BARNB" indicating that you are in that user's folder.
Go ahead and enter in some client information. My name is Bob Barney and my birthdate is April 2, 1954. I don't smoke and would be consider in "regular" health. Quote $500,000 of insurance. When you have put that in, and tried running a comparison, close the program.
Start Compulife again and this time enter yourself in as the client. Use the first four letters of your last name, and the first initial of your first name. When it asks you to choose a model, use MASTER. When you have tried a couple of quotes on yourself, exit the program.
Now restart Compulife and enter the User ID "BARNB". You will find that my information is still in the system, even though you entered yourself as a new client.
How does it keep the USERS separate?
To find out about USERS files (which are actually folders), go to your desktop and double click on "My Computer". If Compulife is on your C: drive, double click on the C drive. That will display a list of folders on your hard drive. One of those folders should be the "COMPLIFE" folder which contains the Compulife program. Double click on "COMPLIFE". This will produce a list of files in the "COMPLIFE" folder. The first file is actually a folder called "USERS". Double click on the "users" folder. At this point you will see the list of users folders, each having a name corresponding to what you entered.
IMPORTANT: User ID was never designed to be a client database. Therefore, if you want a list of users, or want to delete a user or group of users from the users folder, then you need to use "My Computer" and follow the above instructions to list or delete the folders.
VERY IMPORTANT: This is not designed to be a client database. If you are looking for a true database solution, we would remind you that Compulife and GBS, Inc. have created a very useful interface between their client database and our Quotation System. You can learn more about that by going to gbsinc.com.
However, if you simply want to keep some of your more important clients on file, so you don't have to enter their information into Compulife again, you can use "Multi User Login" to store as many clients as you like.
If you want to turn off the "Multi User Login", simply exit Compulife, start it again and select the User ID "MASTER". Go to "options" on the Red Menu and click on "Multi User Login". You will be tossed out of the program and when you start it again, the User ID will not be requested.
IMPORTANT: The users you entered will still be in the system. Turning off the Multi User Login does nothing more than tell the program to run the "MASTER" user each time you use the program. If you want to retrieve other User IDs, then turn the feature back on.
ALSO IMPORTANT: If you are using Multi User Login, you can have several version of Compulife open at the same time, without having them bump into each other. This is particularly useful for those on networks.