Click Here to Print This Bulletin
Update News for October 2014
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.
Last month's bulletin talked about the Term4Sale pricing strategy for 2015. It did not meet with the resistance or complaints that we had encountered from the previous June 2014 announcement.
To review the changes:
Trial subscribers, who can obtain Compulife for 4 months FREE, can no longer use their 3 postal code listing to bump existing subscribers who have paid listings. Bumping can ONLY occur after they have paid for the software.
For most subscribers who buy postal codes listings, there is no change to term4sale listing prices. Changes to prices ONLY affect those who buy more than 20 postal codes.
The maximum postal codes ANY subscriber can have for 2015 is 80.
Only subscribers with the Standard License ($299 versus $199) can buy more than 20 postal codes.
Current personal use subscribers do not face the higher priced software until their first renewal of the software.
Personal use subscribers who want to buy more than 20 postal codes, have until November 15th to lock in an extended personal use subscription.
Example: You can add another 3 years to your current personal use subscription by paying $349. That would add 3 years to your current personal use subscription, and allow you to buy up to 80 postal codes without facing the standard license price until your extended subscription ran out.
You can learn more about this at: Understanding How Agents Are Listed
In this section of the bulletin we talk about the problem that we had with anti-virus software in August. That DID NOT happen in Canada as we did not release the new program files in Canada; we did so in the U.S.
Having noted that, you will need to read this bulletin carefully as we will be also releasing the new versions of the program in Canada, sometime in later October or November. The last story in this bulletin talks about a program change we have made for Canada, which we have not released. Once the company involved green lights the results, we will be introducing the new program files at which point the problems with the anti-virus software will raise its ugly head.
As we have said before, the anti-virus products are a real headache for smaller, niche market software companies as many anti-virus products now treat software as "guilty" until proven innocent.
This part of the bulletin talks about our success implementing the on-line payment system for our U.S. subscribers. That means that we will be looking to our Canadian bank to help us achieve the same objective for our Canadian subscribers. Look for this option in the not too distant future.
It has been fun to watch credit card payments come in, at all hours of the day, as subscribers take advantage of the option to pay for their Compulife directly on-line. And it appears the new system is working without any problems.
IMPORTANT: Compulife does not get, and does not keep, your credit card information on file. No one can raid our sites or servers and steal your information from Compulife - WE DON'T HAVE IT!
The biggest trick is that when you get the online invoice, attached as a PDF file to an email, you have to click on the payment button in that invoice which takes you to the web version of that same invoice. You must then click the payment button again on the web version of invoice. The second click takes you to where you can make the payment, on the banking website.
The reason that there are two invoices is because the Windows program can also link to your invoice on-line, and so it is possible, if you don't have the email copy of the invoice, to get to the web based invoice from your software. Those agents, who leave it to the last minute to pay, usually go into a full fledged panic when they go past the end of the subscription and their software no longer works. They usually are desperate to revive their subscription, and it rarely happens during business hours. Now you can pay whenever you want.
NOTE: While we can now receive payments 24 hours a day, that doesn't mean our staff can process the renewal 24 hours a day. Once we receive an email from the bank (usually within minutes) confirming receipt of the payment, we then have to process that into our subscriber database and that remains a manual operation. Incidentally, we have no intention of automating that part of the process, for a host of reasons. Anyway, on the first regular working day after we receive your payment (which can be the same day if you made the payment early enough), we will process that payment and update your subscription files on our server. At that point your software will pick up the new subscription information and carry on.
The best way to ensure there is no interruption in service, is to not leave the payment until the last minute.
We will continue to mail paper invoices for a while, until we are satisfied that no one is having problems with the new procedures. Jeremiah has decided that we will go through a transition where we send the email versions of the invoices a week before we mail the invoice, and we can then hold back the mail version of the invoice for those who have paid promptly.
Eventually the mailing of invoices will end completely, and the only way you can get your renewal invoice is either by email or through our software itself.
Unpaid invoice statements, where applicable, will continue to be mailed.
I always am reluctant to use development resources to improve administration processes, simply as it's time not used to advance the functionality of the comparison software itself. Having said that, we had more than a couple of kind comments from those who expressed their happiness with being able to process their payments directly on-line. Given that there will be many others who liked what we did, and just haven't said anything about it, it appears the project was a worthwhile detour.
And finally, for those of you who still prefer to pay by check by mail we prefer you do that too. While some may find that a pain in the butt, we pay all our invoices by check and try to minimize use of the credit card to those things we buy on line, such as ebay. My father, who originally set up the accounting systems for Compulife, liked to keep and have a paper trail, and any time we have had our accountants in to do the year end, or some sort of routine government audit, clean paper records really pay off.
With the online payment option now completed, we have turned our attention back to the next step in our data conversion work. We will be focusing on those products which have Return of Premiums and which use factors to calculate the total premium.
There was a delay in that process in September as we dealt with a new issue in the Canadian market. One of the companies in Canada has a term product where the renewal premiums for the policy use different modal factors from the initial premiums. We didn't see that one coming.
We decided to implement our modal rate storage function to address the problem, and then realized that we had not previously dealt with having to read and process renewal modal premiums. Of course we encountered a bug which was really a contingency which we had not previously had to deal with). Believe it or not that sucked up about two weeks as we worked through the issue. One side benefit is we discovered a very small calculation issue that sometimes meant we were adding a penny to a modal premium, and so when we introduce that new version of the program to the U.S., sometime in late October or November, you may notice a previous minor discrepancy clears up.
While we make this stuff look easy, there are some tricky things that require some complex maneuvers to deal with properly. You will never really know just how good we really are at what we do; really (and if you read this far, I laughed when I wrote that).
What I can say with all seriousness, is that we work very hard to make you look good to your clients.