The December 2000 disk update will be processed Monday, November 27th and Tuesday, November 28th. Disks will be shipped Wednesday, November 29th. You should have the December Update in your office Friday, December 1st. The Internet monthly update will be posted some time on November 29th to our three monthly update websites.
Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your "October disks" ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed this November 2000 Update. October disks are your backup in case you should have problems installing the November edition.
For those who hate returning disks there are two alternatives to eliminate the problem. One alternative is to switch over to obtaining monthly updates by Internet. Not only will you eliminate the expense and hassle of returning disks, you will save $50 per year in subscription fees.
Before switching to updates by Internet we require that you complete a special addendum to the license agreement called the "Internet Update Endorsement". Once you return that to us we will send you the "Internet Master Disk" which you will need to be able to process the "MONTHLY.CMP" file that you will then be downloading each month.
If you want to switch over to Internet monthly updates, please call our office at (800) 798-3488. Our staff will send you the Internet Update Endorsement.
The other way to avoid returning disks each month is to pre- purchase them for $21 per year ($1.75 per month). If you do so 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 next twelve boxes. The $21 will cost you less than mailing back disks each month.
I don't believe I can adequately convey the importance of our mid-month updating service. While there are those who question the need for updates as often as monthly (yes, there are those who do), we sometimes wonder if monthly is often enough when rate changes heat up. However, the ability to provide you with changes as they occur, though our mid-month Internet update service, has proven to be an excellent solution. Having been doing it for over two years, I can assure you we have worked the kinks out and the system is quite dependable.
Having said that, your ability to benefit from that service depends upon you making use of it. The good news is that the service is FREE; as in NO CHARGE. Now given that it is election time, we should all remember that nothing is for nothing. The accurate perspective is that this is a service that you are paying for, and if you aren't using it, you are the loser.
We now maintain two separate website/servers to ensure that this service is reliable and fast. If one is not working, go to the other. You will find our mid-month update services are at www.compulife.com or www.compulife.cc.
As we have advised, Compulife will no longer ship printed monthly bulletins effective January 1, 2001. This is designed to keep our costs down, and was calculated into our last price reduction. After January 1st (available now) monthly bulletins will be available one of two ways:
1. Each monthly update of the system includes a "bulletin.txt" file. This file is installed to your \COMPLIFE folder when you install the update. You can read that file using Compulife's "View/Print File Program" or you can read it with any text editor such as WordPad.
2. Monthly bulletins are now available at www.compulife.com and www.compulife.cc. We have added the bulletins as a link from our main menu so that everyone, including subscribers, can access that information. We have placed some older bulletins at the website. A running history of the current and past bulletins will be maintained at the site.
The first general release of the new Windows software was included in the October Internet edition of Compulife. Those who update monthly by disk will have to wait until the January 2001 edition to get the new Windows software.
If you want the newest Windows program now, and don't update monthly by Internet, you can download it from our mid-month update service. Call us if you have any trouble downloading the mid-month update.
There is an important safety valve in the new Windows program. You can select, from the Master Menu's option menu, either the Windows comparisons or the DOS comparisons. In other words, you can go right back to having the Windows menu call the DOS comparison module as it had been doing. If in doubt you can flip back to the DOS module and double check your values. If you are satisfied that the Windows version is working properly, you can flip right back to using the Windows comparison. We like the safety of our built-in Windows/DOS redundancy.
Finally, the free month offer for being the first to find a rate error stands. This means that if you use the new Windows program, and find a rate quotation mistake, you get a free month for being first to report it.
As we move toward completion of the new Windows program, we are looking forward to making additional improvement and changes to our software. The first of these changes will be improvements to the way that premiums are categorized in Compulife.
The first of these changes will be the addition of a new "regular plus" premium category. A number of companies have introduced "standard plus", "standard best", "select", etc., rate categories which the companies argue are not "preferred" rates but are slightly better than standard rates. Until now we have avoided adding a new category simply because we do not like to start market trends, we prefer to respond to them. However, there are now so many of these "standard plus" rates that subscribers are complaining that they are hard to weed through.
When the new category is implemented, the client entry screen will allow the Plus question to be answered regardless of whether the client is regular or preferred. When a comparison is made, a new light green designation "R+" will show up next to those premiums which are in the new category. Further, if the preferred question is answered no (meaning regular), and the plus question is answered no (not checked), comparisons will not include the standard plus rates. Look for that change possibly in December, or more likely in January.
The next change will be much larger in nature and involves expanding the number of categories we can store in a single product entry. Several years ago, when the current database was designed, we envisioned four categories: preferred non-smoker, non-smoker, preferred smoker and smoker.
When companies began introducing preferred plus categories, Compulife responded by adding a second product entry for the same product, by creating a new switch within that product entry to indicate the product was "plus". The problem is that we have ended up with two product entries to contain the rates of one product.
The new change will permit up to 4 preferred non-smoking categories, 4 non-smoking categories, 3 preferred smoking categories and 3 smoking categories. Each of these categories can be further qualified by being plus or non-plus. It is our sincere hope that this will be a sufficient number of categories to deal with the future.
The first benefit of this change will be that instead of two, and in some cases three product listings to deal with one product, Compulife will be able to cut most products to a single listing. That will allow Compulife to store and retrieve all product categories, while at the same time saving file space which will increase comparison performance.
Currently the DOS version of our program has an "R" for regular rate option that permits an individual product display to switch from preferred rates to regular rates. The R option will be modified to deal with the expanded categories. "R" will pop up a list of all possible rate categories. Once you select a different category, the rates for that will be displayed.
This brings us to the third modification that will be made with respect to premium categories. In some cases life companies had adopted premium category titles that label categories in a confusing way.
For example, Guardian Life has preferred plus and preferred rates. In Guardian lingo, the word "preferred" does not mean better than standard risk, it means a person who is a non-smoker. Preferred plus means non-smoker plus, where plus is a person who is a better than standard risk. We get calls on that confusion all the time.
In the future, when we run into such breaks from standard industry language, we will be able to record and display the company's category labels instead of the standard language. For example, consider Old Line Life. Instead of displaying the term "Preferred Plus Non-Smoker" on the individual product display or printout, we will instead display "Select Non-Tobacco Class 1 P+NS". The P+NS will be the category which Compulife considers this class to fit in, and the "Select Non-Tobacco Class 1" will be the language that the company uses to describe that category.
Using that same example, if that product was displayed on screen, and the user pushed the letter R, a list of categories would display. They would be:
Select Non-Tobacco Class 1 P+NS
Select Non-Tobacco Class 2 PfNS
Select Non-Tobacco Class 3 R+NS
Standard Non-Tobacco Class 4 RgNS
Select Tobacco Class 5 PfSm
Standard Tobacco Class 6 RgSm
The user could then select any of those categories and the premiums for that category would display.
Needless to say, these changes will take some time to implement and we still have some loose ends left to complete in Windows. We hope all the category changes will be in your hands for the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2001. Once that is completed we have several other options and features we will pursue.
As we noted last month, the Internet comparison engine price has been lowered by $500. An agency subscriber (not personal use) who wants to have a customized version of our www.term4sale.com web service on their own web server, can obtain our Internet comparison engine for $1,995 first year and $1,495 per year thereafter.
In addition to that, Compulife is now providing, at no additional charge, two new supplemental programs for use with the Internet engine.
The first is the "Income Replacement Calculator" which will allow an Internet user at your website to determine the lump sum of money to replace an annual income for a period of time based upon a given inflation and interest rate. I am convinced that the biggest problem term insurance buyers have is that most do not purchase sufficient coverage. A term policy that is too small, at either an expensive or competitive premium, will leave an insured's family in a financial lurch.
Most consumers think $500,000 is a lot of money. Part of the reason for the success of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is the idea of the lottery-like payday. However, if that amount of money was used to replace the annual paycheck provided by a breadwinner, it wouldn't last as long as most people think. I am convinced that the new Income Replacement Calculator for the web will help consumers educate themselves in a simple way.
It should be noted that this new Internet program has been made possible by our work converting the existing Income Replacement Calculation (F7 in Compulife) from DOS to Windows.
The second free supplementary program is a rate updater that will make uploading rates to your website a simple, one step process. The way the Internet engine works is that the user places that program on the webserver, and then places a copy of the PC based software in a COMPLIFE folder on the same webserver. Each time the subscriber updates their PC version of Compulife, they must then upload that change to the webserver. Some have found the job tedious which is where the new update program comes into play.
First, the updater only uploads the needed files. Second, it completes an upload of the needed files under temporary and different file names. Only after the file upload has been successfully completed does it delete the old versions of the files, then renames the new files to the correct filenames. This reduces the time a consumer is unable to get quotes from your site. Further, if something with the file upload goes wrong, it means your quote service operates uninterrupted.
Both of these supplemental programs are included free of charge to new purchasers of the Internet quotation engine, or to those renewing the Internet software for another year.
Needless to say, Term4Sale has been updated to include the new Income Replacement calculator. Compulife hopes that consumers who use the service, will become convinced they need larger face amounts, and that our subscribers will end up with larger sales as a result. Given that consumers may ask you about it, I strongly recommend you check out the new feature at the website. Also remember that it works the same as the F7 function key in your existing Compulife program, option 1 - Income Replacement Calculator. The consumer version is simpler.
Term4Sale is now a registered trademark. We received the notice of registration in August.
Finally, those listed at Term4Sale will be invoiced for the year 2001 during the month of November. For the reasons explained in previous bulletins, Term4Sale is still sitting on the lion's share of the money paid into the company by subscribers. This is because we have not been spending that money promoting the site and will not do so until certain market realities change.
Because of this, you will be offered a special price for your 2001 listing renewal. Term4Sale will be invoicing those who were listed at Term4Sale during 2000 at 50% off the renewal price of $1 per month per listing. Look for that invoice in November. In order to obtain the 50% discount, and in order to remain listed without interruption, payment must be received by Friday, December 29, 2000.