We plan to post the November 2003 Internet monthly update to our five monthly update websites on Tuesday, October 28th.
The November 2003 disk update will be processed Tuesday, October 28th and Wednesday, October 29th.
Disks will be shipped Wednesday, October 29th. You should have the November Update in your office by Friday, October 31st. Unless you have made arrangements to purchase your diskettes, please return your September disks ONLY AFTER you have successfully installed this October 2003 Update. September disks are your backup in case you should have problems installing the October edition.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Subscribers who are receiving disks can save up to $80 per year by switching to updates by Internet. Please read the last part of this bulletin for complete details. Don't wait for your next subscription invoice to make the change. Compulife will bonus your subscription renewal deadline for switching from disks to internet.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: For disk update subscribers renewing after January 1, 2004 the annual subscription price for receiving monthly updates by disk will be $20 per year higher. Prices for internet updates will be unchanged, and will be $100 per year less.
As we mentioned last month, the total number of companies in the Compulife comparison program fell below 150 and that number shrinks this month with the elimination of Canada Life which has been purchased by Great West Life. Incidentally, we would love to include the Great West Life products in our system but the company has not provided the rates. I believe that they are selling direct to consumers on the Internet.
We expect this merger trend to continue and so if you tell your customers how many companies you are quoting, using the statement "over 150" is no longer accurate. Compulife is working to amend its own material to correct this statement.
As we discussed in the September monthly bulletin, there are a couple of Return of Premium products that we are not currently quoting due to the calculation methods employed by the life companies who offer those products. The two companies are Peoples Benefit Life and Life Investors, both part of the Aegon group.
Essentially these companies determine their ROP premiums by applying a factor to the basic premium of the policy (without ROP). The factor times the basic premium equals the ROP premium. We have now come up with a design concept which will allow us to replicate that calculation without having to do a significant re-tooling of our system. However, our existing DOS, Windows and Internet engines will not have the added functionality needed to quote this and so that creates potential conflicts between old comparison engines and new data. We have come up with a way to handle this conflict.
To ensure that the old comparison engines (software programs) are not mixed with the new data, we have decided that we will move ROP products out of the current data files in which they are found (currently 15, 20 and 30 year term). The ROP products will be placed into their own separate categories which the old engines will be unable to quote. Those new categories will not be accessible except by the new comparison engines that have been modified to process them. As always, there will be free internet engine software upgrades to customers who use that software.
This change does result in a negative implication for some of our existing subscribers. We have decided that we will NOT be adding the special ROP calculation system to the DOS program. Therefore, the option to quote ROP products will not be available in DOS.
We are also happy to be making that change because we believe that ROP quotations should be accompanied by our new Return of Premium Analysis. The ROP analysis goes a long way toward explaining to consumers the positive and negative attributes of these products. We think that these products have a high degree of complexity which could easily be misunderstood or not explained properly (which is why we developed the Analysis tool). Given that the ROP Analysis is not available in DOS, that's just one more reason for ROP products NOT to be available in our DOS version.
As background, another reason that we have not been moving the DOS software forward is due to the complete absence of demand for DOS programs. While a number of our existing subscribers use the DOS software and love it, they are the ONLY people who want to use our DOS software.
Having the DOS program available has proven to be a negative when first introducing Compulife to potential new customers. We have ceased providing DOS software to trial users and do not make reference to it. Many who saw anything that looked like DOS immediately concluded that our software was antiquated and out-of-date. There are even those who have pointed to the existence of our DOS version as proof that our software is not modern and up-to-date. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth but sometimes perception wins out over reality.
Having noted that, we are doing everything we can to preserve our system compatibility with our current DOS software. However, some changes, like this one, require more extensive work. Therefore, they are being made to the Windows version and NOT to the DOS version.
The fact is that some of ROP products will still be available in DOS for about another 30 days even though the ROP comparison option is not in DOS. Once the re-categorization process is complete, the ROP products will disappear from DOS because they will be removed from the existing categories that they now appear in.
The good news is that all regular customers of Compulife have BOTH DOS and Windows versions of Compulife already on their computers. Therefore, if you need to run an ROP quote you can fire up the Windows version of Compulife and use that. If you don't know how to run the Windows version call us at 800-567-8376 or 800-798-3488 and we'll help you to get started. There are also tutorials on our www.compulife.com website under the last option: "Forms, applications, instruction tutorials, etc."
We think the Windows version is what you need to be using anyway. For the past 5 years our Windows software has gotten the vast majority of our development attention and it is now the far more powerful version of our software. It is only our commitment to the wishes of existing software customers that keeps us from just bringing the DOS product to an end at this point. Once again, if you are using the DOS version you are missing out on important features and capabilities. Eventually, the DOS version will cease to exist; but not yet.
Compulife is no longer offering Compulife Lite for sale. The product has been removed from our applications to purchase. This leaves the "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" as the low-cost product alternative for those on a budget.
Effective November 1st, those of you who have been receiving Compulife Lite by disk will begin to receive the full Compulife program on disks. This is a free upgrade until the end of your Compulife Lite subscription, but if you wish to renew and receive disks you will need to pay the higher disk edition prices.
Compulife Lite subscribers are receiving a special letter explaining some very attractive upgrade options. If you are a Compulife Lite subscriber, and have missed seeing that letter, contact us immediately at 800-798-3488.
Disk edition prices have been increased by $20 per year for new customers. As previously announced, the new prices are not effective until January 1st for existing subscribers.
We hope that most subscribers will take advantage of the significant discounts offered to those who obtain updates by Internet.
The upcoming ROP changes also affect "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" subscribers in a similar way. The new comparison categories are NOT in the cheaper version of Compulife now, although the ROP products can be quoted from the regular 15, 20 and 30 year categories. That will also end when we move those products from those categories into their own special categories. This will occur during the midmonth updates in October and will hit everyone with the November monthly update. To counter-balance the removal of these products "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" customers will have a special price upgrade opportunity until November 14th.
Available now and until November 14, 2003, existing "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" customers can upgrade to a full Compulife system for half the normal upgrade fee. For example, if you are currently using "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" and have six months to go in your subscription, the normal upgrade fee would be:
6 / 12 X ($199 - $99) = $50
6 - the number of months remaining in your subscription
12 - the number of months of your original total subscription period
$199 - the price of the full Compulife (personal use)
$99 - the price of the Term4Sale - Agent edition
Until November 14th that upgrade fee will be cut in half. In other words, as in the the above example, the $50 would be cut to $25.
We will also permit customers doing the upgrade to have the option of a one time upgrade to a multi-year subscription. Normally a personal use subscription to Compulife is $199 plus $100 for each additional year purchased at the same time. If you take the above mentioned upgrade special, you can add as many additional years of subscriptions as you want, for ONLY $100 more per year.
Once again, this is a one time offer of upgrade for Term4Sale - Agent Edition customers and it is only available until Friday, November 14, 2003. If you upgrade you will not only have the new ROP product comparisons, you will also have the new "to age 100" comparison category which includes a number of the guaranteed no lapse to age 100 U/L products now available.
By breaking the ROP products into their own unique product rate files, we ensure that old copies of internet engines will be incompatible with the new ROP categories and products, some of which will be requiring the new ROP factor tables. If the new products, that will be using the new factor tables, were quoted without those factors, the wrong premiums would result.
Therefore, the only way ROP products will quote is if you have the new Windows program or the new Internet Engine.
Customers have already been asking if the new categories, including the "to age 100" guaranteed category will be in our Internet Engine. The answer is yes but the new categories will not be quoted at the www.term4sale.com website at this time. That is why the new categories will not be in the "Term4Sale - Agent Edition" of our program.
Once again, we are concerned that these products are more complex and require additional consideration and explanation beyond mere price. That is where the agent comes in and we are not insurance agents. In the meantime Compulife will be developing and offering some editorial comment on these products at www.term4sale.com, and pointing out that subscribers to a full version of the Compulife program have further information about those products.
Having noted that, if you are using our Internet engine at your own website, and you want to quote these new categories, you will be able to do so by late October. Of course if you want to add those categories to you website you must be a subscriber to the full version of Compulife as opposed to the "Term4Sale - Agent Edition". There is an Internet starter program that lets first time subscribers have term quotes on their websites if they just purchase the "Term4Sale - Agent Edition", but we will not permit access to ROP or no lapse U/L plans under that agreement.
And finally, we caution those who add ROP and no lapse U/L plans to their Internet quotes that you need to work with your internet provider to ensure that these products are properly explained to the public. In the event that there is a dispute that arises between you and a consumer later, you are on your own and Compulife assumes no liability or responsibility for your decision to add these products to your website.
We have added a new feature to our software that will allow you to manually enter and quote a single product with a Table Rating added.
We have always resisted having Table Ratings in our software because not all companies use the same tables and not all companies will agree what table should be used for any given substandard case. Because our software is NOT a crystal ball or Miss Cleo, it always seemed silly to have a Table Rating comparison because there is no way to know how two different companies will respond to the same case and so it is relatively impossible to generate a meaningful comparison.
Having said that, we have heard from some subscribers who indicated that they would like to have the ability to add a rating to an individual product quote.
The new "Table Rating" option allows you to select the Table Rating option from a single product display. Once you do so, it allows you to enter the percentage associated with that rating (20%, 40%, 15%, 30%, etc.). You will also need to know whether the rating applies to the premium or to the rate per thousand. The program will also ask for the name of the table rating, (1, 2, 3, A, B, C, etc.). Once all that has been entered, and the OK button pressed, the individual product quotation will be recalculated and re-displayed with the extra premium included. A footnote appears at the bottom of the single product quote and we are working to add that comment to the Pick 12 summary page. Once recalculated, you will be able to print, PDF or file the quote to the Pick 12 Policy Analysis.
After you leave or change the product/company in the single product display, the system will reset the option to NOT having the table rating turned on.
When you leave the program, or attempt to use the table rating option for another product, the program will remember the percentage and table rating name that you used for the last product.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT CALL COMPULIFE ASKING WHAT THE TABLE RATING IS!!!
I was assured by agents who lobbied for this option that THEY WOULD KNOW THE PERCENTAGES and all that they needed from Compulife was a way to enter those percentages and have the quotation modified. That is what we have done.
Following the introduction of the feature I was contacted by one subscriber who could not match a Prudential quote. He told me that the quote was for Table B and that the percentages were 25% per table. I couldn't match the quote either. I called Pru to learn that Pru's percentages for table ratings are:
The subscriber assured me, after learning what the percentages actually were, that there was no way that any agent would know this stuff and it would all end up being a big problem for Compulife. We hope not, but clearly he was not happy.
I then pointed out that this was the reason why Compulife had AVOIDED ADDING TABLE RATINGS for years. We then talked about the fact that no two companies are likely to treat the case the same way, that this would all be confusing to agents, etc., etc., etc.
This is the slippery slope that we end up with when agents talk us into options that we had originally suspected and argued would be much more complicated than the agent initially tells us they are.
Worst of all is that what is sufficient for one customer proves NOT to be sufficient for another. Of course you would think that if an option was not sufficient, the unhappy subscriber would simply avoid using the option that they hadn't previously had anyway; but it is never that simple. It seems that in the mind of some subscribers having an option that is not precisely what they would like is worse than having no option at all.
Upon further consideration I believe that it is a reasonable option to have a way for you to enter factors and quote a table rating to match the company's premium for that client. The ability to generate a substandard quote from Compulife, despite the fussing that you might need to do to match the company's quoted premium, is still a useful option.
Those who choose to use this option must remember that THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN. Compulife does not want to get into the business of trying to track each company's table rating factors or methodologies. Just collecting the data would prove to be a problem and trying to keep changes up-to-date would be a nightmare.
For example, you would think that getting life company health criteria for preferred plus and preferred classes would be simple. Even so we still have a significant number of companies who have not provided that data and some have said that they are not sure if they want us to have that information at all. Think about it, this is the same health criteria data that companies publish in the rate cards and literature that they distribute to agents. Even so, some companies have indicated they're not sure we should have it.
Given that, good luck on gathering data about substandard table ratings!
Therefore, if you are not familiar with the particulars of a specific company's table ratings, percentages, methodology, etc., DO NOT USE THE TABLE RATING OPTION in Compulife. We recommend that you stick to that company's own software to quote substandard cases.
For those who use Windows XP and do not use the Windows Classic menus some of the Compulife windows were somewhat tight and unbalanced. We have made changes to some of our fixed window sizes to better accommodate XP and we like the changes. If you are a Windows XP user, let us know if you think there is anything we have overlooked.
Further, we have changed the program so that it defaults to displaying the Enter Client Information window on start up. With this new function we believe that the ideal location of the Enter Client Information window is to the right of the Red Master Menu. The October monthly update of Compulife now forces the window to that position on start up. If you move it somewhere else, it will move back on the next startup. This is temporary to ensure that all subscribers get a look at it the way we think it works best. The first midmonth update of the program in October will introduce a revision that will permit you to move the Enter Client Information window back to wherever you want, and that position will be remembered on the next start up.
For most people this change will eliminate having to click to open the Enter Client Information window then click again to close the client window in order to display the Red Master Menu. In days gone by, when some customers were running 640 X 480 resolution (older laptops) and tiny monitors, there wasn't enough room on the screen to hold both menus side-by-side. For most subscribers that is no longer an issue.
On the other hand, if you do use the low resolution settings for your computer (do yourself a favor and buy a bigger monitor) you will need to click and drag the Enter Client Information window back to where you can see the whole thing on your screen. You will then have to close it to see the Red Master Menu.
We have also added a "Compare Now (F3)" button on the Enter Client information window. This is in the bottom right corner of the window and lets you run a comparison without having to be at the Red Master Menu. You can do that now by pressing the F3 function key but some people like to point and click and the new button allows that.
Of course if you keep the Enter Client Information window open, and position to the right of the Red Master menu, you can also choose the comparison option or any other option you want from the Red Master menu without having to first close the client entry window.
We have also changed the highlight color on the Red Master Menu to red from white. This displays much better on laptops, where the white can sometimes be washed out on the background button color which is a light gray.
As we noted earlier we have introduced a "Return of Premium" category to our comparisons because there are a growing number of Return of Premium products in the market and there appears to be a growing interest in the sale of these products.
At the same time we are concerned that many consumers buying ROP products do not understand what they are buying and so we developed a new ROP analysis option to help agents communicate the important facts to consumers.
Apart from anything else, we think the potential for litigation from unhappy ROP consumers is going to be significant. We believe that offering this analysis capability helps protect Compulife from blame or responsibility in the event an unhappy consumer sues the company and/or agent and also names us in that litigation. We think it will be hard to hold us responsible if the agent has chosen to not use the ROP analysis option which we have offered.
And for that same reason we would encourage our subscribers to pay attention to the Return of Premium Analysis and consider the benefit of using it to ensure that the consumer fully understands both the advantages and disadvantages of these policies. If you gave the consumer a copy (make two and get one initialed for your file) then it will go a long way toward making sure the consumer understood the risks as well as the potential rewards of the ROP option. Further, we believe it is important to use a company generated quotation/illustration if available.
The new option that we are now releasing is the ability to file premium information from a product in the Display Single Product window directly into the Return of Premium analysis. Because the ROP analysis compares an ROP product with a NON-ROP product, the product that you file will go to one side of the equation or the other. It takes two individual product filings to complete this process. Because our system knows if a product is an ROP product or not, it will put the information into the correct side of the equation. Once again, to complete the analysis you must file and select two products.
There are two approaches we think that you will find useful in doing such filings. The first addresses an ROP comparison between a company and product with an ROP option versus the same company and product without an ROP option. The second approach is to do a comparison of the best ROP alternative from any company and compare that with the best non-ROP alternative from a different company.
In order to compare ROP versus non-ROP within the same company, the best way is to go to the display product comparison screen and select a Return of Premium comparison for either the 15, 20 or 30 year products. With the ROP comparison results on screen, double click on the ROP plan that you want. With that product displayed go the "File" option at the top of the single product window. From there click on "File to Return of Premium Analysis". When it is filed (instantaneously) the file menu will disappear. Next, in the Display Single Product window, click the down button next to the product name. Change the product to the same product this time without ROP. Once that is displayed go to the "File" option on the top of the single product window. Click again on "File to Return of Premium Analysis". This files that product to the non-ROP side of the analysis. To quickly jump to the Return of Premium Analysis go to the "File" option and click on "Go to Return of Premium Analysis". Print or PDF your results.
The second approach assumes that you want to compare the least expensive ROP product with the least expensive non-ROP product which can be from two different companies. The best method is to use the "Multiple Category" comparison. Once "Multiple Category" has been selected, check off two categories, the ROP category and the non-ROP category for the same level payment period. Once the comparison results are displayed, you will have the least expensive non-ROP products followed by a second section of the least expensive ROP products. Double click on the non-ROP product that you want, then in the Display Single Product window click on "File" followed by clicking on "File to Return of Premium Analysis". When that is completed, move your mouse back to the comparison to the ROP product that you want in the ROP comparison results and double click on that product. Move back into the the Display Single Product window, click on "File" followed by clicking on "File to Return of Premium Analysis". To quickly go to the Return of Premium Analysis go to the "File" option and click on "Go to Return of Premium Analysis". Print or PDF those results.
It should be noted that there will be a further enhancement to the refile option that is not yet functional. If you use the Health Analyzer, the program will re-file the least expensive premium rate class for the product, which is available based upon the health criteria that you entered.
To go with that coming option will be a "Health Class Report" which will explain what classes were rejected by the program and the reasons why they were rejected. If the health criteria for that product was not provided by the company, the system will still pick the lowest premium available for the class selected. The health analysis report will indicate that health analysis was not performed for that company/product.
In July we introduced a new version of our program which offers a number of the new options that we had been promising. With that completed we are now moving forward with implementation of our multi- life quotes for up to 5 people.
Progress on that improvements was slowed by the introduction of new comparison categories for our U.S. subscribers. With that completed, work again will re-focus on the 5 life comparison.
Some companies permit a discount for husband and wife when they buy policies at the same time, while others do it also for business partners. Many that allow the discount for business partners will allow the discount for more than 2 partners and so the multi-life comparison button for non-spouse will eventually ask how many clients to do the comparison for and give the total premiums for that group. You will be able to file that group of 2, 3, 4 or 5 individuals into the Pick 12.
Once this function is completed our multi-life option will be wrapped.
For those who update by Internet, Compulife has gone to great lengths to provide you with redundancy in our websites. Our main website is:
However, we keep another completely separate website, on a completely different server, in a completely different country, at:
Whatever we update to compulife.com, we also update to compulife.us or compulife.cc. If one website goes down, for whatever reason, the other is ready to serve you. That includes both monthly and mid-month updates.
For those doing monthly updates by Internet, we rely on three other websites to supply monthly updates. These are automatically checked and used by our automatic Internet update software.
For those not wanting to return disks there are two ways to eliminate the problem.
1. Switch to obtaining monthly updates by Internet.
Not only will you eliminate the expense and hassle of returning disks, you will save $80 per year in subscription fees.
To switch to Internet monthly updates, go to our webpage www.compulife.com and select the last menu choice "Forms, applications, instruction tutorials, etc." Under the section "License Agreements", the third license is the "Internet Update Endorsement". Print the endorsement. Once you have it, please read it carefully, especially the part where you agree that you have successfully downloaded and processed our "mid-month updates". If you haven't done that before, call us and we'll be happy to take you through the procedure. It's easy.
2. Disk Purchase Program
The other way to avoid returning the disks and the disk box each month is to pre-purchase them for $21 per year ($1.75 per month). Once you do that 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 following year. $21 costs you less than mailing back disks each month.