for February 2020
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
Response to New Year Reflections
Last month I reflected on Compulife's history and explained why I plan to never retire. I got this very thoughtful response:
I was just renewing my license for the year and read your narrative and history of CompuLife. Thank you for sharing that. Your software has saved me countless hours versus having to go to each company web site. Even my advanced value added life IMO that has software takes 5 times as long to run numbers. So allow me to calculate. 1000 times a year x 3 minutes saved each quote totals 50 hours saved per year.
You are unfortunately spot on about the current government fiscal situation. It is wise to be able to earn an income your entire lifetime. The dollar will fade away as the primary world currency.
1) There are now 4 currencies in the SDR basket. Not just the dollar
2) The chairman of the London Bank back in August told all the other central bankers the world needs another currency and no longer the US dollar.
3) China is buying massive amounts of gold. For what purpose? To have a backed by gold digital currency? My wife is in China now. No currency. Money exchanged via an app on the phone.
4) China introduced the Yuan Petro currency backed by Gold. I could go on and on about the trends unfolding but no doubt the dollar will be devalued. The only questions is when, how fast will the crash of the dollar be when some event causes loss of confidence. The years are numbered for the 50 year run of the dollar Fiat currency and others as well.
I thought that was a nice technical discussion which confirms my gut feeling that I will need to keep working until I am dead or disabled, and why relying upon government pensions is silly. Further, I believe retirement savings should not be relied upon for any more than a short to medium term disability.
Anyway, our subscriber was kind enough to share those views and I thought they were interesting enough to pass along.
Term4Sale - Thoughts About Increasing Traffic
With respect to API implementation, the first objective that I asked Jeremiah and Chris to achieve was to implement the API for our term4sale.com website, with the view that would be a way to ensure that ALL the quoting functions are working properly before we let it loose on our first group of customers we have affectionately nicknamed "Guinea Pigs". Work continues on the term4sale.com implementation. As they have worked on that they have run into some issues that have turned up during that implementation. That's not unusual and we are working though those. It's always a challenge to find ways to make complicated things simple.
The good news is that this should make implementation for other customers much easier.
The other reason I want to get the API working at term4sale.com is that I want to go back to displaying many more results within any quote. At one point we were quoting 50 results in a quote, we are now showing closer to 20. That was done to made it harder for third parties to benefit from using internet robots to "scrape" our site without permission or authorization.
I think the reduction in results may have hurt our website traffic which has dropped. I am fairly certain it is the agent traffic that has diminished due to the reduction in product results in a quote. By contrast, we continue to see about the same level of consumer email requests going to listed agents. I think consumer are happy with the site, and the FREE-ROLL agents who use it are less happy. We still want the traffic because it helps boost us for search engines.
As a side note, it is deeply frustrating to me that the law appears to be completely ineffective in stopping theft of information on the internet. Even when you have a clear case demonstrating that the theft has occurred, it appears the courts don't care and that the laws currently in place are unenforceable. Given that environment we have had to turn much more attention to building in security measures which means it takes time away from building things that our subscribers want and need for their web site quoting. We will eventually get there, it just takes longer.
We had also reduced the number of results because of the "scraping" that had continued after the trial of our lawsuit (same bunch). In addition to reducing the number of results, we responded with some additional counter measures that made it harder to scrape successfully and made it easier for us to monitor. For the most part that seems to be working but the API should put a fork in it.
The API will also give us a much better handle on unusual spikes in volume of requests for quotes. Each request for a quote will be recorded in our database which will serve as a way to count volume and allow us to invoice properly. Unusual bursts of activity will generate email alerts to us advising us of the activity and which customer (in this case term4sale) is getting hit hard. It will allow us to immediately see what's going on.
Further, there will be additional security that will not permit scraping to occur. Posting warnings and user agreements did not seem to deter the previous activity, and so we are building in additional measures that will make it very difficult to request a quote unless the legitimate user is passing the correct authorizations. That authorization information will not be visible to third parties unless a customer discloses that information to a third party. Once again, any unusual spikes in volume will be automatically detected and if we think your volume is unusual, we will contact the customer to ask about it. If necessary, we can issue new authorization data that the customer would then need to use.
Once that is all working for term4sale.com, we will kick up the volume of results for any quote to probably 75. We hope this will bring back some of the previous traffic.
We'd Like Your Feedback
Another issue related to the site is my sense that the new "responsive" display of results, while working much better on phones and smaller screens, may not be as popular with agents who liked the more concise results of the pre-responsive site. In that regard I would appreciate getting some feedback. Please compare:
with our related web site called:
As background, and as most already know, Compulife does not quote anything but "Day 1" coverage products in our software. Guaranteed Issue or Graded Benefit products are not something we want in the main software because I fear those products could confuse a user or a user's customer with REAL life insurance that provides day 1 coverage.
To accommodate some subscribers who have asked us to quote the Guaranteed Issue / Graded Benefit products, we created the site:
It is FREE for anyone to use. Agents listed at term4sale.com are also listed at GI4Sale.com, there is no additional charge for that. The site does not do much traffic as we really don't promote it - it is there for those who want it.
What you will notice if you go to GI4Sale.com is that it is the "old" look and feel website, which does NOT use the newer responsive pages found at Term4Sale.com. My question for you, if you would take the time to comment, is which do you like better? We'd like to hear from you and would appreciate you sending your comments to:
As we said last month, our new API is now producing quotes. Implementing the health analyzer functions have taken longer than originally thought and have slowed down the process.
Once term4sale has been converted then Jeremiah and Chris will begin to work with the "Guinea Pigs" who announced they want the API (explained in the December 2019 bulletin) to get their sites up and running. As we continue through this process we will complete the specimen files and documentation what will be provided to future customers.
Once the API is ready to be implemented for the first group of customers, we will require payment of the $300 for the first year of service. Those who have their money in first, will be worked on first. The renewal anniversary for those subscribers will be determined once the quotes on their site are up and running and available to their site visitors. Regardless of volume, the first and second year will be only $300 (it pays to read bulletins). Normal pricing will come into effect for the third year.
The API service will be volume based. Here's a tentative pricing schedule:
1,200 or less quotes per month - $396 per year (includes Compulife Basic)
6,000 or less quotes per month - $780 per year (includes Compulife Personal Use)
30,000 or less quotes per month - $1,200 per year (includes Compulife Standard Use)
All of these prices are less than the current cost of the Internet Engine, which is $1,500 per year (including Compulife Standard Use). The price for the engine will remain the same for customers doing 60,000 or less quotes per month. Any customer doing over 60,000 quotes per month will have the price of the Internet Engine increased to $2,200 per year (in addition to their Standard License of $300).
Some current subscribers to the Internet Engine, who are doing smaller volumes of quotes, will probably want to switch to the new API version of the software because their volume is relatively low and they will save money with the API version of quotes. The API customer will still be able to produce the very same quotes that they are producing now and still be able to fully customize their user interface and quote functions. Instead of delivering pages to the customer's website, the API delivers raw output: company information and premiums. The user takes that data and imbeds it into their web pages and systems.
The other advantage of the API over the Internet Engine is that Compulife will take over the updating of rates and software, which means the user has less maintenance. The downside is that quotes will be coming from our server, and if our server goes down, so do your quotes. Having said that, reliability seems high. We have not had many issues with the web quote option for customers, and so we hope the same is true for the API (I should add that I don't trust the internet).
Those doing over 30,000 quotes per month will need to buy the Internet Engine. First, we don't want their high volume use dragging down our server performance. Second, anyone doing that kind of volume needs to pay for the server that they are running the quoting software from, and depending on volume they can get whatever type of server service they want/need, from shared hosting to stand alone equipment.
Our Current Programming Plans for 2020
The following is the current order for new work that we will be doing in 2020:
Complete API Introduction
Overhaul Of Current Product Data Files
Introduction of New PC Version: CQS.EXE
Introduction of Compulife Basic Plus (with Pick 12)
Anyone with questions about any of these upcoming projects can call Bob Barney to discuss:
Please don't email me essay questions, just call. If I'm not in, email me your phone number, I'll call you.
These planned objectives will easily consume our programming time during 2020. The good news is that once the product data files have been converted, and we have introduced the new CQS.EXE, and upgraded our internet engine to use the new data files, Compulife will be turning it's full attention to our web based, Compulife Basic software. The long term goal is to have a web based product that does everything our PC based software does.