State of Connecticut

I. Statement of Objectives

The State of Connecticut, acting through the Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission, is seeking to obtain a contract with an organization to provide on an annual basis personal statements of benefits for State Employees Retirement System members. The statements must present information that is clear, concise, up-to-date and useful for members' future retirement planning.

II. Background Information

The Connecticut State Employees Retirement System (CSERS) is a defined benefit plan funded on an actuarial basis serving approximately 56,000 active, 750 inactive vested and 28,000 retired members in accordance with the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, Chapter 66. CSERS is a two tier plan with three separate plan calculation routines plus two hazardous duty calculations.

The Office of the State Comptroller's Retirement & Benefit Services Division (Division) administers the provisions of C.G.S., Chapter 66 under the direction of a single board of trustees known as the Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission (Commission).

The Division maintains an in-house data base system with information on members' retirement plan membership and beneficiaries, employment records, earnings and applicable contributions, additional service credit and group life insurance which is utilized to calculate and process monthly retirement benefits.

Some of the services provided to members by the Division are pre-retirement planning workshops, individual benefit counselling sessions, summary plan description booklets and, pursuant to Chapter 66 of the General Statutes, annual personal statements of benefits.

The current laser printed booklet design of the CSERS Personal Statement of Benefits provides members' detailed personal benefits information in an easily understood and useful format. A sample statement is enclosed as "Exhibit A".

III. Contract Requirements

The contractor will be expected to perform the following services:

  1. Design, produce and distribute a personal statement of benefits annually for all active and inactive, vested CSERS members which must include at a minimum the following:
    1. Preprinted text providing general information about retirement and social security benefits.
    2. Year to date and life to date employee contributions and accrued interest payable on contributions.
    3. Estimated values of member's retirement benefit at normal retirement and illustration of available benefit payment options utilizing member's employment and plan membership data as provided by the Division.
    4. Estimated Social Security benefits for member and spouse.
    5. Estimated Social Security disability benefits and informational paragraphs regarding retirement plan and insurance benefits available to disabled members.
    6. Lump sum retirement plan, life insurance and Social Security survivors' benefits along with informational text on monthly retirement plan survivor benefits and estimated Social Security monthly benefits for dependents.
    7. Informational paragraph on survivors' medical and dental benefits.
    8. Preprinted text describing active employee's available medical and dental benefits.
    9. Member's retirement plan membership.
    10. Member's personal data such as date of birth, Social Security number, employee number and address.
    11. Listing of member's retirement plan beneficiary(ies).
    12. Listing of member's group life insurance beneficiary(ies).
    13. Member's additional service credit data.
    14. Preprinted text on personal data correction procedures.
    15. Preprinted text describing each benefit which is easily understood and presents a clear picture of the values of the member's benefit.
    16. A random satisfaction survey for members to express their opinions about the benefits information provided on their statements.
  2. Confer with Division staff at the Division's offices to develop the preliminary and final design and content of the statements and furnish up to ten production meeting manuals.
  3. Assist in the development of work plans and schedules for the statement design and production.
    1. Statements must provide benefit values as of June thirtieth and be delivered to members before September thirtieth of each year.
  4. Draft statement text regarding general benefit provisions and any other desirable generic and variable text.
  5. Provide data processing services as follows:
    1. All data and forms processing must be performed on-site at the contractor's location and on the contractor's own equipment, assuring that member data will not leave the premises until sealed in envelopes.
    2. In order to meet the established work schedule, 100% backup or similar equipment must be available.
    3. Equipment compatibility must be IBM 9-track, 6250 BPI uncompressed cartridges, data is EBCDIC format, and diskettes, ASCII format.
    4. Work with the Division's data processing staff in developing the data record requirements necessary to provide the detailed contribution and benefit information.
    5. The Division will be responsible for providing the contractor with the member's data as specified in Section III, 1 of this RFP.
    6. Edit and update the data until accurate for report purposes.
    7. Process a test file of approximately 100 CSERS members and prepare sample statements for review by the Division.
  6. Prepare and coordinate all artwork, forms and envelopes.
    1. Prepare and design key art and type specifications for forms layout and envelopes.
    2. Laser print the statements in a 8 1/4" by 5 1/4" booklet format on eight pages (two parts, front and back) with a two color cover design utilizing recycled 60 lb paper.
    3. Utilize a double die cut window envelope for statement mailing.
    4. Provide the Division with a printer's proof cut and folded to illustrate text and artwork in the exact manner of the printed form for approval and/or modification.
  7. Coordinate forms finishing and distribution.
    1. The contractor must provide for the printing, and as needed, the bursting, cutting, scoring, folding, inserting into envelopes, presorting, and first class mailing at a postal rate of 32 cents to member's home addresses within the scheduled time frames.
  8. Provide appropriate management reports.
    1. Input and output records of each member to be supplied either on microfiche, CD-ROM using Adobe Acrobat or in Databse format using Microsoft Access and provided to the Division before the mailing of the statements.
    2. . Up to 100 copies of a "John Doe" statement (created by the contractor) also to be provided before the mailing of the statements.
    3. Other reports as deemed appropriate may be requested upon initial consultation.

IV. Duration of Contract

The term of this contract will be four years commencing on June 1, 1996 and concluding on May 31, 2001.

V. Proposal Submission Requirements

  1. The contractor must submit an original plus ten (10) copies of a written proposal to:

    State of Connecticut
    Office of the State Comptroller
    Retirement & Benefit Services Division
    55 Elm Street
    Hartford, CT 06106
    Attention: Steven Weinberger, Director

  2. Contractors who have questions regarding this RFP should submit them in writing to Mr. Weinberger at the address set forth above no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 1997. Answers to such questions will be transmitted from Monday, April 14 to Friday, April 18, 1997. No phone calls will be accepted relative to this RFP.
  3. Proposals must be received on or before 4:30 p.m., Friday, April 25, 1997.
  4. Each proposal must include the following:

VI. SELECTION PROCESS AND SCHEDULE

Request for Proposals and Response Phase

March 31, 1997 Release of RFP by Commission
April 11, 1997 Questions due at Commission
April 14-18, 1997 Division answers questions received
April 25, 1997 Proposals due at Commission

Review and Selection Schedule

April 29 - May 2, 1997 Reading and Scoring of Proposals by Screening Committee
May 5 - May 9, 1997 Finalist Interviews (see Notes)
May 22, 1997 Contractor Selection

Notes

Finalist interviews will be conducted at the option of the Screening Committee. Contractors selected as finalists will be expected to make a presentation to the Screening Committee, followed by a question and answer period, at Commission Offices in Hartford, Connecticut. All expenses incurred by finalists shall be borne exclusively by contractors and treated as a cost of responding to this RFP.

VII. Instructions to Contractors

Conformance - All responses to this RFP must conform to these instructions. Failure to conform may be considered appropriate cause for rejection of the response.

Delivery of Responses - RFP responses must be in sealed envelopes upon which a clear indication has been made of the RFP reference title, as well as the date and time the proposal is due. The name and address of the vendor must appear on the envelope. FAX responses are not acceptable.

Structure of Response - Contractors must structure the responses as outlined in this RFP.

Exclusion of Taxes from Prices - The State of Connecticut is exempt from the payment of excise, transportation, and sales taxes imposed by the Federal Government and the State. Such taxes must be excluded from quoted prices.

Signature and Responsible Persons - The proposal must be signed by an authorized official. The proposal must also provide name, title, address, and telephone number for individuals with authority to negotiate and contractually bind the contractor, and for those who may be contacted for the purpose of clarifying the information provided.

"Not to Exceed" Quotations - All cost estimates will be considered as "not to exceed" quotations.

VIII. Terms and Conditions

Any contractor responding to this RFP must be willing to adhere to the following conditions and must so state in its submission:

  1. Acceptance or Rejection by the State - The state reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals submitted for consideration. All proposals will be kept sealed and safe until the deadline for submission has passed.
  2. Conformance with Statutes - Any contract awarded as a result of this RFP must be in full conformance with statutory requirements of the State of Connecticut.
  3. Ownership of Proposals - All proposals in response to this RFP are to be the sole property of the state, and subject to the provisions of Section 1-19 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Freedom of Information).
  4. Ownership of Subsequent Products - Any product, whether acceptable or unacceptable, developed under the contract awarded as a result of this RFP is to be the sole property of the state unless stated otherwise in the RFP or contract.
  5. Availability of Work Papers - All work papers and data used in the process of performing this project must be available for inspection by the State of Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts for a period of three (3) years or until audited.
  6. Timing and Sequence - Timing and sequence of events resulting from this RFP will ultimately be determined by the state.
  7. Stability of Proposed Prices - Any price offerings from contractors must be valid for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days from the due date of contractor proposals.
  8. Oral Agreements - Any alleged oral agreement or arrangement made by a contractor with any agency or employee will be superseded by the written agreement.
  9. Amending or Canceling Requests - The state reserves the right to amend or cancel this RFP, prior to the due date and time, if it is in the best interests of the state.
  10. Rejection for Default or Misrepresentation - The state reserves the right to reject the proposal of any contractor which is in default of any prior contract or for misrepresentation.
  11. State's Clerical Errors in Awards - The state reserves the right to correct inaccurate awards resulting from its clerical errors.
  12. Rejection of Qualified Proposals - Proposals are subject to rejection in whole or in part if they limit or modify any of the terms and conditions and/or specifications of the RFP.
  13. Contractor Presentation of Supporting Evidence - A contractor, if requested, must be prepared to present evidence of experience, ability, service facilities, and financial standing necessary to satisfactorily meet the requirements set forth or implied in the proposal.
  14. Changes to Proposal - No additions or changes to the original proposal will be allowed after submittal. While changes are not permitted, clarification at the request of the agency may be required at the contractor's expense.
  15. Expenses Incurred - The state will not reimburse any contractor for any costs or expenses incurred in preparing proposals or in any other connection with this RFP, including travel expenses relating to an oral presentation.
  16. Collusion - By responding, the contractor implicitly states that the proposal is not made in connection with any competing contractor submitting a separate response to the RFP, and is in all respects fair and without collusion or fraud. It is further implied that the contractor did not participate in the RFP development process, had no knowledge of the specific contents of the RFP prior to its issuance, and that no employee of the agency participated directly or indirectly in the contractor's proposal preparation.

IX. Evaluation of Proposals

Each proposal will be evaluated by a Screening Committee using the following criteria to determine which contractor is most capable of implementing the Commission's requirements:

  1. Contractor's experience with and ability to do the specific work.
  2. Contractor's understanding of the project's purpose and scope, as evidenced by the proposed approach and the level of effort.
  3. Competitiveness of proposed cost.
  4. Availability and competence of personnel.
  5. Conformity with specifications contained herein.
  6. Demonstration of commitment to affirmative action by full compliance with the regulations of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
  7. At the option of the Screening Committee, an oral presentation.

X. Rights Reserved to the State

The state reserves the right to award in part, to reject any and all proposals in whole or in part, to waive technical defects, irregularities and omissions if, in its judgement, the best interest of the state will be served.

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