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, 1250 inactive vested and 35,000 retired members in accordance with the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, Chapter 66. CSERS is a three tier plan with four separate plan calculation routines plus three 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 counseling sessions, summary plan description booklets and, pursuant to Chapter 66 of the General Statutes, annual personal statements of benefits.

Currently, CSERS Personal Statement of Benefits provides members with detailed personal benefits information using a laser printed booklet design. 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:

a. General text providing information about retirement and social security benefits. 

b. Year to date and life to date employee contributions and accrued interest payable on contributions. 

c. Estimated values of member's retirement benefit at normal retirement and illustration of available benefit payment options using member's employment and plan membership data as provided by the Division.

d. Informational paragraphs regarding retirement plan and insurance benefits available to disabled members.

 e. Lump sum retirement plan and life insurance survivors' benefits along with informational text on monthly retirement plan survivor benefits and survivors' medical and dental benefits.

 f. Informational text describing active employees' available medical and dental benefits. 

g. Member's retirement plan membership.

h. Member's personal data such as date of birth, Social Security number, employee number and address.

i. Listing of member's retirement plan beneficiary(ies).

j. Listing of member's group life insurance beneficiary(ies). 

k. Member's additional service credit data. 

l. Informational text on personal data correction procedures.

m. Informational text describing each benefit which is easily understood and presents a clear picture of the values of the member's benefit. 

n. 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. 

a. 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: 

a. Contractor is responsible for all forms processing whether performed on-site at the Contractor's location or through a sub-contractor approved by the State and for maintaining the confidentiality of members' personalized data. 

b. In order to meet the established work schedule, 100% backup or similar equipment must be available.

 c. Equipment compatibility must be IBM 9-track, 6250 BPI uncompressed cartridges, EBCDIC format, or CD-ROM and/or diskettes, ASCII format. 

d. Work with the Division's data processing staff in developing the data record requirements necessary to provide the detailed contribution and benefit information. 

e. The Division will be responsible for providing the contractor with the member's data as specified in Section III, 1 of this RFP. 

f. Edit and update the data until accurate for report purposes. 

g. 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.

a. Prepare and design key art and type specifications for forms layout and envelopes.

b. Laser print the statements in a 8 1/4" by 5 1/4" booklet or comparable format with a color cover design using recycled 60 lb paper.

c. Use a double die cut window envelope for statement mailing.

d. 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.

a. 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 34 cents to member's home addresses within the scheduled time frames.

8) Provide appropriate management reports.

a. Input and output records of each member to be supplied either on microfiche, CD-ROM using Adobe Acrobat or in Database format using Microsoft Access and provided to the Division before the mailing of the statements.

b. Up to 225 copies of a "John Doe" statement (created by the contractor) also to be provided before the mailing of the statements.

c. 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 April 1, 2001 and concluding on March 31, 2005.

V. Proposal Submission Requirements 

1) The contractor must submit an original plus four (4) 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: Jeanne A. Kopek, Assistant Director

 2) Contractors who have questions regarding this RFP should submit them in writing to Ms. Kopek at the address set forth above no later than 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13, 2001. Answers to such questions will be transmitted from Wednesday, February 14, 2001 to Friday, February 16, 2001. No phone calls will be accepted relative to this RFP. 

3) Proposals must be received on or before 4:30 p.m., Friday, March 2, 2001. 

4) Each proposal must include the following: 

A title page indicating the date, subject, name of the contractor, and the address, telephone number, name and title of the contractor's contact person.

An outline of the contractor's background and experience in producing innovative benefit statements for large organizations, including public sector references.

Samples of the products to be provided by the contractor. 

A recommended workplan for the completion of the design and actual production of the statement. 

Resumes of professionals who specialize in the production of the non-personalized portion of the statement including production of the printing of text, covers, envelopes, reply cards or forms, assembly, sequence checking, shipping, etc. 

References from large organizations, including public sector organizations, the contractor has assisted in the production of personal statements of benefits. 

Description of on-site computer system contractor will be utilizing. 

Description of alternative backup for all equipment which may be utilized by contractor. 

Description of all services to be subcontracted and how firm controls cost, quality, timeliness and confidentiality for these services. 

Detailed fee structure itemized by type of service, such as fees specifically for design, preparation of artwork and text, printing of the forms and personalized computer data, paper costs associated with sample statements, and the finishing process of statement production, assuming a quantity of 56,000. Cost per additional statement beyond specified count should also be included. 

Disclose any current or past (within the last two years) business relationships which may pose a conflict of interest. 

A summary of the contractor's experience with affirmative action including a summary of the contractor's affirmative action plan and policy statement. 

Section 46a-68j-30(10) of the regulations of Connecticut State Agencies requires agencies to consider the following factors when awarding a contract which is subject to contract compliance requirements: 

a. The contractor's success in implementing an affirmative action plan; 

b. The contractor's success in developing an apprenticeship program complying with Section 46a-68-1 to 46a-68-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, inclusive; 

c. The contractor's promise to develop and implement a successful affirmative action plan; 

d. The contractor's submission of EEO-1 data indicating that the composition of its work force is at or near parity when compared to the racial and sexual composition of the work force in the relevant labor market area; and 

e. The contractor's promise to set aside a portion of the contract for legitimate small contractors and minority business enterprises, where applicable. (See Section 32-9e of the Connecticut General Statutes.) 

A "Notification to Bidders" form is attached, to be read, signed, and returned by the contractor. ("Attachment I") 

Also attached is a Contract Compliance Requirements reporting form, which the contractor must complete sign, and return; such form will be sent by OSC to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). ("Attachment II") 

At the contractor's option, an executive summary may be included in its proposal.

VI. SELECTION PROCESS AND SCHEDULE

 Request for Proposals and Response Phase

February 2, 2001 Release of RFP by Commission
February 13, 2001 Questions due at Commission
February 14-16, 2001 Division answers questions received
March 2, 2001 Proposals due at Commission

Review and Selection Schedule 

March 6-March 9, 2001 Reading and Scoring of Proposals
by Screening Committee
March 12-March 16, 2001 Finalist Interviews (1)
March 22, 2001 Contractor Selection

Notes 

1 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.