Sign up to receive a text message or email when new bids are added!
Bid Title: Request for Proposal Employee Benefits Insurance Broker & Consulting Services
Category: Administration
Status: Open

Request for Proposal Employee Benefits Insurance Broker and Consulting Services 

City of Bismarck (CITY) is soliciting proposals from insurance brokers/consultants qualified to perform and interested in providing Employee Benefits Insurance Broker and Consulting Services for CITY.

Interested and qualified brokers/consultants who have demonstrated their ability at comparable work are invited to submit proposals. Firms should submit (8) copies of the information requested. 

Proposals will be accepted until 4:00 pm local time, Friday, April 23, 2021. Submittals and requests for information relative to this Request for Proposal should be addressed to: 

Keith J. Hunke
City Administrator
City of Bismarck 
221 N. 5th Street 
Bismarck, ND 58501 

(701) 355-1300

Please note that the CITY is not asking for, nor authorizing quotes from insurance carriers. 

City of Bismarck Current Programs 
• Group Health Grand Fathered Self-Funded Plan (approximately 645 benefit eligible employees)
• Dental 
• Vision 
• Basic Life Insurance 
• Supplemental Life Insurance 
• Long Term Disability 
• Employee Assistance Program 
• Flexible Spending Account (Traditional) 
Scope of Services 
CITY is seeking a broker/consultant to perform the full range of services related to the analysis, design, implementation, maintenance, improvement, and communication of the CITY group insurance programs.
This includes, but is not limited to:  
• Assisting the CITY team in administering all group insurance plans, responding to questions from and providing information to staff, and providing other consulting services during the course of the plan year. 
• Assist CITY in complying with laws and regulations related to employee benefits. 
• Review funding levels, claims experience, claim service, and claim administration to ensure maximum benefit to CITY  
• Determine and recommend the most economical funding methods for the benefit programs and strike a balance between cost and comprehensiveness of the programs. 
• Develop a solicitation/negotiation strategy and lead (in agreement with CITY) in all negotiations with providers on all issues including those related to premiums, benefit levels, plan design, and special terms and conditions. 
• Meet and provide reports to various CITY representatives. 
• Assist CITY with the implementation and communication of new programs or changes to existing programs, which will include attending and presenting information at Open Enrollment meetings. 
• Research any new developments in the law and employee benefit programs on an ongoing basis. 
• As requested by CITY, prepare bid specifications and solicit proposals from insurance markets which specialize in group insurance plans as needed. Evaluate bids and bidders, including administration, coverage, claim payment procedures, customer service, networks, reserve establishment policies, financial soundness, and identify the most cost-beneficial package from among the various bidders. 
• Interface with insurance carriers as needed to assist CITY in the resolution of problems associated with benefit programs. 
• In addition to prior bullets regarding compliance, provide specific considerations around assistance in healthcare reform, including, but not limited to, impact of complying with all requirements, alternative approaches to administering coverage and overall financial impact. 

Schedule for the RFP 
• RFP distributed March 17, 2021
• Responses to RFP Due April 23, 2021
• Conduct interviews (if necessary) April 28, 2021
• Select broker/consultant May 7, 2021

General Information 
All proposals and related materials become the property of CITY and may be returned only at its option. The CITY is not obligated to accept any proposal or to negotiate with any proposal. All transactions are subject to the final approval of the CITY who reserves the right to reject any or all proposals without cause for liability. 

All costs directly or indirectly related to responding to this RFP (including all cost incurred in supplementary documentation, information, or presentation) will be borne by the proposer. 

RFP Process
It is expected that one (1) consultant/firm will be selected as a result of the RFP, although the CITY is under no obligation to award a contract as a result of the selection process. The selection of the consultant/firm will be based on an evaluation of the written proposals.  A selection committee may interview selected consultants/firms and will recommend a single consultant/firm. As a result of the evaluation of the written proposals and interviews the top-rated consultant/firm will be selected for contract negotiations.

Questions: (Please answer the following)
Your Company: 
1.  Briefly provide an overview of your firm’s history, including servicing location, number of clients, average size of clients, retention rate, industries that you serve, and number of employees. 
2.  Provide details of your company’s financial status and stability.

Your Practice: 
3.  Describe how your employee benefits practice is structured within your organization. 
4.  Describe what makes your firm uniquely qualified to work on our account. 
5.  What sets you apart from your competition? 
6.  Describe your customer support process and provide the names, contact information and responsibilities for the proposed service team for CITY. 
7.  Tell us about your company philosophy regarding client management. 
8.  If your firm is selected, how would you propose we transition the process? 

9. Describe how you will address the CITY ’s needs in the following areas: 
a. Planning – Assist us in outlining a benefits strategy consistent with our current and future business plans and in identifying optimal benefits for our workforce. 
b. Cost Projections – Assist us in developing cost projections tied to our rates. 
c. Competitive Marketing and Placement of Plans – Assist us with the competitive marketing and the placement of health and welfare plans, including the development of marketing specifications, identification of market conditions, evaluations of proposals, negotiations and placement of insurance contracts. This includes market research of new and existing markets with competitive assessments. 
d. Annual Renewals – Describe your involvement with the annual renewal process. Include a description of the task you undertake and the analysis you perform. Provide a sample annual renewal analysis. 
e. Industry Trends and Emerging Issues – Provide timely benefit consulting services on trends in the benefit industry and emerging benefit issues, including pending and/or new state or federally mandated changes and new solutions to systematic industry problems. 
f. Employee Communications – Assist in developing employee communication and related tools. Provide sample copies of benefit communication pieces directed to employees. Does your firm have the ability to create and distribute customized benefit enrollment kits? Please provide an example. 
g. Benchmarking – How do you help us make sure we remain competitive? What type of tools to you offer to assist us with benchmarking? How do you go about this process? 
10. Describe your local and national market leverage within the employee benefits marketplace.
11. In your opinion, what are two major challenges Local Governments face and how will your firm help meet these challenges? 
12. Describe any special analysis that you provide to help manage our programs. 

Additional Services: 
13. Describe your approach to the development of wellness or wellbeing programs. Include all aspects you consider based on group size, industry and potential programs already in existence. What are the varying levels of assistance you provide? Discuss development, communication, and any other aspect you consider relevant. 
14. Describe any services you offer around employee focus groups and/or employee surveys. 
15. What type of HR consulting services does your firm offer (i.e. processes, compliance, compensation, etc.)? 
16. Describe any additional services offered by your company that may be of interest to us. 

Legislative / Compliance: 
17. Do you have in-house Compliance lawyers who provide counsel to your clients? Is their Service included in your proposal pricing? 
18. Describe methods you employ to disseminate information about current trends and legislation. Provide examples. 
19. How does your organization keep up with the evolving legislation of healthcare reform (HCR)? What tools and resources do you provide your customers both on a holistic approach to HCR as well as on a tactical approach? 

20. Describe how you would prefer to be compensated (i.e. fee for service, monthly retainer, commissions, etc.). 
21. Does your firm have any reservations in making available documentation of the commission received from insurers? 
22. What is your company’s philosophy on accepting contingency/override compensation from insurers relative to the placement of our programs? 
23. Describe our right to terminate a contract with you. Is there a minimum contract period? 
24. Based on the information provided and the services requested, what is your proposed compensation? Please make certain to identify any services mentioned in your response that are not included in your proposed fee (services that would be an additional expense). 
25. Provide at least three references of current clients that are similar to CITY with respect to size and complexity. For each reference include: (1) number of employees, (2) number/type of plan covered, (3) length of servicing relationship with your firm and (4) contact name, title and phone number and e-mail. 

Evaluation of Proposals:
The City of Bismarck’s project team will review and evaluate all properly submitted proposals that are received on or before the deadline. The project team will first review each proposal for compliance with the minimum qualifications and mandatory requirements of the RFP. Failure to comply with any mandatory requirements may disqualify a proposal. The project team shall participate in the analysis of RFPs, the interview process and the final recommendation of the selected consultant for the project. Upon successful negotiations with the selected consultant, the contract will be recommended for approval by the project team to the Board of City Commissioners for final approval.
The committee will rank proposals based on the criteria stated below:
1.  Responsiveness of the Proposal to the project objectives.
2.  Responding firm’s experience in completing work of a similar size and scope.
3.  Specific qualifications of the primary staff who will manage, supervise, and provide services, including past experience on projects of similar size and scope.
4.  Public sector experience and qualifications of the firm.  This includes past project experience and/or research projects conducted for recognized industry associations.
5.  Proposer’s project management methodology and experience.
6.  Proposer’s familiarity with the operational review services needs of the City of Bismarck.
7.  Responses of the client references.
8.  Project approach and methodology.
9.  Cost of services and payment policies.
10.  Such other information that may be required or secured.

City of Bismarck Rights
The City of Bismarck reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, make counter proposals and/or engage in negotiations with any or all firms or individuals, waive any requirements or otherwise amend this RFP, or cancel the RFP in order to achieve the CITY’s goals and objectives for this project. Any changes in the status of the RFP will be brought to the attention of all parties that provide contact information for updates. The information contained in this RFP represent the CITY’s best information at the time of the release of the RFP and the CITY reserves the right to modify any term or condition contained herein.

Responsibility for Proposal Preparation
Except as otherwise specifically agreed to in writing by the CITY, each consulting individual or team submitting proposals shall provide and pay for all materials, labor, transportation, charges, levies, taxes, fees or expenses incurred, including all costs to prepare a response to this RFP, travel and presentation costs, and all other services and facilities of every nature whatsoever necessary for the preparation of the RFP. It is neither the CITY’s responsibility nor practice to acknowledge receipt of any proposal as a result of the RFP process. It is the proposer’s responsibility to assure that a proposal is delivered and received in a timely manner.

No Conflict of Interest
No member of the Board of City Commissioners, member of the evaluation committee for this RFP, and any other officer, employee or agent of the City of Bismarck who exercises any functions or responsibilities in the selection of a proposal, shall have any personal interest, direct or indirect, in the project.

Open Records/Proprietary Information
The City of Bismarck recognizes that in responding to this RFP, the proposer may desire to provide proprietary information in order to clarify and enhance their response. To the extent permitted by law, the City of Bismarck will keep confidential such information provided that:
1.  The information submitted is arguably proprietary, and
2.  The proprietary information is submitted in a separate file or section that is clearly identified as containing proprietary information, according to the submittal instructions of this RFP. Only information that is credibly propriety may be included.  Inclusion of non-propriety significant information in the sealed portions may render a submittal ineligible.
Responders should note that the City of Bismarck is a municipality, and as such its files are available for public review pursuant to the North Dakota Constitution Article XI, Section 6 and NDCC Chapter 44-04-18.
Publication Date/Time:
3/17/2021 12:00 AM
Closing Date/Time:
4/23/2021 11:59 PM
Contact Person:
Keith J. Hunke
City Administrator
(701) 355-1300
Plan & Spec Available:
Keith J. Hunke
City Administrator
City of Bismarck
221 N. 5th Street
Bismarck, ND 58501
(701) 355-1300
Business Hours:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Special Requirements:
It is expected that one (1) consultant/firm will be selected as a result of the RFP, although the CITY is under no obligation to award a contract as a result of the selection process. The selection of the consultant/firm will be based on an evaluation of the written proposals. A selection committee may interview selected consultants/firms and will recommend a single consultant/firm. As a result of the evaluation of the written proposals and interviews the top-rated consultant/firm will be selected for contract negotiations.

Return To Main Bid Postings Page