Professional Testing Organization to Administer Mississippi Insurance Licensing and Bail Bond Exams

  • USING DIVISION: Licensing
  • ISSUE DATE: January 9, 2017
  • ISSUING AGENCY: Mississippi Insurance Department

Sealed Proposals subject to the conditions made a part hereof will be received until 4:00 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 16, 2017, for furnishing goods and services described herein.

All questions regarding RFP requirements should be directed to RFP_Questions@mid.ms.gov.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Indicate the RFP number on the front of each sealed proposal envelope or package, along with the date for receipt of proposals specified above. All proposals must include one (1) original, one (1) cd or usb flash drive labeled “public” which does not contain any information labeled trade secret or confidential, and six (6) hard copies directly to the Mississippi Insurance Department at one of the following addresses:

DELIVERED BY US POSTAL SERVICE DELIVERED BY ANY OTHER MEANS
RFP NO. 3120001001 RFP NO. 3120001001
Mississippi Insurance Department Mississippi Insurance Department
Attention: Wanda Magers Licensing Director Attention: Wanda Magers, Licensing Director
PO Box 79 501 N. West Street, Suite 1001
Jackson MS 39205-0079 Jackson MS 39201

Proposals should be submitted by paper. However one copy of the complete proposal including all sections in Microsoft Word Format with Exhibits in Microsoft Word or portable document format (PDF) to the following address: RFPSubmittals@mid.ms.gov. This RFP is available electronically on the Mississippi Insurance Department Website at http://www.mid.ms.gov and may be obtained by selecting Open RFPs.

Please direct all inquiries regarding RFP requirements to Wanda Magers, Director of Licensing at RFP_Questions@mid.ms.gov or at 601-359-2544.

ACTIVITY DATE/DEADLINE
Issue Request for Proposals Monday, January 9, 2017
Deadline for Written Questions Due Monday, January 23, 2017 by 4:00 p.m. CST
Response to Questions Posted on Website Monday, January 30, 2017 by 5.00 p.m. CST
Bid Submittals Due Thursday, February 16, 2017 by 4:00 p.m. CST
Bid Opening Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. CST Woolfolk State Office Building, Suite 1001
Award Announcement Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Effective Date of Contract Saturday, July 1, 2017


Use the index below to go directly to a particular section

General Information

The Mississippi Insurance Department (“MID”), is seeking proposals from interested and qualified professional testing organizations to administer license examinations for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, and bail bondsmen to test for minimum competency for entry into the insurance business or bail bonding business.

In order to submit a complete and concise response to this Request for Proposal (RFP), the Respondent is expected to thoroughly read and understand the program as described throughout this RFP.

The agreement(s) entered into pursuant to this RFP will be for a one (1) year term beginning July 1, 2017, subject to termination by either party with proper notice in accordance with the terms of the executed agreement. Upon written agreement of both parties at least ninety (90) days prior to each contract anniversary date, the Contract may be renewed by the MID for a period of three (3) successive one-year periods under the same prices, terms, and conditions as in the original contract. The total number of years permitted under this contract shall not exceed four years. The fees charged by the test vendor will be fixed for the entire period of the agreement.

The evaluation team will be comprised of State representatives. As directed by statute, qualified bids will be evaluated and acceptance may be made of the lowest and best bid most advantageous to the state as determined upon consideration of such factors listed in Part 6 of this RFP.

The terms “Respondent”, “Contractor” and “Vendor” are referenced throughout this RFP. Generally, references to the “Respondent” are used in conjunction with the proposing organization and procurement process leading up to the final RFP selection and award. The term “Contractor” and “Vendor” denotes the role assumed, post-award, by the winning Respondent. Additionally, the terms “State of Mississippi,” “State” or “MID” may be used interchangeably throughout this RFP to denote the political entity issuing the RFP and requesting responses from Respondents throughout these specifications.

No State funds will be used for the insurance producer, insurance adjuster and bail bond examinations. All costs associated with the program will be recovered by the Respondent from candidates seeking licensure. The program of examination administration as outlined in this RFP shall be without cost to MID.

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Forms


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Questions & Answers

Click on a question to reveal the answer.

Question 1) Does any portion of the exam fee need to be remitted to MID or will the exam fees be retained entirely by the selected exam vendor?

Answer The Exam vendor retains all state exam fees

Question 2) Are there any statutory fee caps on the services (i.e., exam fees) required by the solicitation?

Answer Not at this time.

Question 3) Are MID's insurance exams divided into national and state-specific portions? Or, are the exam items not differentiated in this way and instead presented together in a single-part exam?

Answer We use the single-part exam as recommended by the NAIC uniformity standards.

Question 4) When was the last job task analysis completed?

Answer That information is not available.

Question 5) Does MID currently own or license any Mississippi Insurance test questions? If so, will they be shared with the selected test vendor? If Mississippi does own any insurance test questions, can you please provide the following additional information about them?
     a. How many items are available per exam line?
     b. Are there statistics for the items that can be shared?
     c. Are the item banks currently linked to test outline specifications, blueprints, or domains?
     d. Can the item banks be provided in an electronic format to the selected vendor?

Answer 5) MID owns the Workers Comp Only exam questions. They will be shared with the selected vendor.
     a. 70 question exam pool for workers comp only.
     b. This is a new exam, which has only be given 3 times..
     c. That information is not available.
     d. A copy of the workers comp exam questions will be provided to selected vendor.

Question 6) How many operational (i.e., scored) items appear on each exam when presented to test takers? How many field test items, if any, appear on each exam?

Answer LAH 125; Life 75; A&H 75; P&C 100; Personal Lines 75; Property 75; Casualty75; Ind Adj inc w/c 60; W/C only 50; Public Adjuster 50; Bail 60; Industrial Fire 50; Not aware of the number of field test items

Question 7) How much time is allotted to complete each exam?

Answer 2 hours

Question 8) Will MID consider extending the start date for the program, as the current July 1st start date for a project of this size would require accelerated content development and review (especially if MID does not own the current insurance exam items)?

Answer Not at this time.

Question 9) Please provide the total number of exams delivered, by exam line, in 2015 and 2016.

Answer
First time exams: 2015 2016
A&H 98 114
Casualty 2 1
LAH 967 1008
P&C 655 688
Ind Fire 89 88
Ins Adj 60 56
Life 1526 1588
Adj w/ WorkComp 101 77
PL 5 1
Property 0 3
Pub Adj 8 3
Work Comp Adj 0 3

Question 10) Please break down first time versus retake exam numbers/percentages for 2015 and 2016 more specifically.

Question 11) Can MID provide a file containing the ZIP codes of the testing candidates for 2015? For example, this may be a comma-delimited file containing records that reflect the year of testing and the corresponding ZIP code of each candidate tested. If ZIP code information is not available, please provide candidate volume by test center location for 2015.

Answer This information is not available.

Question 12) Please provide additional detail on how MID will calculate the cost proposal portion of the evaluation criteria. How many points will be allocated to lowest bidder versus the highest bidder? How will those points be calculated?

Answer Maximum of 20 points will be allocated for cost proposal. There is not a minimum point value. Calculation using certified data in Exhibit C and 6.2.4

Question 13) Pertaining to section 1.2.4, pg. 11, please describe what is meant by “temporary locations” for exam delivery.

Answer As needed, a location to be made available for exam delivery. For example; 25 Life applicants from one Company requesting an exam site.

Question 14) Pertaining to section 1.2.4.05, pg. 11
(1) How many accommodations were granted to applicants in each of the last two years?
(2) What types of accommodations were provided to applicants in the last two years?

Answer (1) Exact statistics not available, however it would be less than 5 a year.
(2) Exams were provided verbally to applicants, longer time to complete exam was provided.

Question 15) Regarding RFP section 1.2.7.01, will electronic transmission of the candidates' scores to MID be sufficient, with the added ability to retrieve an electronic copy of candidates' printed score reports as needed (e.g., for auditing or security review)?

Answer Yes, in addition to the requirement listed in the first sentence of 1.2.7.01 .

Question 16) Regarding section 1.2.7.02 of the RFP, can MID provide examples of the requested reports, a copy of the business rules, or both?

Answer This information will be discussed with the selected vendor.

Question 17) Pertaining to section 1.3.2.02, pg. 13, Please provide a copy of the “MID Record Retention schedule”.

Question 18) Regarding section 6.2.1.02, Please clarify whether fingerprinting is included in the RFP scope of work and, if so, describe in more detail the fingerprinting requirements.

Answer Currently, MID fingerprints bail agents only: Fingerprint Instructions. Producer and Adjuster licensees will require fingerprinting at a future date TBD. The fingerprinting will be discussed with the selected vendor.

Question 19) In performance of the services under any resulting contract, contractors will utilize significant existing proprietary computer programs, source code, materials, test items, tests and intellectual property that have been previously developed by the contractor or its 3rd party licensor (“Contractor Intellectual Property”), some of which may be trade secret, copyright, patent and trademark protected. We presume the state understands contractor or its licensors will retain all Intellectual Property rights to Contractor’s Intellectual Property including derivative or customized works and the state will not disclose or provide any such Contractor Intellectual Property to another person not a party to this agreement; is our presumption correct?

Answer Yes, that is correct.

Question 20) Sections 1.2.4.05, 3.16, 3.19: Will the vendor, acting on behalf of the MID, render decisions on test taker requests for accommodations?

Answer Yes for 1.2.4.05. 3.16 and 3.19 doesn’t address test taker accommodation

Question 21) Section 1.2, and subsections; Section 1.3, and subsections: Please specify the “computer system now used by the MID.” What computer services are now in use by the MID, with which the successful vendor would be expected to integrate?

Answer MID uses Vertafore/Sircon services.

Question 22) Section 1.2.7.01: please clarify what “The Respondent will send to MID in an electronic format a copy in paper form of each candidate’s score report.” What does “in paper form” refer to?

Answer A report sent to MID can be pdf, excel, or word. See Exam Scores By Provider

Question 23) Section 1.2.8.02: Please clarify what is meant by “disqualified candidates.” Are these candidates who did not pass their exam? If yes, then does the MID require scores reported for all test takers?

Answer Disqualified is someone who does not pass the exam. The report format will be addressed with selected vendor

Question 24) Section 1.2.10: How many Limited Lines tests are delivered today?

Answer One: Industrial Fire.

Question 25) Section 1.2.5.02 states “The Respondent must provide immediate score reporting to MID,” however, Section 1.2.8.01 indicates, “Examination results for all applicants must be received electronically by the computer service utilized by the MID within two (2) working days of each examination date.” Can the MID clarify the requirement for the Respondents.

Answer The applicant should receive a score upon completion of the exam. Delivering the scores to our computer service - Sircon should be within 2 working days.

Question 26) Section 1.3.2.03: Please clarify the re-test or retake rules associated with the MID’s program.

Answer MID does not have a time frame for re-testing, nor a limit of how many times to retake an exam.

Question 27) Section 1.3.3.22: Regarding a system for prioritizing requests, please specify from whom/where are the requests coming? Would this include test takers, providers, the MID, and/or other?

Answer As needed for MID, Providers, Test takers, Sircon/Vertafore and other.

Question 28) Section 1.4.1: Is there an application fee for candidates, separate from the exam fee?

Answer Yes. Producer, adjuster, Industrial Fire, Bail Agent Professional are $100. Bail Enforcement & Bail Soliciting Agents are $40.

Question 29) Please outline the current application process.

Answer a. Complete a prelicensing course
b. Pass the state exam: See Exam Outline.
c. Apply for a license electronically on Sircon or NIPR. Or complete a paper application and mail in.
d. For Bail agents: They are fingerprinted by MID and provide a photo. A CD is required for Personal Surety. They also mail the original application. A bail limited lines agent must appointed, which is submitted with the application.

Question 30) Please outline the eligibility requirements for candidates (if any).

Answer Applicants provide the vendor a PE completion certificate to reflect course completion. Identification (Individual ID) is used for exam verification. Please note the certificate information is used to develop an education provider report. However, an individual without a certificate is allowed to take the exam. This information is also used in the education provider report.

Question 31) Please provide a copy of the MID Records Retention schedule.

Question 32) Please provide the historical candidate volume by zip code.

Answer This information is not available.

Question 33) Please provide annual volume numbers, by exam title.

Answer
First time exams: 2015 2016
A&H 98 114
Bail 143 117
Casualty 2 1
LAH 967 1008
P&C 655 688
Ind Fire 89 88
Ins Adj 101 56
Life 1526 1588
P&C incl WC Adj 0 77
PL 5 1
Property 0 3
Pub Adj 8 3
Work Comp Adj 101 77
Total 3594 3747

Question 34) Does the MID have existing Mississippi-specific examination content; and if so, will that content be made available to the successful vendor?

Answer MID owns the Workers Comp Only and Yes it will be made available. Exam Outline Attached

Question 35) Please provide the number of exam items owned by the MID, by line of authority.

Answer One. Workers Comp Only.

Question 36) Section 2.3.1 states that vendors should provide a list of references that includes all similar contracts performed in the past five years, and MID evaluators will randomly select at least three of these references. However, Section 6.3.2 states that “Prospective Contractors must supply at least three (3) references of governmental agencies…from the past five years. A sample form is included in this RFP as Exhibit B.” Exhibit B has spaces for three references.
a. Please clarify the number of references to be provided with the proposal response.

Answer 3 references for respondent and 3 references for lead staff person. Respondent would complete one form and the lead staff person would complete one form.

Question 37) Section 6.2.3.01, Insurance Examinations, states that “the response should also include a list of insurance examination contracts the Respondent presently holds…the Respondent must grant permission to the MID to contact each state.” However, in Section 6.2.3.03, we are to “list names…of three (3) business references for the Respondent…”
a. Please clarify the number of references to be provided with the proposal response.

Answer 3 business references for respondent, 3 references for lead staff

Question 38) Section 6.2.3.03 asks for a list of all states in which testing services are provided, but then asks for contact information to be included. Are Respondents meant to provide the MID with a list of all states in which any testing services are provided, or are these insurance testing services only?

Answer Any testing services

Question 39) How does the information to be provided in Sections 6.2.3.01 and 6.2.3.03 differ?

Answer 6.2.3.01 is a list of insurance contracts held hold and those lost in the last 5 years.
6.2.3.03 is a list of all current states services are provided (may not be insurance), with 3 business references for respondent and 3 for lead staff person.

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