Answers to Bidders Question in the Matter of the PCC Accountant Bid Process

Note: Properly Formatted PDF version listed as PCC Acct Bid 6-20-14.pdf and other referenced documents follow below.
TO: Prospective Bidders
FROM: Iowa Insurance Division
RE: Answers to Service Providers’ Questions Concerning
Informal Competitive Solicitation for Accountants to
Assist with Analysis of Perpetual Care Cemeteries
DATE: June 20, 2014
The Iowa Insurance Division (the “Division”) is issuing this memo pursuant to
Section V of the Division’s Informal Competitive Solicitation for Accountants to
Assist with Analysis of Perpetual Care Cemeteries (“Solicitation”).
Pursuant to Section V of the Solicitation, the responses to questions contained in
this Memorandum are being sent by email today, June 20, 2014, to the
requesting service providers, and this Memorandum also will be posted on the
Division’s website. The Division’s written responses in this Memorandum and
attachments to this Memorandum will be considered part of the Solicitation and
incorporated by this reference.
The Division did not receive any written questions from service providers by the
deadline of June 18, 2014. However, the Division submits to service providers
the following information arising out of questions received at the Division’s
conference for service providers on June 17, 2014.
Attached to this memorandum are the following:
a. A sample contract, i.e., language which would be similar to that to
be proposed by the Division for a contract for this project with the
successful service provider. The terms will be subject to
negotiation by the parties.
b. An evaluation method which will be used to assess proposals
submitted to the Division in response to the Solicitation.
c. A copy of a blank form of the PCC annual report.
Questions and Answers
1. Can service providers see the worksheet that will be used to conduct the
A: No. As stated in the Solicitation, that information is confidential and
will only be shared with the successful service providers.
2. What materials would a service provider need to conduct the reviews?
A: The Division has provided (attached to the Solicitation) the survey
that was sent to licensees. All relevant materials are assembled
into hard copy folders. The required analysis will include an
evaluation of all materials in the folders and an assignment to the
file of an overall score.
3. What is the grading system that the analysts will be using for their
A: The Division has developed and internally tested a grading system
which the contracted service provider will be required to follow.
The contents of the system will be provided only to successful
service providers and fully explained at the required training.
4. Is the grading system for the entire review, or assigned to parts?
A: The grading system includes a score for each subsection and an
overall score for the file.
5. Is there a flat fee amount for each file or a certain rate for say 100 files
A: As stated in Section VII.B. or the Solicitation, the service provider
can propose either an hourly rate for reviews or a fixed price for
each file review.
6. How many firms are bidding on this project?
A: The Division has not received any bids and will not know how many
bidders there will be until the deadline for receipt of bids has
passed. Because this is an informal competitive solicitation,
service providers are not required to give the Division any advance
notice of an intention to bid.
7. How many files do you expect to make available for review under the
A: The total number of files is 297. However, because Division staff
are conducting some of the reviews, the Division anticipates it will
ask service providers to review approximately 175 of those files.
8. Can the files be taken back to the service providers’ offices or do they
need to be reviewed in the Division offices, in a secure location?
A: The work can be performed at division offices, or the contracted
service provider may check out files. Successful service providers
will be required to provide a conflicts of interest statement before
any files can be reviewed and the service provider must agree to
maintain confidentiality and security of any files checked out from
the Division. See Solicitation Sections VI.A.2., VI.A.5., and VI.C.
9. Looking at items 1 through 8 as requested in the survey letter, how will
this be assessed risk-wise? Overall or by each individually?
A: The risk assessment will be composed of three parts. Each part will
receive a score, and then an overall rating will be assigned. The
details will be explained at the required training.
10. Will service providers have all the information to complete the review in
the file?
A: The necessary information for each review will consist of three
parts: (a) the file for each entity; (b) the worksheet; and (c)
reference material provided by the Division containing applicable
Iowa laws and templates of forms. Each file will include information
from filings that each entity has filed with the Division. One
example is the annual report. A blank copy of the annual report
form is attached to this Memorandum.
11. Would service providers be allowed to contract out to other CPA firms if
awarded the bid? Perhaps the contracted service provider could complete
the final review of the file and sign off, but share in the review of the file.
A: The contract may be negotiated to allow subcontractors to work on
the reviews, however the Division would require that a principal with
the contracted service provider would prepare the final review and
approve the overall score for the file.
12. What type of skill set would you say is required to complete these
A: Analytical ability, critical thinking, and attention to detail.
13. What is the expectation for training, 2 hours, 4 hours, and would the
training be here at this location?
A: The Division expects that training would be conducted at Division
offices. If only one service provider is selected, the Division would
consider conducting training at the service provider’s office.
14. Please clarify how the payments for training works. Is the $50 per hour
per person or per hour?
A: The Division estimates approximately four hours of training will be
necessary, and intends to pay $50.00 per hour per person of
training attended for a number of trainees as agreed by the parties.
Each service provider should include in its proposal the number of
trainees it would send to training. Depending on the total number of
service providers selected, the Division estimates it would set a cap
of four persons per service provider that it would pay for training.
15. Would the training be with actual files?
A: Yes.
16. Could multiple reviewers be used on a file? For example, one person
could review the content of the form and another could work on the
financial analysis?
A: Multiple reviewers can be used. It will be up to each service
provider to demonstrate how it may divide up the analysis and to
provide assurance that the overall review will be performed by
competent staff and the final review and score will be prepared by
an accountant.
17. Can service providers see the evaluation format the division will use to
evaluate bids?
A: Yes. The evaluation method is attached to this Memorandum.
18. What if one file takes three hours and another file takes only one hour?
A: The compensation will be capped at two hours per file completed.
The Division has completed a number of these reviews and
determined that a proper file review will take approximately two
hours. See Solicitation Sections VI.A.3 and VII.B.
19. Please explain the provision in the Solicitation about the Division paying
an extra $75 dollars per hour for the first few files reviewed.
A: The Division recognizes that the review of the first few files may
take longer to review. As stated in the Solicitation, Section VII.C., a
service provider has the option to request a total additional
compensation of up to $75.00 each of the first five files reviewed by
a service provider. The maximum which could be paid under this
provision to any one service provider is $375 per person for the
review of five files. This additional compensation is not automatic
and will have to be requested by the contracted service providers.
20. Can service providers get a written copy of the answers to the questions
asked at the service providers’ conference?
A: Answers to all questions discussed at the conference or received
by the deadline of June 18th will be posted to the Division’s website.
21. What is the due date for proposals?
A: As stated in the Solicitation, the deadline to submit proposals is
proposal 3:00 p.m. on June 25, 2014. See Solicitation Sections
II.A. and III.
22. What type of contract will a service provider have to sign?
A: A sample contract is attached to this Memorandum.
23. If a contract is signed sooner, could the training be conducted sooner so
could work begin earlier?
A: These dates will be negotiated with each service provider. An
earlier start date will be considered if all necessary preliminary
steps can be completed.