Brunswick aims to ease dealers’ pain

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Brunswick Corp. is adding to its long line-up of Dealer Advantage offerings, providing health care insurance and expanding its certification offerings.

While the company made two separate announcements about the additions, the philosophy behind them was the same: make business easier and less expensive for dealers, and it will boost their profitability, leading to growth for participating dealers and for Brunswick.

“Healthcare coverage and dental and vision benefits are some of the biggest expenses and ‘pain points’ for our dealers,” said Dustan E. McCoy, chairman and chief executive officer of Brunswick Corp. “The opportunity to secure these benefits is another example of how Brunswick Dealer Advantage is working to support our dealers’ efforts to attract and retain top talent.”

The healthcare benefits that are now available to employees of marine dealerships that qualify and participate in Brunswick Dealer Advantage and their family members, include medical, dental and vision benefits as well as dental and vision discount cards.

Employees of dealerships achieving the gold and platinum levels in Brunswick Dealer Advantage can have access to two different approaches to health care coverage — a comprehensive healthcare program and dental and vision care discounts.

For comprehensive group healthcare benefits, including medical, prescription, dental and vision coverage, dealers can participate in the AdvantageCare program. With access to more than 60 PPO networks covering in excess of 90 percent of the U.S., the AdvantageCare program features customizable packages with varying deductibles, co-pays and coverage options so dealers can tailor the coverage and premiums to their business and employee needs. Dealerships with two or more employees can select a plan appropriate to their needs. Dealerships with more than 10 employees can offer up to two different plans from which employees may choose.

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“Compared to similar benefits and coverage offered by commercial health insurance companies, the average savings through the AdvantageCare program is estimated to be 10-15 percent,” said Dealer Benefit Services Director Rob Schuldt. “Savings will vary based on dealer demographics, location, size, and health risk factors.”

The AdvantageCare program is available in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Brunswick is working to gain regulatory approval for the program in Nevada, Texas and Washington. The program will not be available in Hawaii. Enrollment for qualified dealers in the participating states is expected to begin this fall.

In addition to the healthcare program, Dealer Advantage also features a dental and vision discount program through Vital Savings by Aetna at a nominal monthly cost, according to the company. Brunswick said it has negotiated special rates to make the costs extremely affordable for gold and platinum level dealership employees and their families.

“Because this offers straight discounts and is not an insurance program, there are no claim forms to file, no restrictions on pre-existing conditions and no deductibles,” said Schuldt. “You simply present your card to one of the more than 73,000 Aetna dental or other qualifying providers and your discount is instantaneous. Savings vary geographically and by provider, but they range from 15 to 50 percent on services like cleanings, crowns, root canals and orthodontia. That could mean more than a thousand dollars in savings for a family over the course of a single year.”

Participants in the program receive discounts on eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK eye surgery via Vital Savings by Aetna providers. At no additional cost, participants also receive discounts on chiropractic services, massage therapy, acupuncture therapy, weight management through Jenny Craig and other services through approved providers. The discount program is immediately available to eligible dealers.

“Our dealers have been requesting affordable healthcare coverage with increasing frequency as a method of retaining top talent and stabilizing operating expenses,” said Brunswick Dealer Advantage Director Betsy Lazzara. “We are pleased to be able to deliver to our dealers a choice of solutions which we believe will appeal to the majority of our eligible gold and platinum dealers.”

Brunswick Dealer Advantage features three levels of participation – silver, gold and platinum – each based on the amount of the dealership’s retail business with Brunswick boats and/or engines. The deeper the partnership with Brunswick, the higher the dealership’s level of eligibility and the more benefits they can access through Dealer Advantage.

All U.S.-based marine dealerships that are in good standing and carry a Brunswick-owned boat line or Mercury Marine engines are eligible at the baseline silver level. There is no cost to participate, and dealers may opt to participate in all or some of the benefits depending on their unique business needs. Other Dealer Advantage benefits include customized retirement strategies, including 401(k) plans and succession planning; real estate advisory services; discounted rates on office supplies, computers and equipment, credit card processing, Internet advertising, payroll services, Web site design, wireless phone service, small package freight and more. To improve the retail customer experience, dealerships can take advantage of competitive retail financing, extended warranties and insurance offerings in-house.

MIDC to serve as foundation for Brunswick’s new plan

In what appears to be a first for the industry, Brunswick also reported today that it has developed a comprehensive marine dealership certification program based on the Grow Boating Initiative’s Marine Industry Certified Dealership program.

This program – which is in addition to the Master Dealer, Pro Dealer and Ambassador Dealer programs used by some of Brunswick’s brands – gives dealerships access to proven practices they can implement to significantly improve their profitability, the company said.

“Certification is important to Brunswick as there is a strong correlation between certification and improvements in market share, customer satisfaction and dealer profitability,” said McCoy. “Improved customer satisfaction makes us more competitive with other luxury and recreational alternatives. And by employing best practices identified through the certification process, our dealers will provide their customers with a better ownership experience, which ultimately will help our dealerships generate increased sales and profits.”

“Our certification program is designed for small and large dealerships alike,” said Brunswick Director of Dealer Certification Ed Boncek. “And it complements both MIDC certification and the existing certification programs some of our brands have in place. We are now able to provide dealers with several certification levels to fit their variety of needs.”

Brunswick brands with active dealer certification programs include Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Mercury Marine and US Marine. Brunswick said its goal is now to reach a larger number of dealers by starting with the MIDC program and adding several enhancements to achieve a level of certification that is more comprehensive than the industry’s program, but less complex than its Master Dealer and Pro Dealer programs.

Dealers who complete the Brunswick program will satisfy both industry and Brunswick certification requirements, eliminating any need for dealers to have to go through multiple certification programs, the company added.

Brunswick will hold regional workshops during the fall which will provide dealers with the guidelines for certification. Launch meetings will be held Sept. 19-20 in Nashville, Tenn.; Sept. 27-28 in Orlando, Fla.; Oct. 23-24 in Chicago; Nov. 1-2 in Las Vegas and Nov. 14-15 in Atlantic City, N.J. Registration information will available at Brunswick brands’ annual dealer meetings and posted on www.brunswickdealeradvantage.com.
To further encourage certification, dealers who complete Brunswick’s dealer certification program will be eligible for multi-year dealer agreements with the Brunswick boat brands they carry as well as other benefits, according to the company.

“Certification is a perfect complement to Brunswick Dealer Advantage,” said Dealer Advantage Director Betsy Lazzara. “Both programs have the same goal in mind – dealership profitability. Dealers who are already certified will attest to the fact that the investment in certification is recovered quickly through business efficiencies. Certification is good for the customer, good for the dealer, and ultimately good for the industry. “

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