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SCRS offers new $0 co-pay plans, first available in Washington state

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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) now offers a health insurance benefits plan to collision repair businesses that employ under 10 people, as few as two, including in the state of Washington.

Previously, plans were only offered to shops with at least 10 employees and weren’t available in Washington. SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg shared the updated plan information during the board’s open meeting Tuesday.

According to a survey conducted in 2023 by SCRS and I-CAR, only about 15% of technicians said they’re offered health insurance and/or paid time off. Just under 15% said they’re offered a 401(k) retirement plan. The survey had more than 800 respondents — 50% independent, 30% multi-store operation, and 20% dealer.

Through SCRS, collision repair businesses are offered up to 20% in savings versus renewals and employees can use coverage as soon as they enroll.

Benefits include:

    • $0 deductibles and employees choose their out-of-pocket maximum, which ranges from $3,000-$7,000;
    • No-cost services for visiting primary care physicians, specialists, urgent care, labs, or having X-rays;
    • Free generic prescriptions and mental health services; and
    • Aetna and Cigna networks.

Details about the plans offered by SCRS can be found in the SCRS benefits center.

Schulenburg said the plans have been very well received by SCRS members.

“The benefits are rich,” he said. “They’re leading to cost savings for our members and employers. What we’re seeing is moderate premium savings attributed to solid initial underwriting efforts. We’re finding that the marketing efforts that we’re generating have been successful in pulling in new collision repair businesses to participate both in the association and the health care plan.”

In 2023, SCRS brought on 51 new client groups to participate in the program and so far this year has added another 12. The number of clients looking to renew is also growing each quarter, Schulenburg said.

SCRS aims to expand its market reach this year by 71 locations.

“If we can expand the participation, it will give us increased stability and further reduced premiums and renewals, which is what our members are really looking for,” Schulenburg said.

He added that 63% of businesses indicate that they don’t offer some form of health benefits, usually because they don’t think their employees will participate. SCRS believes that if the quality of benefits offered is increased and costs decreased that challenge can be overcome.

“That also helps us find ways to help collision repair centers understand the value of benefits in recruitment and retention benefits that are offered and generated because of health insurance benefits,” Schulenburg said.

Previously, the benefit wasn’t offered in Washington. Now, under a new SCRS partner, Angle Health, it is. Just like the other plans offered, there are $0 co-pay plans. Coverage is offered through the Cigna National PPO Network.

“I think any time we can expand the scope of it while continuing to grow the base of those involved is the power of community,” Schulenburg said. “It’s the power of the association and being able to go when they look at a group and say this is across the, the, the whole scope.

The plan offers:

    • Administrative support to help with transition, onboarding, and employee education;
    • Pre-negotiated declining fee schedule (as the plan grows, costs automatically go down);
    • Tax filing and audit handling;
    • The ability for employees to make Roth 401(k) contributions;
    • Increased savings limits for both business owners and employees;
    • A wide range of employer match options, including the ability to add a vesting schedule; and
    • Automatic enrollment for employees, which provides owners with a $500 tax credit.

SCRS’ said it launched the MEP on April 1, 2019, to “help participating businesses and employees save expenses relevant to their 401k balances, reduce administrative responsibilities for companies, and provide fiduciary support,” according to the plan website.

The plan’s current assets balance is just over $27.5 million with 633 individual participants. Two hundred individuals have signed up since January bringing nearly $3.5 million in assets. In the last quarter, SCRS has added seven new businesses.

“The goal here is that it will be a continuous declining fee schedule for participants because as the plan grows, as participants are added, fees continue to go down,” Schulenburg said.

Another topic Shulenburg covered during the meeting Tuesday was the 2023 and upcoming SEMA Shows.

Every year at the show SCRS hosts several education classes as well as its IDEAS Collide Showcase and three OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit sessions.

The majority of last year’s IDEAS Collide videos have now been posted to the SCRS YouTube channel. Topics covered range from health care, tackling the labor crisis, and paint booth cycles to core garage liability insurance coverages, and shop culture

The most popular IDEAS Collide video watched so far has been “Death of the Estimator Role” by Andrew Batenhorst. In it, he talks about challenging the ideology behind estimating versus repair planning and pushing outside of that comfort zone to stop embracing antiquated ideas that lead to poor quality communication with the customer, Schulenburg said.

The lineup of speakers at this year’s show will be announced in the coming weeks.

SCRS has changed its schedule during the show this year. IDEAS Collide will be held on Wednesday afternoon and the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit will be held later in the day than usual on Thursday from 2:30-4:30 p.m.


Featured image: The Society of Collision Repair Specialists logo over its SEMA 2017 booth. (John Huetter) 

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