An independent Lehigh Valley employee benefits insurance agency recently inked a deal to manage an employee benefits program for a joint venture in Detroit, Mich.
Tony DaRe, agency principal for BSI Corporate Benefits LLC of Bethlehem, the firm hired to represent the employees for the contract, said he is encouraged by the growth that's returning to the auto industry, including The Big Three auto manufacturers in Detroit.
“You see a lot of growth across The Big Three,” said DaRe. “You see growth in companies as opposed to hemorrhaging which has happened almost exclusively for the last 10 years in Detroit.” While the recession certainly hit the Lehigh Valley hard, DaRe said, “nowhere did it hit harder than in Detroit and Michigan.”
Ford Motor Company has signed on as the joint venture's first client. The contract is worth in excess of $700 million and BSI will earn 3 percent to 5 percent of the estimated $10 million that the benefits agreement will net on a yearly basis, said DaRe.
DMS is a joint venture between Faurecia, an international tier 1 auto supplier, and the Rush Group, a Detroit based firm that has 25 years of experience in the auto components business. Ford has signed on as the signature client and DMS will manufacture cockpit components for Ford Mustangs and Expeditions. DaRe's company will represent these employees and his company offers health insurance in addition to short and long-term, dental and other types of insurance.
The contract is effective June 1 and DaRe said this joint venture will start rolling off a portion of their Ford vehicles to the line in Detroit possibly in the early fourth quarter of 2012.
The joint venture, known as DMS or Detroit Manufacturing Systems, will bring an estimated 500 to 750 new jobs to Detroit over the five-year contract period, said DaRe.BSI represents numerous tier 1 auto suppliers with United Auto Workers employees.