There’s no upside to going uncovered

By and large, we had fun exhibiting at America’s Beauty Show. We met fascinating people and checked out the latest beauty trends (you can read about my experience in this blog post). I equivocate just a bit because I had a few worrisome conversations with people who were not covered by insurance. Some folks essentially shrugged and said they haven’t bothered with insurance coverage for years.

Of course, as an insurance professional, I am puzzled to hear people are going uninsured. But I have more than an academic interest in the matter. Every day, I see the ways we have been able to support businesses during their most trying times.

It is true that if a day spa manager follows above-average safety practices and only employs licensed professionals, years may pass before she experiences an event that would trigger an insurance claim. But even the safest salons and most carefully maintained spas are subject to a well-worn truth: accidents will happen. Clients slip and fall on the spring rain they’ve tracked into the entrance. An esthetician fails to test a new formulation before applying it to a client’s face, and the client has an allergic reaction.

These are far from hypothetical scenarios. In fact, they turn into real-life lawsuits. Slips and falls—not caustic chemicals and pointy tools—are a major source of claims for salons and spas. In our litigious society, we are compelled to assume a simple accident will turn into a lawsuit.

So, why would anyone forgo an insurance policy that provides coverage for the unthinkable? From the conversations I had with a few people at the American Beauty Show, it seems people don’t fully realize the scope and protection insurance provides. For instance:

  1. It can cover more than you think. Perhaps when you think of insurance your mind first goes to something like homeowners insurance, in which your business is covered for property damage. That is certainly covered under a commercial property policy, which all businesses should have.But what about professional liability coverage? That covers you if a customer claims they were injured due to a professional’s negligence or incompetence. Other coverages build on these to provide an extra layer of protection. For example, business income coverage may provide coverage for lost income due to an event that triggers property coverage, like if a stolen computer closes a spa for a day until data and software can be recovered and restored.
  2. It is probably more affordable than you think. This is a simple message: many people think insurance is inherently expensive. But professional liability and property coverage is unlikely to put a major ding in a salon or spa’s budget. Affordability depends on a number of factors, from a business’s claims history to its exposure to hurricanes. An insurer or local broker can provide insight into factors affecting your insurance premium cost.
  3. You get experts on your side. It turns out that after years of working with salons, day spas, beauty schools, estheticians and barber shops, we have learned a thing or two about how these businesses work. Any reputable insurer with a history of serving the beauty and skincare industry can help you answer questions about insurance coverage and risk management, and many provide resources you can access on your own time (like this blog).
  4. You can build the foundation of a trusting relationship. There’s a reason contractors drive around with “licensed and insured” painted on the sides of their trucks. Customers and the public at large like to know the professionals they entrust with their homes and hair are properly trained and protected. Your insurance means that, in appropriate cases, clients have recourse in the event of a catastrophic accident. Going uninsured can appear unprofessional to customers and the broader community.

It is easy for me to tell you why you should be insured, and I can’t think of one reason a practicing, licensed beauty pro should not be insured. We offer these insurance policies because we want to see your business succeed—and you could say we have as much skin in the game as your waxing customers do.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at klopez@brownyard.com.