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Doctors Aren’t the Only Targets of Lawsuits

of laser surgery lawsuits involved someone other than a doctor operating the equipment

Spas are big business, generating over $14 billion in revenue in 2013. But the combination of high customer expectations, intimate settings, and new technologies creates risk for owners – especially those who branch out into laser treatments. A study by UCLA found that lawsuits involving lasers operated by non-doctors are on the rise, increasing by 36 percent between 2008 and 2011. Medical spa owners can protect themselves by having a physician perform laser hair removal, rejuvenation, and Sclerotherapy and by purchasing Professional Liability Insurance.

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Important Insurance Policies for Salons & Personal Care Services

Every industry has its own risks to contend with, and salons, barber shops, and spas are no different. Your clients in the personal care industry need affordable coverage to protect their business assets, and your ability to find the right coverage quickly can make you indispensable.

The coverages listed below are some of the important policies for your personal care industry client. Find out how each protects them from their trade's unique risks:

General Liability Insurance

Because your client's commercial space is open to the public, General Liability Insurance is an essential policy for salons and spas. General Liability financially shields your client from lawsuits over a third party's damaged property or bodily injuries sustained on your client's premises. For example, a customer could walk into your client's salon, trip over the welcome mat, and sue for the medical costs associated with their injury. GL may cover legal defense fees, customer medical expenses, or court-ordered judgments.

Property Insurance / Business Owner's Policy

Hairdressers, estheticians, massage therapists, and nail technicians have lots of equipment - some of which can be pretty costly, such as tanning beds and pedicure spa units. Property Insurance protects these business assets plus the physical location of the business. If your client's business property is damaged or lost because of theft, windstorms, or fires, Property Insurance compensates your client for the cost of replacing or repairing their items.

Professional Liability / Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance

Any business that provides a professional service can be sued for negligence. Salon, barber shop, and spa owners work with customers who could easily claim they received incomplete or subpar services, and that exposes your client to a potential lawsuit. For example, say a model visits your client's day spa for a facial before an audition. The treatment irritates her face and she doesn't get the job, so she decides to sue the spa for economic damages. Errors and Omissions Insurance, or Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance, pays for your client's legal fees, court costs, and settlements, even if the suit is meritless.

Workers' Compensation

If your client has employees, they probably need Workers' Compensation Insurance to comply with state laws. Most states require employers to carry the coverage - even if they only have one part-time staff member. Workers' Comp steps in when your client's employees can't work because of an occupational injury or illness (e.g., a reaction to the chemicals used in a treatment). It may pay their medical expenses and foregone income. Plus, if the employee decides to sue your client over the injury, most Workers' Comp policies offer some liability coverage.

Tips for Covering Salons & Personal Care Services

What makes for suitable coverage for a nail salon might differ for a barber shop or a day spa. Here are some pointers that might help you better serve your client:

Assess whether your client owns or leases their property.

Some personal care professionals own salons; others lease space in someone else's salon. Find out your client's status, and be sure they have the right kind and amount of insurance to meet contractual requirements.

Investigate a Business Owner's Policy (BOP).

Spas, salons, and barbershops are often considered low-risk businesses, which means they may qualify for a Business Owner's Policy. A BOP is a policy designed for these types of service providers. It bundles Property Insurance and General Liability Insurance together at a reduced yearly rate.

Consider special situations.

The intimate nature of some services, like massage, might make an Abuse & Molestation policy a good idea for your client. Also, not all massage therapists or estheticians work in spas. Some may travel to their customers' homes or offices, which means they may need a Commercial Auto / Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy. If your client works from their home, they qualify as a home-based business. You can review more about these risks on our Home-Based Businesses page.

If you want to get your client a good deal, be sure to compare the rates and coverage from multiple carriers.

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