The Business Behind the Beauty

Written by Jeanette Owens

The business behind the beauty is not always as pretty as it seems. Countless hours and dollars are spent preparing the tranquil spa atmosphere that allows clients to relax, rewind, and rejuvenate themselves the moment they enter through the doors.

But once those clients are on their way and you head back to your desk, the reality of what it takes to make a business run can shatter any calming thoughts and bring reality crashing down. There is hope! You can customize your insurance needs as quickly as you can your skin regimen. Evaluating and tailoring your policy specifically to the needs of the industry and your business will allow you to de-stress and get your beauty sleep.

Find Your Type
Skin care is never a one-product-fits-all scenario and your insurance should not be either. While many policies have the same common structure and base protection, they can be tailored by endorsement to help protect in areas that are specific for your business. Most people only think to buy insurance when their landlord requires it. This is typically General Liability (commonly referred to as Premise Liability) and will protect you if someone slips and falls in your business or a fire occurs. It is meant to protect the premise and your liability as a business owner but typically does not cover your hands-on work.
People in the beauty industry are at a greater exposure to lawsuits as they provide hands-on services. Whether it is a perm gone wrong, unhappy results from a permanent makeup procedure, or laser work gone awry, people are sensitive to their appearance and are quicker to sue when they are unhappy. Protect yourself by purchasing Professional Liability coverage for the services you provide. Some companies specialize in Professional Liability for the cosmetology industry and can provide extra layers of protection for things like sexual abuse claims, contracting a communicable disease from a procedure, and even assistance for license action from a state board or government entity. Coverage should be tailored to meet the specific risks associated with your business.

Implement a New Regimen
As business grows, so does your need to properly staff your business to meet your client’s needs. With employees comes a whole new set of regulations, requirements, and exposures. Suddenly, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage to protect your employees if they are hurt on the job. You are now responsible for paychecks, health insurance, and possibly even retirement funds for your employees. Success comes with a whole new set of worries that can make your head spin. But just as moisturizer protects the skin, coverage on your insurance policy can protect you for these new experiences with endorsements such as Employment Practices Liability and Employee Benefits Liability. Employment Practices can protect you from sexual harassment or discrimination claims from your employees. Employee Benefits Liability will protect you if you accidentally miss the payment to the health insurance carrier or you accidentally forget to add your new technician to the policy after their probation period was up. A few extra dollars in premium a month provides a nice cushion for the inexperienced aspects of business ownership and allows for better sleep.
With new employees comes greater exposure. You are entrusting your business and livelihood in the hands of someone else that you may only have known for a brief time. Unless you are employing only relatives (and sometimes even then), you can use your insurance policy as a layer of protection against their potentially harmful acts. While a separate crime policy can be purchased, most carriers offer endorsements that provide coverage for Employee Dishonesty and Accounts Receivable Coverage. While hopefully the hiring process weeds out most of the people not in tune with the business culture you want to provide to your clients, you can rest easy knowing that the insurance company is in your corner if things go wrong.

Prevent Future Breakouts
As technology has evolved, so have business practices. No longer do you place an advertisement in the newspaper to get your name out there. Today’s marketing is all about the Internet and social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn where your voice is heard instantly and broadcast to the masses. Taking checks as a method of payment has gone out the window now that anyone can accept credit cards using a smartphone. Client information is no longer in the computer locked in your office but accessible on your electronic tablet so you can take a call about your clients’ concerns no matter where you are. While technology provides ease and convenience for your business practices, it also adds to your exposure and becomes a double-edged sword. A disgruntled tweet made in haste after a difficult client can turn into a libel lawsuit. Your online payment account is hacked – if they can get into major retailers systems, small business owners would be considered appetizers. Or while sitting at Starbucks, your tablet is hacked and all of your clients’ medical history information is obtained. None of these instances are covered under a typical General Liability policy. However, a Cyber Liability/Data Breach policy is specifically written to help with cyber attacks, leaked information, and libel through social media.
As your business evolves, your insurance coverage must keep up with it. A quick chat with to your insurance professional when you make changes, or even think about making changes, will help you identify potential growth issues and coverages that can help fill in those gaps.
The business behind the beauty can be almost as beautiful as the end result. By identifying the flaws, applying new procedures, and using preventative measures, your business behind the scenes can glow as well as your clients’ skin when they leave your doors. You will feel tranquil and calm after those treatments are done.

Jeanette Owens joined the Underwriting Team of PPIB with 12 years of background in the commercial insurance industry. During this time, she has worked to develop and strengthen her knowledge of the issues specific to the medical spa, beauty, and body art businesses. She has earned her Customer Service Insurance Representative (CISR) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations to further her knowledge and allow her to advise her clients in ways to develop a successful business and implement procedures to increase loss control and prevention.

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