When Rhonda finally got her dream job at a luxury spa, she never dreamed she’d soon be living in fear of losing her house. When Rhonda first became employed at the spa, her manager assured her all the treatments she would be performing were covered under the spa’s insurance. Rhonda never thought to confirm this with the spa.
On this day, Rhonda performed an IPL hair removal service as she had always done. During the treatment, the client said she felt heat in a few areas on her leg. Rhonda told the client she would avoid those areas and continue with the treatment. Following the treatment, she gave her client the post-treatment care instructions; the client seemed happy and left.
Several weeks later, Rhonda came home from work to find a court summons taped to the front door of her home. The client was suing Rhonda for $600,000 in damages and medical bills resulting from scarring to 25% of her legs. Unfortunately, the spa had let their coverage lapse and Rhonda was not covered.
The client settled in court for $126,000. Unfortunately, the client wasn’t the only one burned in this case. Rhonda wasn’t an ASCP member.
Never assume you are covered by your employer. We have heard some very sad stories of estheticians who relied on their employer’s policy and found out too late that they were not covered.
There are four important questions you should ask your employer to ensure you do have complete coverage that protects you as an individual. And remember, your employer’s coverage is not going to cover you if you are practicing outside your employer’s domain. So, if you if plan to work on family and friends, make sure they are coming to see you at your place of business.
Am I covered if my client sues me INDIVIDUALLY?
An employer’s insurance policy protects the business and its owner in the event they are sued. If you are also named by your client in a lawsuit, and the employer’s policy doesn’t explicitly provide coverage for you, the individual therapist, you stand a chance of losing your personal assets, such as your house, your car, and/or your savings.
If you plan on being covered under your employer’s insurance, take a good look at their policy, and ask some of these follow-up questions.
Does the employer’s policy cover every treatment you’re performing?
Many traditional insurance companies don’t understand esthetics. At least not like ASCP does. Many of them will not cover eyelash extensions. Some don’t cover Brazilian waxing. Some won’t even cover chemical peels. You might end up doing a service several times a day and not be covered. And this isn’t something you want to find out after an incident has occurred. Confirm that all services you perform are included in your employer’s policy.
Is the employer’s policy current? Do they renew the policy on time?
Bills can get lost in the mail, we can lose track of time . . . a lot can happen—we’re human and we’re busy people. But if your employer doesn’t renew the policy on time and you end up injuring a client during that period lapse, you won’t be covered. Obtaining your own policy is the best way to ensure you are covered.
Are you covered everywhere you work?
If you do any work outside that place of business, your employer is not going to cover you. They will only cover you for incidents that happen while you’re working under their roof, for them. ASCP membership and insurance will follow you wherever you work, no matter how many settings.