Are You Compliant with your Insurance requirements or Complacent about them? Will you fall foul of not having your insurance claim paid, just because you didn’t do what your policy required you to do?
Your Balens BABTAC insurance policy is a legal contract with standard terms and conditions, plus specific exclusions (i.e. things that you can’t do) which if not complied with, could mean that you could personally become liable for the costs of any claim made against you. We know from experience how much stress members have been under when they have failed to follow the simple rules. A little awareness will go a long way so it is vital that you make yourself aware of these, for full protection and peace of mind!
Your BABTAC Best Practice Guide does cover most of the key points that you need to be aware of and we do urge you to study it in detail. We believe that the Guide is a really useful referral document, not only for the do’s and don’ts in Insurance, but also your daily practice. However, at Balens we have regularly been in the awkward and unwelcome position of having to advise therapists that they have unwittingly invalidated their cover by not complying with their policy Terms and Conditions. In short, they have fallen into these non-compliant TRAPS.
How can you avoid the non-compliant TRAPS?
Always follow your training protocols and manufacturers’ product guidelines, keeping up to date with new products and procedures. This is fundamental to your professionalism as a Beauty Therapist, and supports your legal Duty of Care to your clients. As a professional, you are considered to be the person in law who knows what should and perhaps more importantly should not be done in relation to the treatments you perform.
Keep informative records of all treatments you perform. Your records are your first line of defence in any claims situation and are therefore essential for the Insurer. Records must be kept for a period of at least 7 years to cover the period where a claim may arise, there are sample record cards that can be found on the members section of the BABTAC website, which note all details that need to be taken. Please note: If you are treating a minor, they have a right to bring a claim (depending on the type) for up to 6 years after they turn 18, and thus the record should be kept to cover this.
Avoid stains and unnecessary damage
Ensure you put down a non-permeable membrane when working with products that may cause staining or other damage to clients’ property. This is particularly relevant for mobile therapists who are working in a client’s own home.
Ensure you carry out a patch test for treatments that require it at least 24 hours in advance, no matter what the client may say to the contrary. It can sometimes seem tempting to submit if a client is demanding that they wish to have a treatment there and then, and they will sign anything to waive their rights, but the law is very clear that a qualified professional has the responsibility and Duty of Care. Any waiver that the client signs will not remove their right to make a claim, should there be an adverse outcome arising from the treatment. The patch test is as very much to protect you, as well as your client.
Speak to Balens
If you find yourself in a potential claim/complaint situation, please contact Balens in the first instance, to allow our Claims team to help you deal with it. Whilst it may be fine to offer a refund of treatment fee as a ‘gesture of good will’ to a dissatisfied customer, care needs to be taken that you do not in any way admit liability, as this will automatically remove your insurer’s ability to defend you in the event of a claim. Balens Claims Team are there to help. They have many years’ experience in assisting clients with difficult situations and you should be guided by them in such situations to minimise the risk later on.
Whilst you will never be able to protect yourself fully from a client making a complaint or claims against you, you can at least ensure that if you avoid the non-compliant TRAPS your insurance policy will be there to defend you, giving you a safety net, and ensuring that you personally won’t become liable for the costs of that claim.
The BABTAC Best Practice Guide and full insurance policy wording are both available on the Members section of the website – www.babtac.co.uk.
By David Balen, Managing Director, Balens Specialist Insurance Brokers