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Product Liability: Are You Covered?

By Patty Schmucker
Posted: May 23, 2008, from the July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 5

Having now received this sobering information, don’t let it scare you away from exploring the value of developing your own brand of products. Instead, build a plan to protect your clients and your business. Your first line of defense is to be informed. Ask the other vendors in your supply chain if they have product liability insurance. Keep your staff well-trained on products used in services and make sure manufacturers’ instructions are understood and followed. If you are a manufacturer, be informed on how your product is made and handled from the time it is created until it reaches your clients.

Next, build trust with your clients so they feel loyal to you. You can develop loyalty with clients by establishing programs that provide regular feedback from them. This way you can hear about any less-than-satisfactory experiences before they fester into immense problems. Create a plan to conduct regular surveys and, when possible, talk to every client who comes into the spa. If this isn’t possible, create a position for an employee in your business that has this responsibility along with the skills needed to draw out clients’ feelings and impressions of your spa’s service, staff and products. One of the best ways to build loyalty for your business is to engage clients in special events where they can interact with more than one member of your staff.

Finally, know what to do if you are named in a product liability claim. Begin by engaging your staff. Gather and write down all the facts about an incident before you speak to anyone outside of your business about it. Contact your attorney when you have all the details in order to review the claim and the information you have gathered. If you don’t have an attorney, build a relationship with one before you need it so you know who to call when a potential problem arises. Contact your product liability insurance carrier after you and your attorney have assessed the claim. Then together, and with the knowledge from your staff and the advice of your attorney and insurance provider, create a plan and follow it. The best defense is always a strong offense.

Insurance Ideas

The following is a listing of some of the insurance companies that handle business for the beauty, spa and skin care industries.

    Aon Affinity Commercial Services in Hatboro, Pennsylvania; 877-738-6993
    Alternative Balance—Salon & Spa Association in Hillsboro, New Hampshire; 800-915-6618 or 603-529-7823,
    Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) and Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) in Evergreen, Colorado; 800-458-2267, or 800-789-0411,
    Brownyard Group, Hairdressers Agency, in Bay Shore, New York; 800-645-5820
    Frenkel & Co., Inc., Cosmetic Insurance Services (CIS), in Jersey City, New Jersey; 800-373-6535 or 201-356-0057,
    Marine Agency Corporation in Maplewood, New Jersey; 800-763-4775 or  973-763-4711,