Tanning salons have become very diverse operations. In order to attract more customers and increase revenue, many owners have introduced spa and beauty services such as massage, hairstyling, nails, waxing and makeup. Likewise, many beauty salons have added tanning services. It’s a natural “look good/feel good” mix; creates one-stop shopping, so to speak.
Because insurance is such fun (wink, wink) most salon operators would prefer to place all types of coverage on a single policy rather than separating them. This presents the challenge of making sure you have appropriate coverage for services provided by people who are on your staff, as well as those who are contracted independently. Simply indicating that you provide a service does not ensure that both types of operators will be protected under your policy. An independent contractor is not considered an employee and would not be defined as covered under many General Liability and Professional policies.
This does not mean you shouldn’t carry coverage for services provided by independent contractors. Salon guests don’t differentiate between an employee and someone renting space from you – the name of the salon is the one they remember. Chances are that if a guest alleges an injury at your facility, they will pursue your business first, and then the person who provided the service. If you purchase coverage for these services, your policy will provide defense for your salon, but not for the independent contractor. The service provider would be required to have their own insurance. Therefore, every owner must insist that any independent contractors (or “chair renters”) provide proof of coverage before they are allowed to work in your salon.
All staff members are considered “insured” under most policies if a covered loss occurs as a result of acts performed in the scope of their employment. So they would be protected under your policy and would not need to be covered by a separate policy; however, this does not mean they would be covered for any service they perform at your salon. If it is not within the scope of their employment, they would not be defendable. As the salon owner, you would be protected, but not necessarily covered for any awards. An example (which we’ve seen) is an employee who “peeps” at a salon guest while they are in a tanning room – this certainly wouldn’t be considered part of your staff’s job. However, the business would probably be named in any legal action because they, allegedly, should have provided better staff supervision or background checks. This same situation could be applied to an independent contractor.
Salon staff and independent contractors are also viewed differently when it comes to Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Comp is strictly for those on your payroll; independent contractors, whether providing services under your salon name or doing other work in your facility (such as painting, cleaning, etc.), are not covered. Depending on the circumstances of an injury suffered by an independent contractor while in your salon, they might be able to make a claim against your General Liability policy. Again, make sure any independent contractor you hire provides proof of the appropriate coverage: General Liability, Professional Liability and Workers’ Compensation.
The ultimate goal of insurance is to make sure that you, as a business owner, are properly protected. Always be sure to speak frankly with your specialized insurance agent and let them know about everything going on in your salon. It’s better to have the discussion before a claim occurs rather than after.
Jenny is Vice President of Universal Insurance Programs, based in Phoenix, AZ. She works with new and existing salon owners to determine and provide insurance coverage for their unique business models. Contact Jenny with any questions regarding your insurance at 800.844.2101 x1480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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