In the Know: David Balen

What do I need to think about when choosing spa insurance? 
Insurance can be seen to be at best an inconvenience and at worst a necessary evil, but it is really an indispensable support system that protects you and your business from financial harm and possible extinction. 

Two problem areas that perennially crop up are: 

  1. Claims being declined due to failure to inform insurers about any changes that have taken place since you originally signed up for the cover, such as additional therapies or different types of business or premises 
  2. Claims declined or dramatically reduced because of underinsuring and the insurer not getting the right premium for the risk involved. Make sure you always get the correct insurance cover, and change your cover when adding new equipment or stock

Protecting the person and the business:
Good protection should consist of public liability, malpractice for treatments and advice, breach of confidentiality, financial loss, criminal and tax defence, loss of reputation and products liability cover. For the latter, you should be covered both when it comes to using products on clients in sessions, and for retailing – in case of injury from their use. 
If you have a multi therapist environment you will need cover for the company name, should someone decides to make a claim against the business, rather than the therapist. Don’t be lulled into false sense of security, however. Even if therapists are individually insured, you may still need your own cover. 

You should also consider covering your staff people for accidents, illness or death. Think about protecting your business with partnership or shareholders agreements and look after your staff with group benefits. Pension schemes, health insurance and group life cover all fits into this category.


Protecting the premises: 

You will need cover for your contents and stock, and buildings cover if you own the premises, for theft and for water, storm, fire and other types of damage. Consideration should be given to any mobile equipment; cover is also required for items that are away from the premises such as laptops and mobile devices. Check out the exclusions and conditions in your insurance policy, cover may be limited.

If you are renting premises and you choose to make improvements, redecorating, for example, these should also be included in your business contents insurance, as they are your responsibility to insure, not your landlord’s. Check your rental agreement with regards to any other areas you will be responsible for.

But remember:
Insurance alone is not enough. You also need to ensure your skills and competence continues to evolve to offer the best possible client care. And, most importantly, learn good communication skills, a professional attitude, and how to deal with dissatisfaction issues in a way that prevents small problems becoming large ones. Risk management is essential for a harmonious business.

David Balen is managing director of Balens, one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms for health and wellbeing professionals in the UK, and a third generation family business. A trustee of three charities, he regularly lectures and writes journal articles.