It was a customer’s worst nightmare. Shortly after getting ink done at a shop in Halifax, Lisa O’Quinn noticed little bumps cropping up on her skin. Then, she noticed swelling and abnormally intense pain. When she went to her doctor, he told her that had she waited it out, they might have needed to amputate. The likely culprit: an infection passed through improperly sanitized tools.
Thankfully, stories like Lisa’s as covered by CBC News* are not common – the tattoo industry is now regulated in Nova Scotia as recently as January 2019. Even so, tattoo lawsuits are still making headlines and show the risks involved in the rapidly growing industry of tattoos and body piercings.
Canada is among the top tattooed countries in the world, according to Dalia Research, with one third of Canadians reporting at least one tattoo. The 2018 study also showed the most inked demographics are older Millennials (people in their thirties) and that, contrary to stereotypes, more women (36%) than men (29%) have tattoos. The tattoo and tattoo removal industry, which includes body piercings, is already a booming $3 billion industry in the U.S. and market researchers project steady growth (10% for tattoo parlors, according to Marketdata analysts) over the next five years.
SWG’s Insurance Policies Eliminate Most Risks
No two shops are the same, and so businesses in this industry need brokers who can offer proper foresight and individualized coverage to match their unique needs. SWG Insurance provides three types of insurance protect the shop, its contents, individual artists, independent contractors, shop practitioners, and guest artists. This means that everyone and everything in the shop is covered.
1. General liability
- Bodily Injury or Property Damage (E.g. Slip & Fall incident)
- Premises Liability
2. Professional liability
- Infected tattoos or piercings (due to improper sterilization techniques, parlor not following proper health and safety practices)
- Malpractice – making a mistake while inking a customer (incorrect tattoos, bad tattoos)
- Coverage for guest artists, independent contractors, and outside work (e.g. work done at a tattoo event)
- Communicable disease coverage with sublimit $50,000 (extended coverage due to the transmission of a communicable disease by the insured)
3. Property Coverage
- Broad form property coverage to cover contents, equipment & stocks
- Earthquake, flood, SBU included
- Business interruption & Crime coverage are available and also optional
The SWG Advantage
SWG holds a track record in protecting tattoo and body piercing parlours from being sued. At the beginning of the underwriting process, SWG has the insured provide a copy of its waiver and aftercare form – documents that customers are required to read and sign before the tattooing or piercing process begins. As long as the insured follows its safety policies and has its clients sign the waivers, our policy can protect the parlour against claims and potentially thousands of dollars in settlements. Most at-fault claims to come through SWG are either dropped or found to be without merit.