Tips for Tats: Total Coverage for Tattoo Shops

Aug 2017

Tattooing and body piercing is a rapidly developing industry. A Market Data Enterprises report states that it grew at 9.5% in 2014 and is expected to continue growing at an accelerated rate in the coming years. As the market matures, tattoo shops have come to realize that they need not take unnecessary risks when liability insurance is available to help protect them from disgruntled clients. While the tattoo and body piercing industry might appear to be a high-risk industry, South Western Insurance Group Limited has proven that its insurance policies can eliminate most risks. In order for tattoo parlours and body piercing shops to be properly covered, they should carry three types of coverage:

  • General liability
  • Professional liability
  • Communicable disease

“Together, these three types of insurance protect the shop, its contents, individual artists, independent contractors, shop practitioners, and guest artists. Everyone and everything in the shop is covered,” says Joyce Jiang, South Western Insurance Group Limited underwriter. How does SWG work to protect its clients? “As part of the underwriting process, SWG has the insured provide a copy of its waiver and aftercare form. These are the kind of documents that tattoo and body piercing artists will give to their customers to read and sign before the process begins. These protect the parlours from being sued. If the insured follows its safety policies and has its clients sign the waivers, the insurance company protects the parlour against claims and generally, no settlements are paid,” says Jiang. Because of SWG’s tried-and-true process, we have seen very few at-fault claims. “Most of the claims that were filed were dropped or were found to be without merit. Our insurer automatically defends the insured on their behalf. Coverage provides for all the legal expenses involved, which can add up,” continues Jiang. “Legal costs can range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per case depending on the length of the process and how big the issue is.” To ensure that insurance coverage is comprehensive, “Property coverage, which is common for any store or shop, is also needed,” says Jiang. “Tattoo and body piercing parlors have thousands of dollars of equipment. Dyes, inks, needles – all of these costs begin to add up.” Fortunately, “the only property claim that has come through was for a few thousand dollars,” adds Josée Toupin, another South Western Insurance Group Limited underwriter. Since no two shops are the same, each insurance policy should be designed specifically for the needs of the individual business. If generic general liability and professional liability policies don’t cover exactly what is needed, Jiang recommends that parlour owners speak with their broker. The broker can speak with South Western Insurance Group Limited underwriters to ensure specific needs are met. With proper foresight, making sure that your business is adequately protected is not difficult. In such a rapidly growing and changing industry, where the number of tattoo parlours has more than doubled in the last five years, protecting your investment and livelihood is just plain smart. With South Western Insurance Group Limited, these small businesses can rest easy knowing that their best interests are being looked after.