MediSpa and Wellness Center Professional Liability Policies

January 09, 2016

The Doctors’ Insurance Agency provides comprehensive MediSpa and Wellness Center Professional Liability Policies to protect the corporation (or LLC) and the owners, directors, non-practicing employees and any and all providers working under the auspices of the organization.

This is a growing industry:

Wellness is about making healthy lifestyle choices and maintaining one’s well-being both physically and mentally. The Centers that we see are combining procedures such as colon cleansing with chiropractic, nutritional counseling with physical therapy, family practice with holistic lifestyle psychological counseling. In recent years, more people around the world have begun to recognize the importance of wellness – a trend which has seen the value of the industry increase year-on-year. In 2013, the market size of the global wellness industry amounted to more than 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars.

The Doctors’ Insurance Agency has worked closely with knowledgeable underwriters to promote and place affordable professional liability insurance for the medical directors who are working with (even taking an ownership interest in) these wellness centers. Our policies cover the independent estheticians, the PA’s, NP’s and other paramedical providers. The various segments of the wellness spa centers making up this industry are diverse and include, among others, healthy eating and weight loss, fitness, alternative medicine and the spa industry.

Wellness Center, mediSpa, holistic health care organization professional liability policy

These policies can be written as a ‘whole’ policy covering the business together with the practitioners, or the independent practitioners as contractors bringing their own policies to the business (with the added flexibility of allowing them to work at more than one location.

Adding the Medical Director to the Wellness Center adds Liability

When these centers bring on a medical doctor to work as director of care, the centers enter a new realm. The presence of a medical doctor brings a heightened risk to the center’s inclusion in a claim of negligence, a demand for damages. And, this industry is growing so fast, like all medical specialties where the care demand is great and consistent, the patient care is, not yet perfected as technology and procedures outpaces safety and training. The result, although not life threatening often in the spa/wellness industry, there are injuries, real setbacks in health and wellness due to contraindications or burns from lasers, peels, waxing and even problems from massage.

Included in the Professional Liability Insurance or needing to purchase your own?

The beauty and anti-aging segment is growing the fastest, making up about a third of the growth in this segment. There are some occasions, when you don’t need to purchase a separate Esthetician’s Liability Insurance. and, of course…there are times when you can’t poke and burn (as one Esthetician puts it) without ensuring your own policy is in force.

Why are there so many “MediSpa" Professional Liability Policies and who, when, why should I purchase one?

According to the Associated Skin Care Professionals, claims can and do happen to even the best, most experienced well trained Estheticians:

Claims that are mentioned on the association website are as follows:

  • A lamp fell and injured a client's eye.
  • A facial steamer malfunctioned resulting in a badly burned patient needing surgery. claim against the Esthetician for $32,500.
  • A client had an allergic reaction causing hospitalization: The esthetician was held liable for $145,000 in damages.
  • Waxing is the most common source of injury claims, mostly from burns and lifting skin. Stitches were needed after a Brazilian waxing went wrong. The resulting lawsuit cost $62,500.
  • A glycolic facial caused severe scabbing and scarring.
  • A seaweed wrap causing allergic reaction…

Regardless of the nature of the claim, if you are the Medical Director, or if you are operating the laser and injecting the fillers, you may be at risk, because your medical malpractice insurance company could possibly exclude the work that you’re doing in the Spa (not as likely if you’re a Plastic or Dermatologist (or E.N.T.) If you’re an Esthetician, you are the technician, you need to be specifically named in the policy, scheduled: for the specific services performed in order to make sure you are properly covered.

For example, if you apply a peel and the client has unexpected and immediate sun exposure, the peel causes painful and unattractive skin burns. The client sues the esthetician. Professional liability insurance protects you if such a claim is made.

Since we began our business in the insurance industry as a captive agency for The Doctors’ Company providing only medical malpractice for Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists, (and other specialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties), we did not have the luxury of a developed market for independent Esthetician’s . All of our Cosmetic Nurses providing facials, peels, hair removal and injections had to be covered on the policy (as employees of the Derms and Plastics with whom they worked.)

As the technology was developed to offer Cosmetic procedures without surgery, as Botox and injectables, Restalyn and other fillers hit the market, thousands, and thousands of people sought out these affordable procedures.

From only One Solution for Cosmetic Estheticians and Registered Nurses needing Professional Liability Insurance to….many

Now, we have more than one insurance carrier to whom we can refer these applicants.

We’re seeing (especially in Texas, Florida, New York and California) Estheticians partnering with Physicians, Licensed Acupuncturists and Nutritionists to open Wellness, Lifestyle Centers. These Centers often work with a Medical Doctor to act as the Medical Director. The treatment rooms and patient waiting areas, are designed to protect the needed privacy and the offices and hallways are build using open architecture to encourage collaboration between the medical director and the practitioners….(vertical Articulation) between the Medical Director, Psychologists, Nutritionists, Acupuncturists and any other practitioner working together to bring these services to the patients.

Integrative health Centers Professional Liability Insurance

We have a client who specializes in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage and Colon Cleansing (hydrotherapy). Recently, in order to take advantage of the insurance contracts so that the center can accept payment for these services under the payer’s benefits conditions, they hired an M.D. to work as Medical Director The center now has to expand its professional liability policy to include a broadly written policy including all providers who need insurance under the center’s policy. Adding a Midlevel or licensed Aesthetician, L.Ac, D.C., M.D. or other certificated practitioner is easy and not that expensive.

The insurance markets have responded to this growing need for flexibility and protection.

We are happy to be working closely with more than one Association to provide discounted professional liability insurance to these allied health care workers providing care and treatment in this industry. Over the years, our agency has developed a specialization in these products.