We’re breaking down health insurance coverage for salons to ensure you and your employees have what you need when you need it.
When you’re in good health, insurance is the last thing you think about. But as anyone who doesn’t have insurance coverage knows, when you are in need of a prescription or medical services, having a good health care plan can be a real-life money saver. In fact, insurance providers like Manulife recommend a Flexcare package as a practical and affordable health insurance option, especially for anyone with young children who may have additional health care needs.
“For salons, health benefits help retain better hairstylists, as highly sought after hairstylists may be less likely to leave if they know they will lose health insurance,” says Mark Johns, vice-president of international and employee benefits at Special Risk Insurance Managers Ltd., a Toronto-based company that coordinates insurance programs for salons and spas. We spoke with the number crunchers and found out that it’s not quite the expense you might have thought, and it could save you big.
Sourcing Prices for Health Insurance Coverage for Salons
Although insurance plans come at a cost to salon owners, you don’t need to offer an extensive plan to a new hire. In order to help you keep your costs in check, Johns recommends offering a starter health plan for new team members that’s still comprehensive, with medical, dental and prescription drug coverage. Depending on their length of employment with your salon, you can upgrade your employees’ benefit plan incrementally, which can also help keep the claim rates from getting out of control. In addition, Johns suggests co-insurance, where you cover 80 per cent of the cost and the employee covers the remaining 20 percent, as an additional way to keep insurance costs within budget.
Consider Your Required Flexibility When Choosing a Health Plan
Flexibility is an essential characteristic for hairstylists when dealing with clients. As a salon owner, you know that every staff member contributes differently to the team. For hairstylists who work as freelancers, companies like Manulife offer portable coverage that travels with you wherever your career takes you. Offering health insurance that is the same for every member of your team not only costs more but also doesn’t help anyone, least of all the employee. Rather than offering one plan, consider asking new hires about the type of health coverage they consider a priority. Dental may be key for some, while others may require prescription drug coverage, or both. In addition, check in with existing staff on an annual basis to assess if their health insurance needs have changed.
Consider Your Benefits Package a Way to Boost Recruitment
Even with salons with smaller staff, offering health benefits is an added way to show that you’re investing in your staff, and that can go a long way towards increasing productivity. As Johns suggests, offering an employee benefit program is not only a great recruitment tool but it can also help you retain valuable employees. On the flip side, “For stylists, having medical expenses covered and including some conditions that are unique to their line of work is a great value,” says Johns. By offering health insurance, you’re really getting reassurance that hairstylists in your salon will be better able to offer additional time that’s needed for their clients, which translates to added dollars for your business.
Quick Insurance Checklist for Salon Business Coverage
For salon owners and hairstylists, commercial general liability insurance helps keep your business in good health. We asked Michael Hill, an underwriting specialist at Northbridge Financial Corporation in Toronto, for a checklist of what you need to know before you commit to a plan.
- Consider the Damage: Hill recommends that salon owners pay careful attention to the property in and outside the salon, such as uneven pavement on a walkway, which can impact your insurance costs.
- Retail Products and Allergic Reactions: With product retailing being a big part of the business, Hill says that underwriters also need to know the type of products to protect hairstylists and the salon if clients experience allergic reactions.
- Sterilization Measures: For salons and barbershops, underwriters need to have assurance that proper sterilization measures are in place, to provide the appropriate coverage. “Knowing the right training is in place for the staff when handling these procedures also provides added assurance for the underwriter,” says Hill.
What Isn’t Covered?
“Most professional liability extensions have exclusions to try to keep a handle on the exposures,” says Hill. “Additional coverage is usually required for services that may result in bodily injury or damage, such as hair colour or hair straightening.”