Sunday, September 22, 2013

Insurance for Henna Artists?

Sorry for being super MIA these days. A lot going on on the home front. I finally got in my inbox and had some awesome emails and topics to cover. One topic I get questions on a lot is insurance and liability. I'm not a professional when it comes to law (laws will vary from state/state, country/country), so I always advise to consult a professional.

Henna as a body art is currently not regulated in the USA. It is not a requirement to have any sort of licensing or certificate to get out there and sling mud. There are mixed views on the topic. I'm of the opinion that it should be regulated, but not to point that it becomes expensive for those who have years of experience, and not to the degree of an esthetician.

So...on with the topic. I received the following email from a subscriber and below you can read both the email and my response. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below if you agree, disagree, or have questions of your own.

My name is Ann Marie and I came across your blog while looking for the answer to a question, but checking out your blog, I think it was your video that showed me how to first make my own henna, so thank you for that!  I have been henna-ing for friends and small family/friends' parties for about six years, and I recently received an offer to henna at a local beach-bar. (I never actively pursued henna-ing for money because I am a teacher, I have a main income and I just love the art, not necessarily the money).  However, my reservation with doing henna for a public venue with strangers is that I am afraid of being sued if someone had a freak allergic reaction and blamed my for it.  

I know that a reaction to henna is rare, I myself have never seen one in anyone I have hennaed because I only use lemon, sugar, tea-tree oil and henna (rajasthani twilight).  However, I want to make sure I am covered.  Do you have any recommendations/advice to avoid such an incident or put my mind at ease?  I made a waiver that clients could sign, but would that be legally binding and fully protect me?

Thank you for any advice you might have, and thank you for your beautiful art!

and my response...

Hello Ann,

Great questions and I'll probably turn this into a blog post. Thank you for watching the videos, I'm glad they could be of benefit. 

The first thing is ensuring that your henna paste mixture is natural and free from added chemicals, and it sounds like you have that covered. Some people are sensitive to essential oils, but very few. If there's any reaction it would most likely be from oils if at all. Tea tree is a safe oil to go with. 

Now, as far as liability you would be responsible if anything should happen to one of your customers. There are two ways you can cover yourself.
1. Insurance 
2. A waiver

Insurance can be a tricky one because henna isn't regulated at the moment, and so it's hard to group us under cosmetology because we aren't regulated under that umbrella. It is still possible to get insurance though and it runs about $35-$40/month with your well known insurance companies. There is a company that insures clowns, henna artists, face painters, and entertainers
If you don't plan to make henna a regular thing I wouldn't recommend going this route, insurance is expensive and will eat into your profits. 

The waiver is a good way to go, but you'll find that potential customers might hesitate. A waiver will not fully cover you and you could still be sued if someone should decide to do so. Children and teens cannot sign legal documents and you'll find many of them approaching your booth alone for henna. 

I've hennaed for 10+ years and only carried insurance part of the time. I've never been sued or threatened with a lawsuit. I always start with a customer by asking if they've every had henna before and if they have any sensitivities to the ingredients in my henna paste, if not I proceed. I henna children that are 8 or older and never henna children without their parents present and fully aware of what's going on. I'm sure you'll be fine and you might check to see if the event planners/organizers have insurance for the event and if you'd be covered under it. If you find yourself doing 10 or more events per year I'd recommend insurance, if not just have a waiver in your booth/table and make ingredients available to your customers should they ask. 

I hope this helps and if you have any additional questions please feel free to ask. 

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