Getting it right is everything in the world of aesthetics and cosmetic procedures. From the initial client consultation through allergy testing to the treatment itself, everything needs to follow a well-rehearsed plan.
Because the stakes are high when it comes to people’s faces and bodies. And an allergic reaction, an infection, or a procedure that doesn’t go as expected can spell serious trouble. Not just for your client, but for you, too.
That’s why medical malpractice insurance is a friend in need for aestheticians and cosmetic practitioners. It’s there in case your well-rehearsed plan goes out the window, and there’s a claim against you.
Needless to say, a claim that you caused someone physical suffering, disfigurement or worse can be for £hundreds of thousands. So, you really wouldn’t want to be told your aesthetics insurance claim has been turned down at such a crucial time.
That’s the stuff of nightmares. But it’s a nightmare that could become a frightening reality if you haven’t read your policy wording carefully and met all its conditions. And if you haven’t stuck to that well-rehearsed plan we mentioned earlier.
Playing by the rules
The thing is, if you stray beyond your cover’s Ts and Cs, or don’t follow proper procedures, it could mean your claim is kicked into touch. Because insurers have every right to refuse aesthetics insurance claims that fall outside their policy wording.
That makes it essential to know exactly what you’re signing up for when you buy medical malpractice insurance. You need to know what is and isn’t covered by a policy. Also, what’s expected of you, as your part of the bargain.
Wordings can differ from policy to policy. But here are some of the things insurers commonly expect, and which you can get wrong. The kind of things with the potential to trip you up should you ever have to make a claim.
The dos of getting your aesthetics insurance claim paid
When you take out a policy, your insurer will want to know what kind of treatments you’re performing. Generally, you’ll only be covered for the ones you tell them about.
If you add any others into the mix, you need to let your broker or insurer know – before you start offering them.
Training & registration
Most aesthetics insurance policies define minimum levels of training and experience for carrying out different treatments. So, you’ll need to make sure you make the grade.
Medically qualified practitioners must also ensure their registration is up to date with their relevant governing body.
Talking to clients, gathering the right information, and figuring out whether they’re a good fit for a procedure is key. As is managing their expectations.
Of course, you’ll need to explain exactly what’s involved in a treatment, the risks, any alternatives, and what happens afterwards.
You’ll also need to discuss your client’s medical history, any medication they’re taking, any allergies, and crucially, the results they’re looking for.
Failing to explain everything to clients can lead to trouble. But how do you prove you spelt it all out clearly and did the proper checks? Which brings us to….
A good consent form can be worth its weight in gold when defending an aesthetics claim. If everything’s set out in back and white, and signed by your client, it’s essential proof that they knew what to expect.
But it must be a detailed form, and it should cover all the ground mentioned above. It must include an exact explanation of the procedure and give warning of any possible side effects.
It should also record your client’s answers to relevant questions about their medical and previous treatment history.
Insurers will expect you to carry out a patch test for certain treatments. Not having done so can invalidate a claim if there’s a subsequent problem.
If a client refuses a patch test on the grounds that they’ve had the same treatment previously, then they must sign a waiver form to acknowledge this.
The camera never lies. That’s why it’s essential to take before and after photos when a client undergoes a procedure.
Those images can provide essential evidence if a client makes a claim of disappointing results.
Recording everything you do and discuss in meticulous detail in your client’s file is vital to your chances of getting your aesthetics insurance claim paid. Again, it’s material your insurer can make use of in your defence if there’s a claim.
You should include as much information as possible, down to the time of treatment, products used, exact amounts injected for fillers, and precise settings on machines.
Your policy wording may even state for how long you should retain records, since claims can emerge long after a procedure was carried out. Some may say five years, others ten.
Equipment and products
It goes without saying that you’re expected to use high-quality equipment and products, and to keep them properly maintained and sterilised.
Not being able to demonstrate this can, in some cases, jeopardise a claim.
Your duty of care doesn’t finish as soon as your client is out of sight. They shouldn’t be out of mind too.
Giving them the right advice on what to expect in the days following a treatment, as well as any specific care needed, is essential. That information should be given in written rather than verbal form, as a continual reference.
If a problem emerges, it can help prove you weren’t negligent in your client’s aftercare.
Following the right procedures and keeping detailed records can help hugely if you ever find yourself on the wrong end of an aesthetics insurance claim. They can help prove that you played by the book and did everything possible to secure a good outcome for your client.
Also, be sure to keep your broker or insurer in the know. You need to tell them as soon as you’re aware of a potential problem. It’s important never to admit liability or get your own solicitor involved. Neither should you reveal details of your insurance or start negotiating with a complaining client without your insurer’s say-so.
At the end of the day, the devil’s in the detail when it comes to policy wordings. Aesthetics insurance is a two-way thing. And you need to make sure you know exactly what your insurer expects of you before they’ll weigh in on your behalf.
You keep your end of the bargain, and they’ll keep theirs. But failing to read your wording properly and falling short of the terms set out can make for a very expensive mistake.
For help with aesthetics insurance go here or call the team on 0345 222 5391.
Image used under license from Shutterstock.