Hello everyone! Today I am tackling that question that I see asked nearly every single day (ok not quite, but a lot!) about INSURANCE! I sent out the following email to various companies in the hope that they might be able to help.
I was wondering if you would be able to put together an email or a chart for me detailing PLI insurance cover for face painting, Special Effects, Makeup, and hair styling, separately and together, with details of cost at each tier of coverage, and any limitations to the environment at which you will cover someone, plus information about insurance cover for tools and equipment used on the job. Can you please also let me know your policy on UV face painting and wether this is covered under Face painting insurance or wether you would need to be insured for special effects, what your policy on repotting face paints is, and what information you need from people to insure them, if you have a minimum amount of experience or if you require a specific qualification?
The only companies that replied were Hencilla Canworth and Blackfriars, so I have focussed this blog post on Hencilla Canworth, Blackfriars and Salon Gold (who I didn’t email because they have such a simple online process). If you are a member of FACE then I believe you will be with Rees Astley as per their regulations so I haven’t talked about Rees Astley here. I did email them to see if they would take insurance from non-members of FACE but they didn’t reply.
Hencilla Canworth, BECTU
Before I began this process, I was with Hencilla Canworth via BECTU. I was insured to do ‘Any activity related to the members employment within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events’ for £38 a year which gave me £10m cover as long as I was a member of Bectu, which costs £11.25 a month. This was what was recommended to us when I was training, so I went with them and never thought twice. However when I sent them the above email I was HORRIFIED to discover that I had potentially not been covered for a lot of the work I have undertaken in the last 2 and a half years. This is the email I received from them
Good morning Mazz
The best option for your self it to join an organization called BECTU and take out their Public Liability (costs approx. £38) which will cover you for all of your work relating to theatre and entertainment industry and then we can provide a top up to this cover which will then cover you for any personal work you do away for these industries such as weddings etc.
Now, that’s completely my fault for not being pro-active about this beforehand, and I am VERY lucky that no-one has ever needed to make a claim against me. I actually decided to undertake the research into insurance because I don’t actually do very much film and tv work, so I wasn’t sure if being a member of BECTU was really worth it for me, but I have actually now left BECTU and therefore Hencilla Canworth in favour of another insurer.
Blackfriars were very easy to deal with. They even sent me a link to their policy on UV Face paint which I know has been a bit of an issue for people recently! I have included a link to their policy for all of you to see, as well as their reply to my email below.
Thank you for your email, we will cover all of the mentioned items under the one policy for the same cost regardless of how many of them you actually want to insure the premium will be £67.93 for £5M Public Liability and Treatment Liability for 1 person. The hairstyling will not cover any cutting, perming, dying etc purely for styling only.
The insurers do not require you to have any qualifications but would expect you to have whatever your Governing Body say you should have.
This was the first email I had back, so this definitely put things into perspective for me when I thought about how much I was paying for my insurance with BECTU! However, not being able to cut hair was an issue for me, and after a little more digging I discovered that they do not offer kit insurance at all. I also didn’t find their application form the easiest, but they were really easy to deal with over the phone and email.
I went through the Salon Gold form a few times to see if adding various services would change the policy price. The price didn’t change regardless of how many services I added (including the ability to cut hair!), it really came down to the level of cover I wanted and any add ons like kit insurance etc. For the sake of comparison for this post, I did not include any kit cover and kept the liability level to £5m (the same as Blackfriars), which came to £73.44, however if you only want £3m cover it was £60.
I didn't have to prove that I was qualified, however they do state that you are required to show your certificates in the event of a claim, and that by purchasing insurance, you are declaring that you are suitably qualified.
I found the website very helpful (I won’t even deal with a company if their website isn’t easy to use, I am going to do a blog post about websites in the near future) and if you hover your mouse over any section it tells you what is or isn’t included within that. They have a list of documents towards the end of the process detailing what services are included in the trades you have selected which is really helpful! Although not specifically listed on their makeup artist documents, they do cover SFX makeup too, (I phoned to double check), which is great, particularly for those of you who like to get involved at halloween.
Things you may need to check or think about when you are sorting your insurance
Period of insurance
Be careful on this one! A lot of insurance companies work April to April, so if you sign up in March, you will pay a full years fee, and it will expire in April when you have to pay another full years fee.
Level of Cover
With BECTU I automatically had £10m cover, however when I started looking at other companies, this really pushed the price up. The highest level of minimum cover I have ever been asked to make sure I have for public events is £5m, so that’s what I went for. It largely depends on the events you do, and obviously, the higher the level of cover you want the higher the insurance fee will be. Some companies offer cover from £1m, some start at £5m, so think about the types of events you want to do, and if you have any application forms hanging around, check how much cover they want you to have.
On the Salon Gold website when I hovered over the Public and products liability I discovered that I would be covered up to 14 days abroad except US and Canada. Before this, I didn’t even consider that working abroad could have the potential to invalidate my insurance! So if you are thinking about working abroad just double check what your insurance says about this, you may need to pay a little extra. After a quick chat with Blackfriars, when I asked this question they said it also depended on what happens with Brexit. I guess a lot of companies are going to be in the same position, so if you are planning on working abroad just get in touch with your insurer and double check where you are covered and how long for, and don’t forget to get travel insurance!
This is entirely up to you. We spend a lot of money on our kits, and if you have a craft-n-go, that’s not an insignificant amount of money to lose if something were to happen to it! Until now I didn’t have kit cover. I really wondered wether I wanted to pay the extra money when I was already paying quite a bit, but I now have a few big ticket items, not only for my face painting kit but for my hair and makeup kit too. For the sake of an extra £40 I now know I’m covered. I did actually have an incident about a year and a half ago, and I still didn’t get kit cover! I had been doing my makeup in the car on the way to London (my mum was driving don’t worry!) I use the same brushes on myself as when I’m on the job in one big brush belt, and I have a particular palette with all my essential eyeshadows etc magnetised to it. We left the car at Richmond Car Park and I left the makeup I had brought in a little tote bag apparently on view. Idiot. We got back to the car to see the hazard lights going off and the passenger window smashed in and my tote bag gone. I was absolutely devastated and in a total panic because I was supposed to be doing hair and makeup at a wedding fayre in a couple of days time. All of my brushes were in that bag, as well as some pretty key items. We had a quick look around the area in case whoever had take it had realised what was in there and dumped it, but couldn’t find anything. We reported it to the police but didn’t expect to hear back from them. About 10 minutes into our very cold journey home, we had a phone call saying they had recovered it!! I could not believe it! Apparantly they had been chasing someone on a moped earlier in the day and he threw the bag with my bits in it off onto the pavement, and do you know what? Out of the roughly 30 or so eyeshadows on that palette I only lost 2 due to breakage, and I only lost 3 makeup brushes. In case anyone was wondering, they didn’t catch the guy. He took off his helmet, and apparently they have to stop chasing when someone does this because health and safety. Also, my mum was pretty annoyed at me. I cost her a new window. But I don’t think kit insurance would cover that…
Just as a little note, Blackfriars do NOT insure kit and equipment.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on UV at the moment. Blackfriars made a very helpful document about this https://www.blackfriarsgroup.com/face-painting-uv-and-neon-paints/ and I am sure each insurer has their own policy.
So Who did I go with?
We all have different needs with our insurance. I ended up going for Salon Gold because it was the best decision for me and my business. They cover all the services I need insuring under one policy and my kit for less than my yearly BECTU membership, before the insurance on top of that!
I hope this has been useful to you and that I have answered any questions about insurance! If you still have questions, please pop a comment below or get in touch with me.
The Pixie Tribe