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Colour additives – are you covered?

From Olaplex to Colorphlex, the new colour additives entering the hair colour market promise big things, but making sure you and your salon is insured should anything go wrong with the end results is a bit of a minefield. We asked Gary Crowder, account director at Just Hair Insurance, to guide us through the tricky world of bonding additives and insurance…

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Creative HEAD: With all the new colour additives coming out, could you let us know if a salon’s insurance would cover this if anything went wrong with a client’s colour?

Gary Crowder: Mixing colour with an additive is a different ball game as market research has indicated that colour houses have confirmed that they would not be responsible and categorically will not support the final mixture. Unfortunately, the additive companies have yet to confirm their position and/or confirm that they own the mix in question. In view of this, insurers have confirmed that insurance protection will not be provided until such time that the additive company/s offer full disclosure of their testing, data sheets (for salon/freelancer’s COSHH) and ingredients, along with confirmation of ownership of the final mixture.

Clients must be able to ‘colour with Confidence’, however, if a product (final mix) remains unsupported there is no reassurance/recourse or safety net and this has a direct impact on the consumer. Insurers cannot be asked to provide an indemnity when the end product becomes a hybrid that at present nobody accepts responsibility.

CH: So at present, salons and freelancers are responsible?
GC: Colour houses have distanced themselves from this final mix and we remain in the dark with the third party companies, thus leaving the salons/freelancers in limbo. Until insurers have confirmation that the third party companies accept the final mix and that it is there guidelines/instructions to be followed including a clear skin test protocol with supporting info (for insurer approval), it will fall to the salon/freelancer as the responsible person. Should there be a reaction or injury, they and they alone would provide compensation personally without cover.

CH: Have you had any cases regarding bonding additives yet?
GC: No and that is a good thing, because if tested now the salon/freelancer would be financially liable and this would become another unhealthy statistic for insurance. It is common knowledge that insurance is portrayed as the villain when cover does not attach or operate as the hair sector would like. We work closely with Jack Howard  (social media ambassador on the fundraising committee for the Hair Council) and the Hair Council on awareness, fact, education and how this operates within the insurance domain. Jack has his concerns, his clients’ welfare and beyond to consumers in general in view of his role within the Hair Council.

CH: What actions have Just Hair and Jack taken so far?
GC: Jack and Just Hair have requested clarification and transparency from Olaplex when colour is mixed with their product. To date, we remain uninformed and thus unable to support the use and operation of an additive when used with colour. Once we have received a detailed response and any technical data, representations can be made to insurers to obtain approval. If approved, we can communicate to our clients that cover is there should it be required.

CH: What steps do you think can be taken to help salons make a decision regarding the use of bonding additives?
GC: Salons and freelancers need to be educated to ensure that they can make informed decisions. However when a new product is launched, it is extremely difficult to keep abreast of all developments hence the need for regulation to protect the industry and consumers alike.

CH: Do you think, in time, salons and freelancers will be able to get insurance for these bonding additives?
GC: We as insurance providers have a duty to provide peace of mind, inform and educate our clients in respect of their insurance arrangements. This subject matter is a hot potato but with cooperation and information, there is no reason why the mixed colour cannot be insured against. Insurers have made inroads and influenced colour treatments as has been demonstrated by Just Hair’s on-going input and contribution to the Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card in association with the NHF, the FHA and the CTPA. Working together can make a difference! The key words here are ‘working together’ to provide solutions that are workable and ultimately insured for.

Got an insurance query you’d like to discuss with Gary? You can email him on info@just-hair-insurance.co.uk