Insurance cover for beauty parlours aims to improve service after bad year for complaints in sector

Customs and Excise Department received 411 reports against industry over suspected unfair trade practices in first 10 months of the year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 11:00pm

A beauty industry group has made a deal with an insurance company to provide coverage for small and medium-sized beauty parlours as long as they are properly accredited.

The insurance scheme, initiated by the Hong Kong Beauty Industry Union, aims to improve the service quality of the sector. A beauty merchant accreditation scheme, together with a mediation service, was also launched by the union.

The Customs and Excise Department received 411 reports against the beauty services industry over suspected unfair trade practices in the first 10 months of the year.

“There has not been any insurance scheme for beauty parlours before. With this scheme, consumers’ rights would be protected if they got injured during a procedure,” said Joyce Tsang Yue, founding chairwoman of the union.

The union currently has 2,000 to 3,000 members, who are all beauty sector practitioners.

The insurance plan, provided by Chubb, targets beauty parlours that earn less than HK$50 million a year. Premiums paid by participating parlours range from around HK$10,000 to HK$50,000, depending on insured amount. Under the plan, participating parlours are insured for at least HK$3 million.

“This scheme has included most beauty procedures in the sector … it could also be topped up if medical procedures such as Botox injections are involved,” said Agnes Koon Woo Kam-oi, an insurance broker and chairwoman of the Insurance Training Board of Vocational Training Council. Koon helped the union develop the insurance scheme.

She explained that it was difficult for individual beauty parlours to purchase insurance to cover their liabilities in the past, as they were not properly regulated.

Under the latest scheme, parlours had to be accredited as quality beauty merchants by the union before purchasing the insurance.

Tsang believed the accreditation would be objective as it would be assessed by the Hong Kong Productivity Council, which would look into areas such as devices, services and management of beauty parlours.

So far three parlours have applied for the accreditation scheme. Tsang hoped the first title of quality beauty merchant could be issued in January at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the union has also joined hands with the Hong Kong Mediation Alliance to provide help in cases of disputes between beauty parlours and consumers. Cases involving financial disputes for less than HK$50,000 could seek for the mediation service, which the first three hours would be free.