Inked Mag Staff
October 13th, 2022
The Protection All Tattoo Artists Need
Insurance is never exciting to talk about, but it is a necessary part of doing business today
The United States in 2022 is quite simply a land of litigation. There seems to always be a lawyer ready to take on a lawsuit no matter how spurious the claims, the results of which can be career-destroying for a small business owner. And while the tattoo industry was on the fringes of society and likely protected from these types of legal actions decades ago, these days it’s borderline irresponsible for an artist to do business without being protected by liability insurance. One of the issues facing artists looking to protect themselves is that most insurance agents have little to no understanding of how the tattoo industry works, let alone the protection artists require to shield themselves from lawsuits. Founded by people who understand the industry inside and out, InkShopGuard provides coverage to tattoo artists and shops throughout the nation. We spoke with Nate Szana, who manages the company’s day-to-day client service operations, about how the company came about and why insurance is absolutely necessary for tattoo artists.
Let’s start with the simplest question, what exactly does InkShopGuard do?
We provide liability and property insurance for the tattoo industry. We work with a couple of insurance carriers that help us provide coverage for artists, shops and the stuff inside them.
How did InkShopGuard come together?
It started as a passion project for Shawn Woedl, our CEO. There are few options for adequate insurance within the tattoo industry and we want to help change that by offering a program tailored to the tattoo industry based on our experiences. Shawn and I both struggled some coming up in the insurance industry being covered in tattoos. So, when Shawn asked me to come help get this program off the ground, it felt like the perfect fit.
Why should tattoo artists look into personal liability insurance?
Simply put, it protects you and your business. Even if you are not a shop owner and work as an artist in a shop, you still have the same legal obligations and liability exposures as larger shops and businesses. You can be sued for just about anything—customer injuries, infections, or someone who decided they don’t like your work. General liability insurance provides defense and helps cover the legal fees and damages resulting from a lawsuit. These are just some reasons we encourage tattoo artists to ensure they are covered correctly. If you are a business owner or independent contractor of any kind, you should have General Liability Insurance.
What exactly is covered by InkShopGuard insurance?
Our Policies can cover slips and falls, accidental injuries to customers, property damage to a customer’s things, advertising injury—which can cover things like slander or libel. There is coverage for professional services, which can cover things like consulting with clients and advising them on the tattoo itself, size or placement. We can provide coverage for communicable diseases and infections. Although rare, they do happen, and you can still get hit with a lawsuit even though, most of the time, they end up being because the client didn’t follow the aftercare properly.
How has the stigma against tattoo artists made it difficult for them to obtain insurance?
Many insurance companies see the industry as much riskier than it is. So, fewer carriers offer coverage, or they are not offering the proper coverage. Your average insurance agent doesn’t know anything about the exposures that come with your business, which makes the process more challenging and complicated.
By nature, tattoo artists tend to be distrustful of structure, so how do you make the pitch to them that insurance is something they should be interested in?
Distrustful or not, it doesn’t stop you from being sued by one of your clients or anyone else. Even if you can fight the lawsuit successfully, it will be expensive, tens of thousands of dollars or more. Why pay out of pocket and drain your savings when you can pay a small fee to take care of that for you? Each artist runs their own business; owning a business comes with risk. Insurance is an easy way to mitigate that risk.
Have you seen cases of artists being sued for bad artwork? Is this something insurance can help with?
I haven’t personally seen any claims of someone being sued for lousy artwork. Usually, it’s because someone had an allergic reaction, infection, scarring, keloid, or something like that. However, in most cases, there would be coverage if someone sued you because they didn’t like your finished work, or it didn’t meet their expectations. Even if nothing came from it, we would still have a duty to defend you from the lawsuit.
Where do you see InkShopGuard going in the future?
I want our program to keep growing. I hope InkshopGuard will eventually be synonymous with Insuring all the fantastic artists and shops. We will adapt and change to the insurance needs of the tattoo industry.
Check out InkShopGuard and the services they offer by clicking here.
Inspired by Japanese culture and anime, MimiSama combines old school methods with modern technology in her unique style of tattooing
He fights in the UFC, fronts a punk band, runs a clothing line and does a little stand-up comedy on the side—so, yeah, Andre “Touchy” Fili is all the way alive