CPD Credited - Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance’s annual survey

Each year Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance publishes an annual survey, providing aesthetic practitioners with a platform to offer their opinions on the aesthetics sector.

At Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance, we strive to provide a supportive service to our members. Our annual survey helps us to tailor our service to ensure that practitioners continue to receive high quality support, advice and guidance, as well as enabling us to identify ongoing and upcoming trends in the sector and share our insights with the wider community.

Practitioners were asked a series of questions, ranging from their motivations for entering the field of aesthetics and the most common treatments they encounter, to how they manage claims and complications, and training and development.

Mark Copsey, Associate Director for Hamilton Fraser’s Healthcare division comments, “This is a fantastic response to our annual survey, with 461 practitioners completing it at the end of 2019, representing an increase of 51 per cent on the previous year. We will use this valuable data to enhance our products and proposition as well as providing our customers with important information about training course partners, business planning and further knowledge of the wider cosmetic community”.

Motivations for entering the field of aesthetics

Aesthetic practitioners had mixed reasons for entering the field of aesthetics. Most notably, practitioners reported that they had entered the field of aesthetics due to their interest in non-surgical cosmetic treatments (62.26 per cent). This could coincide with rising trends for non-surgical treatments throughout the UK.

In addition, practitioners reported that another key motivation for entering aesthetics was as a ‘new challenge’ (60.74 per cent). Thirdly, it was found that both job satisfaction and flexible working hours also contributed as motivating factors for entering the market (48.59 per cent).

When asked ’Is aesthetics your sole source of income?’ 74.62 per cent of practitioners listed that aesthetics was not their only income source, with an average of 39 per cent of their income being made from aesthetics.

According to the survey results, practitioners mostly appear to be practising part-time (73.54 per cent), equating to up to 20 hours per week. In comparison, 26.46 per cent of practitioners practised full time as an aesthetic practitioner.

Most aesthetic practitioners surveyed (34.27 per cent) practise from their own clinic premises, with a further 28.20 per cent working from a clinic within their home. It is important that practitioners working from their own premises are aware of the insurance implications and take out comprehensive cover to protect themselves, their business and their livelihood.

It is always advised that aesthetic practitioners check that their current home insurance policy provides suitable cover for working from home, especially in the aesthetics sector, as well as taking out a suitable medical malpractice policy.

Since they started working in aesthetic medicine, 76.14 per cent of practitioners suggested that their expectations of working in the sector had been met. Where expectations weren’t met, practitioners commented that they sometimes felt lonely in the aesthetics sector, found the environment to be competitive and difficult to set themselves up in.

Treatments provided

Practitioners commented that botulinum toxin (89.59 per cent) and dermal fillers (87.64 per cent) had once again proved to be the most popular treatment types provided in 2019. This was followed by skin care (51.41 per cent) and chemical peels (48.37 per cent), all of which showed an increase from last year’s results. With a rise in accessibility to treatments and awareness of non-surgical procedures, it is no surprise that treatments such as those using botulinum toxin are some of the most researched cosmetic procedures (RealSelf Report, 2019). In addition, treatments such as dermal fillers have been in the spotlight as a result of the Keogh report, released back in 2013, which highlighted the need for increased regulation surrounding this treatment. From May 2020, under European Regulations (EU 2017/745) all dermal fillers will be regulated as medical devices.

It also appears that treatments for aging are on the rise, with 81.13 per cent of practitioners stating that the most common treatments requested by patients are for ageing. This was closely followed by 66.16 per cent of practitioners, who said that preventative ageing treatments were the most common treatment type they encountered.

In addition, 34.71 per cent of practitioners listed skin care solutions (including acne, rosacea and pigmentation) as the third most common reason that patients seek treatment.

Managing complications and claims

When carrying out treatments in 2019, 76.79 per cent of practitioners did not experience any complications, but 23.21 per cent did experience treatment complications. This was a rise from 19 per cent in 2018.

Overall, complications (as answered by 97 practitioners) were most likely to be minor (67.01 per cent), expected and self-limiting. A further 24.74 per cent reported more moderate complications where the patient was distressed but the matter resolved. 3.09 per cent reported serious complications requiring further medical intervention and 2.06 per cent reported life threatening complications resulting from a procedure. A number of complications were reported by practitioners in 2019, including prolonged swelling and allergic reactions.

In the event of a complication, 96.91 per cent of practitioners (as answered by 97 practitioners) stated that they were able to manage the complication themselves.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of practitioners, patient complaints can, and do, occur. This may be as a result of a complication the patient has experienced or as a consequence of the patient’s dissatisfaction with the treatment outcome. Find out how to effectively handle a patient dissatisfaction or complaint here.

No matter how unlikely it may be, practitioners should be able to deal professionally with any complications that could arise as a result of a treatment and know how to manage the patient in a situation where there has been a complication. When asked if they reported the complication experienced (as answered by 92 practitioners) only 11.96 per cent suggested that they had notified their insurer. Read more about the importance of notifying your insurer of a potential claim here.

It is important for practitioners to make their insurer aware if any dissatisfaction or a complaint arises as soon as possible, even if they believe that it is unlikely to escalate. Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance offers support and guidance for policyholders on how to best resolve issues of this nature, without it impacting on their insurance premium.

Policies and protection (GDPR)

As an essential cover for any cosmetic professional, it was reassuring to see that 92.45 per cent (as answered by 437) practitioners reported that they currently held medical malpractice insurance to cover their aesthetics practice.

Additionally, 82.61 per cent of practitioners (as answered by 437) reported that they had taken the necessary steps (if required) to ensure that their practice was compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018. Aesthetic practitioners should ensure that they are up to speed with GDPR, including the increased responsibility for controllers and processors of data, the increased requirements for the consent of personal data and how the definitions of personal data have changed. Practitioners should also strongly consider the importance of taking out a comprehensive cyber liability insurance policy as part of their risk mitigation and as increased security for their business.



Training and development

Training is extremely important for aesthetic practitioners in order to keep up with new techniques, emerging trends and treatments as well as patient safety. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the ‘holistic commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers’ and can be obtained in a number of ways. Medical practitioners registered with the GMC, GDC and NMC are required to demonstrate that they have obtained CPD points.

When asked what CPD methods practitioners had undertaken in the last 24 months, 76.14 per cent had completed active learning in the form of a training event, 73.97 per cent had undertaken reading (including textbooks, journals and papers), 50.76 per cent had attended conferences and 47.94 per cent peer group discussions. Of those surveyed, 36.88 per cent had undertaken an academic course. This highlights the significant number of routes that can be taken to continue a practitioner’s professional development throughout the year.

Finally, in the last 12 months, 57.05 per cent of practitioners surveyed reported that they had undertaken more than three days of CPD.

Did you know the Aesthetics Business Conference, brought to you by Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance, provides aesthetics practitioners with a day packed full of educational sessions in a variety of fields to help practitioners take their business to the next level? This includes eight hours’ worth of certified CPD points.

Find out more about the importance of CPD here.

Associations and aesthetics bodies

There are a number of cosmetic associations and independent aesthetic bodies operating throughout the industry aimed at supporting and offering guidance to practitioners and helping to improve patient safety.

Of those surveyed, 58.35 per cent of aesthetic practitioners reported that they were not a member of listed associations, including BACN, BCAM, PIAPA, BABS, BAAPS, UKAAPS, BAAD, BACDP or BACD.

In addition, when asked if they were a member of any independent aesthetic bodies, 45.99 per cent listed that they were a member of the ACE group, while 45.34 per cent were not a member of any of the listed bodies including AAIC, CSA, JCCP, and Save Face.

Earlier this year the Department of Health and Social Care launched the ‘Clued up on cosmetic procedures’ campaign to help raise awareness and understanding of cosmetic procedures through educating people about the associated risks as well as ensuring that patients ask the right questions and have all the information they need before undergoing treatment. It is vital that practitioners are aware of the guidance they provide to potential patients in order to operate in accordance with the best practice advised by the government, and to highlight their commitment to practising as a responsible practitioner.

The campaign also encourages prospective patients to make sure that practitioners are sufficiently qualified and have the appropriate cosmetic insurance before undertaking any treatment. And urges them to use the Professional Standards Authority’s ‘Check a Practitioner’ service to find out if the practitioner in question belongs to an accredited register. This demonstrates ongoing commitment to additional training. Such registers include JCCP and Save Face.

As a practitioner, belonging to the aforementioned associations and aesthetics bodies can also help you to stand out in a competitive market as a business that values the importance of best practice. For example, becoming a member of a body, such as the JCCP, has multiple benefits including highlighting the practitioner’s commitment to achieve and promote public health, safety and well-being. Membership also demonstrates to the public that the JCCP has confidence in a practitioner’s professional standards, showcasing their level of qualification(s) and experience and the modalities in which they administer, as well as any other aesthetics memberships they have in place.

Building your business

Building up an aesthetics business is a time consuming but rewarding endeavour. 55.14 per cent of aesthetic practitioners (as answered by 350) said they would like more support with setting up their business and would like to hear more information on training and CPD (69.14 per cent), business planning (66 per cent) and regulation (60.57 per cent) when attending seminars to help boost their business. You can learn more about these topics at the Aesthetics Business Conference 2020.

When asked about the type of educational content they were interested in, 85.14 per cent of aesthetic practitioners (as answered by 350) wanted to find out more on the aesthetics industry (including treatments, trends and technology), running an aesthetics business (68 per cent) and information related to customer service, such as complaint handling (44 per cent).

Find out more about the key factors to consider when writing an aesthetics business plan here.

For more information about upcoming aesthetic seminars, conferences and events, including how to make the most out of attending here.

Challenges in aesthetics

The aesthetics market is growing rapidly, as reported by BAAPS annual audit. Despite surgical cosmetic procedures increasing by 0.1 per cent in 2019, the number of non-invasive cosmetic procedures has continued to rise 10 per cent year on year.

Celebrity culture and social media have largely been attributed to a proportion of this rise, especially where the younger generation are concerned, with many patients seeking to emulate aesthetic features and trends. In addition, cosmetic procedures are more widely accepted and more commonplace in today’s society, with people increasingly open about their experiences in the sector.

A boom in non-invasive cosmetic procedures means it is not surprising that when asked ‘what are your greatest challenges within aesthetics?’ 59.71 per cent of practitioners (as answered by 350 respondents), commented that their greatest challenge was increased competition within the aesthetics industry. A further 53.71 per cent stated that marketing was their greatest challenge within aesthetics.

Despite competition, it is important that practitioners continue to operate ethically and safely within the industry. For example, in a saturated market many practitioners may turn to advertising and marketing on social media as a main method of standing out from the competition and a way to market existing, new and upcoming treatments. However, it is vitally important that aesthetic practitioners keep up to speed with current legislation and regulation, especially in areas such as marketing and advertising, where failure to adhere to strict codes of practice could signal issues for a practitioner’s business. It is the responsibility of practitioners to be ethical when marketing their services. The Joint Council for Cosmetic Procedures (JCCP), amongst other associations, have recently issued specific guidance on the ethical use of social media, read more about the importance of ethical marketing here.

You can also find out more about recent regulatory changes and guidelines here.

Survey results also showed that for many practitioners, keeping up with the latest products and technology was also a significant challenge (40.57 per cent) within aesthetics. With new products and treatments emerging all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. A great way for practitioners to expand their knowledge base is by attending conferences and seminars, as well as undertaking additional reading from industry sources, to keep on top of a changing industry. Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance’s knowledge centre provides practitioners with content on upcoming market trends and breaking industry news to keep practitioners informed, educated and up to date.

Results from the 2019 survey were incredibly insightful, providing useful information on practitioner motivations, challenges and skill sets which can be used to help guide and support practitioners into 2020 and beyond.


To receive your CPD certificate please email: CPD@hamiltonfraser.co.uk with details including:

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Title of activity: Cosmetic Insurance – Annual Survey

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