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Professional Program Insurance Brokers

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Fireworks, Festivals, Tattoo Parlors and more.

By Scot Kersgaard
Interview with Susan Preston for Insurance Business America

If you aren’t familiar with Professional Program Insurance Brokerage (PPIB) of Novato, CA, the company name will probably clue you in to the fact that they insure risks that are a little outside the box. Or way outside the box.

“We want things that are outside the norm. We don’t want weddings or family reunions. We want things that are quirky or off the beaten track,” said President Susan Preston.” If they are too normal, I don’t want them,” she said about the types of events PPIB does not insure.

“We do Burning Man types of things. We started by doing pyrotechnics and events that include pyrotechnics. We now can do overnight events and multi-day festivals.” she said. “The lead in for us was pyrotechnics.”

PPIB got into pyrotechnics when it bought a book of business from someone else about 4 years ago. Now it is expanding the program into events that have pyrotechnics. Up until recently, PPIB primarily insured the pyrotechnic shooter but now we are insuring entire events, not just the pyrotechnic elements of events.

In addition to standalone fireworks shows, PPIB often insures pyrotechnics for rock concerts and sports events. PPIB does not insure major rock concerts or professional sports teams and venues. Preston said there are plenty of people who do that. “We will offer coverage for events that might not be able to get it elsewhere,” she said.

While PPIB might not insure sports teams and venues, Preston explained that multiple professional sports team or venues have pyrotechnic coverage through PPIB, which covers any pyrotechnic displays hosted by those organizations.

Of course, it is not all fun and games. PPIB is known for its tattoo parlor program as well as its coverage for piercing studios, cryotherapy and the like.

“We have been traditionally known for our tattoo program. We have been doing it longer than anyone else in America. I wrote the Rough Notes guide on the body piercing industry in the 1990s. There was no program, until I put it together,” she said.

“We will insure virtually any tattoo or piercing shop for professional and general liability,” she said, adding that while they will work directly with retail clients, the company prefers to write business through independent brokers, and works with about 1600 brokers, in all 50 states, in a typical year.

PPIB also covers such things as:
Electronic cigarettes
Hookah lounges
Medispas, including Botox, laser hair removal and weight loss programs
Tanning salons
Smoke shops
Hormone therapy
Talking about e-cigarettes, she said PPIB provided coverage for a house that was damaged by an e-cigarette battery that exploded. That’s a story for another day.

Preston said the company’s business is growing and that she is continually doing research on emerging risks and new programs to cover them.