How Are Hair Salons Like Law Offices?

When Creative Hair Dressers Inc. in Falls Church, Va., a chain of 350 East Coast salons, was recently in the market for health insurance for its 5,000 employees, it learned some of the hard facts of insurance underwriting in the 1990s. Insuring itself had become too costly, a change that had prompted Creative's search in the first place. But several of the nation's biggest insurance companies refused even to submit bids for the salon's business, citing its high risk. "There's definitely a blacklist," complains Terri Beatty, the company's benefits supervisor.

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