Welcome back to the long-awaited second part of the first part of the delayed Furry Friday here on Lawyers & Liquor! Once a month I take off my lawyer hat to put on my badger head and starting talking about some random legal issue or concept that has an effect on the furry fandom. Thankfully, Inkedfur.com has, you know, agreed to sponsor these things so I can act like I’m not totally a furry and only doing it for the sweet, sweet small amount of cash…but, we all know that’s a lie at this point.
So, my crazy creatures of all colors, including several that are most certainly not found in nature, let’s get started. When last I opened the doors to the rescue shelter and let you all run and romp, and do other shit (goddammit Bill, get the hose and spray those two) all over my legal lawn, we were talking about how the structure of non-profit corporations in general. As many furry conventions are actually registered and structured as non-profit corporations, I advised, they prevent one person from having a lot of fucking power. In short, what I said was “Even if they wear a lab coat and project an image of equal parts Machiavelli and Dr. Blofeld, they are still beholden to the determinations made by the furry equivalent of the a Board of Directors, which votes on matters affecting the corporation.” I believe I may have referred to the Chairman of the Board as being, essentially, the “Board’s Bitch.”
…I have not yet heard from Uncle Kage concerning this characterization, although I’ve heard the term has become fairly popular among members of the board itself.
But the Board of Directors isn’t the only shadowy organization shooting down the idea for the Public Pup Play Meet & Greet in the lobby of a hotel the convention is sharing with a World War II veterans’ reunion. There are other, more sinister, factors at play that keeps you from publicly being a pound puppy, and we all know how that was meant. So, today, for the second part, allow the lawyer in the badger mask to explain how one particular non entity player can severely restrict the ability of a convention to do all the shit you think it should be doing as an attendee.
My OC Is A Disclaimer.
Before we get started, I need you guys to stop trying to start a howl and start listening to this very important and bland disclaimer. I am a lawyer. I am not, in any way, shape, or alternate fursona, your lawyer. Unless you have walked into my office, preferably not in a giant coyote costume, met with me, had me explicitly agree to provide you with representation, and then paid a retainer to me in an amount of my choosing and not through Paypal, you are not my client and nothing that we’re going to say today is legal advice. You should consult an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for advice related to your individual matters and hire them, yo, because life’s hard out there for a fleshbag normie lawyer. No attorney-client relationship attaches to any conversation we have, and if you send me an email with your legal questions there’s a good fuckin’ chance I’ll roundly ridicule it before never responding to you because I like having a license to practice law.
Now that that’s over, someone pass me one of those super-long straws for fursuiters cause I’m thirsty for knowledge!
Insurance Companies Own Your Con’s Ass.
Alright, so pretty much every fucking con in the world is going to be contractually required to buy event insurance before the hotel is even going to let them set their fluffy-ass paws through the front door. Because people, when told they are giant animals for the weekend or merely that they are away from home for a sales convention filled with seedy Glengarry Glenn Ross types (“Laminated badges are for closers!“), tend to lose their goddamn minds. They do stupid shit, like, you know, running down the up escalator, turning bathtubs into miniature pools, and hanging fursuits and shit from fire sprinklers. That isn’t even getting into the whole “People are going to be interacting, and therefore people will likely get hurt on our premises” shit that’s racing through the heads of the hotel managers as they delve into the shit that is Furry after some guy named NightWolf Moonglow approaches them about holding an “Anthropomorphic Enthusiast Gathering” at the Day’s Inn off Route 100.
What Is Event Insurance?
Look, I’m a lawyer, not an event coordinator or an insurance salesman, so I’ll admit that outside of telling clients that “they definitely fucking need event insurance, you goddamn morons, what fucking century do you think this is Hank?” I’m not going to act like I’m an expert on that shit. But here’s a post from some folks who are, and describing just the basic suggested event insurance package that is required for short-term special events. And in general, here’s what is needed to cover an event on the basic level:
- Event Cancellation/Speaker Cancellation insurance.
- General Commercial Liability.
- Automobile insurance.
- Worker’s Compensation insurance.
- Whatever else the hotel fucking requires.
The biggest one out of all of those for a convention is likely going to be Number 2, the general liability insurance. This is the shit that most businesses open to the public have, and what it does is basically say “If someone gets injured and sues your ass as a result, we’ll cover it up to X number of dollars.” It also says “If someone damages the property of the venue or shit, and they’re a member of your event, we’ll cover that shit as well up to X number of dollars.” So you can see how that’s important, but you might not really understand what that means because, you know, you don’t have a basic understanding of insurance in general and why the fuck would you you 18 year old piece of fluff? You’ve never had to fucking renew a policy in your life, have you?
Furries Are Probably An Insurance Risk, and That Costs Money.
Insurance, you see, determines the premium based on the risk factor that the insurance company will have to pay something out. For example, I pay malpractice insurance every year. Malpractice insurance is a “claims made” policy, and that means that it covers me for every claim made against me in the policy period, regardless of when the event I allegedly fucked up seriously took place. As such, the shorter time I’ve been in practice, the less my premium because the less cases I’ve taken on and the fewer people there are to actually make a claim. However, the longer I’ve been in practice the longer I’ve represented people, and the bigger the base of folks that could file a claim for malpractice against me. As such, I’m a higher risk the longer I’ve been in practice as an attorney, and my premium for my malpractice insurance is.
The same thing applies with conventions, I mean, not the “longer you’ve been around” thing, but the factors that determine risk. How long has the convention been around (i.e. how established and experienced are the staff?). Have the directors had any experience in the past with these things? How many people are going to be present? Will there be alcohol served? What is the convention’s past record in relation to injuries and damages? All of that goes into the determination in what to charge the convention to get a fucking policy that the hotel requires.
Event Insurance Will Dictate What’s Available and Permissible for Attendees.
And, importantly for today’s explanation, what events is the convention planning to have? Insurance policies, like everything fucking else in the world, have exclusions on what a convention can and can’t fucking do, because those things aren’t covered by the policy. For example, and this is a no shit thing, bounce houses. Bounce houses are almost always fucking excluded from standard event insurance policies, meaning when Majury Blueberry does that totally fucking wicked fursuited backflip and breaks their goddamn arm in an unauthorized bounce house shaped like a dog dish, your Good Neighbor is gonna nope the fuck away from it really quick. Why? Because bounce houses are fucking death traps you guys, seriously. Toss in the likelihood someone in a bird outfit will try to use it to literally fucking try to fly and they become bouncy lawsuits waiting to happen.
So, you know, you have to buy a special fucking rider for those things. No shit. Somewhere out there someone sat down and drafted an insurance rider specifically for bounce houses. That costs extra, because the risk of an injury happened shoots up. Likewise with almost any physical activity or contact activity that is sponsored by the convention. Insurance isn’t taking any fucking risks with Freddy Ferret restraining himself from throwing elbows during the goddamn game of tag. So, of course, when looking at shit for the schedule, the board will have to take into account the cost of increased insurance for certain activities, and determine whether or not that shit is really worth it.
Further, it isn’t like you can just fake that shit because…
Hotels Require Proof of the Insurance.
The venue hosts a lot of shit throughout the year, okay? They’re used to everything from drunken wedding parties all the way up to complacent church groups. They host proms and conferences. And they’re hosting you, and they are not going to let your ass sneak shit by them.
Every event contract I’ve seen, and I’ve seen several of them by now, has a clause that requires the event to provide proof of insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 for the activities that will be taking place during the convention. If they can’t provide it, guess what happens? The contract is breached. More than that, there is almost always a clause that the convention agrees to indemnify (that’s legal talk for “be responsible for”) the hotel in the case of any lawsuits. So, say there’s an unauthorized bounce house (I just seriously typed that phrase…) on the premises and Freddy Ferret breaks his goddamn neck. Freddy, when he goes and visits a lawyer, is going to sue fucking everyone. The convention, the convention’s insurer, and the venue for the convention…because all could be liable for the costs and lawyers go after the deep pockets.
Now, the insurance company will point to the policy and say “Sorry, you didn’t buy our ‘Child Maiming Inflatable Amusement Rider,’ so we’re not on the hook for this shit.” Then the hotel, which likely has deeper pockets to pay a settlement or judgment than the goddamn convention that operates as a non-profit and may only have a thousand attendees at most, will bring out the contract and wave it in the convention’s face, saying “You realize that you agreed to pay any judgment against us, right motherfucker? In fact, you, Sparkles the Corgi Conchair, specifically gave a personal guaranty. So, you know, if they win, we’re taking your fucking house and the storage shed full of con shit. I don’t know what we’ll do with a badge printer, but we’ll figure it the fuck out.” And boom, there goes the liability shutting down a fucking convention.
And, by the way, guys, this isn’t like a “what if” thing. I have literally sat drinking with a Director of Finance who, when informed there was an unauthorized bouncy house on the premises, ran from the room at the speed of light to shut that shit down. Specifically because insurance did not cover it.
Golly Gee Boozy, What Can We Do To Help?
I’m glad you asked, anonymous strawman furry.
The first thing? Don’t be a dipshit. In determining the premiums for future years, insurance companies will look at things like “claims made” and “damages paid” as well as things like police and emergency calls to the hotel or venue during the convention. All of that shit, plugged into the actuarial algorithm, will have an affect on the basic insurance premium required for the event. The more risk, the higher the cost, and this shit isn’t like car insurance – this premium gets paid all at once and up front.
The lower the base cost of the policy needed to satisfy the hotel’s insistence, the more money there is in the insurance budget to buy all those neat-o riders that cover additional shit, like death traps and race cars in the lobby of the hotel to match the goddamn theme. Or maybe even just a con-sponsored game of furry kickball (oh my god that would be fucking adorable). Or, and this is important, to simply put elsewhere in the goddamn budget to cover newer supplies, more spaces, or more services to enhance the convention experience even if it isn’t for an additional insurance rider so you assholes can fly high.
That’s Arf, Folks.
The end conclusion of all this is insurance is a big fucking deal when it comes to financing and determining what is and isn’t available for the conventions that you attend. If the panel is risky or there is a history of past bad conduct, there’s a real chance that the payment of the premium and the budget of the convention itself could cause panels, events, and even something as simple as food in the con suite, to not be feasible. And, in some ways, this is something you, as an attendee, can help make less of an issue by not being a fucking dipshit while at a convention.
In other words, don’t start no shit won’t be no premium increase.
But that’s all the time I have for this month. You guys should definitely go check out InkedFur.com, because they have…I mean…so much furry art with bulges. Like, it’s fucking bulge city over there. And relatively cheap as well.
But until next month, get back in your goddamn cages, you filthy animals.
HEY! I’ll be appearing at Furrydelphia, TinyPaws, and Indy Fur Con this year in August! I hope you’ll come out and watch me be an asshole on stage for those sweet, sweet charity dollars with folks like Alkali Bismuth and the rest of the Dragget Show crew, Uncle Kage, and others!
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