In less than two weeks’ time, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation will hold its GEOINT Symposium at the Tampa Convention Center, postponed from October 2013 due to the government shutdown. But after filing an event cancellation insurance claim, and being refused a payout, the association has filed suit against one of the world’s largest insurance firms. How might it have better protected itself? And how will association meetings that depend on government employees as speakers and attendees fare in the future?

In a lawsuit filed on March 25 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the USGIF claims that the U.K.-based Lloyds of London failed to live up to a policy that would “protect against loss that might result from a cancellation, curtailment, postponement, removal to alternative premises or abandonment” of the symposium, according to an article in The Tampa Tribune.

USGIF canceled the annual event, which was expected to draw some 4,000 attendees to discuss geographic analysis mapping. “Despite the phenomenal support from the City of Tampa, its mayor, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and others in Tampa, the absence of government speakers from our program and the absence of government customers from our exhibit hall, forced the unavoidable postponement of the 10th Annual GEOINT Symposium,” the association wrote in an FAQ page on its Web site in October.

The lawsuit states that “as a result, USGIF sustained and continued to sustain serious and substantial injury and damage, and incurred significant expenses and obligations.” Some of those expenses included lost planning and preparation work, refunds to exhibitors and sponsors, and arrangements with hotels and other vendors.

Adam DePiro, director of convention sales, Visit Tampa Bay, told MeetingsNet that "the Tampa Convention Center is not pursuing cancellation fees."

The association claims that when it tried to collect on the policy, Lloyds of London “without any reasonable justification and in bad faith refused to honor its obligation under the policy and refused to indemnify USGIF for losses sustained,” according to the article, which adds that the suit does not specify the extent of the losses, stating only that it is in excess of $75,000.