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I just want to go play with my red hat sisters in my own chapter. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I told my husband what happened to some red hatters in Ontario who were sued. He told me “get protection or get out of red hatting NOW!” so I decided to investigate how to protect myself. At a birthday party with other Queen Mothers the subject of the lawsuit came up. There were many mixed reactions but the over all reaction was find out what we can do to protect ourselves. As Queen Bee of our local Queen’s Council I was asked to learn what I could and report back. What quickly became very apparent was that we had to make our sister red hatters aware of the dangerous position we were in, without having the protection of insurance from hatquarters or for some, homeowners, tenants or contents insurance.


I have now been contacted by heads of Queen’s Councils in both Alberta and Manitoba saying they have heard via the grapevine of our meeting and would be please share what we’ve learned….



I truly believe that in the end, there will be an insurance policy available to Canadian Red Hatters. Whether a person or chapter wishes to purchase coverage is totally their decision, as I have stated all along.

I am not in the insurance industry, nor is anyone in my family and there is NO personal gain to me in any of this whatsoever, just many sleepless nights and expenses I didn’t want!

I would love to walk away from this nightmare but there are a lot of red hatters relying on some of us for guidance and/or support and/or knowledge. Therefore, I will do what I can to help my red hat sisters just as I would help my own brother or sister.


I hope it is all settled quickly and I can go back to just having fun in my red hat….





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The object of this email is purely to share with you the facts as provided to us by professionals. I am not, nor have I ever been, in the insurance industry nor is/has any member of my family. I am not trying to solicit insurance or anything else.



Red Hat Friends…


We had our meeting of Queen Mothers Wednesday, September 20th with the topic of INSURANCE ISSUES FOR RED HATTERS IN CANADA and had two insurance experts and a civil litigation lawyer who specializes in personal liability speak to us. It was certainly educational.

It was our intention to provide you with the most honest and factual information on what if any dangers we are subjecting ourselves to as
Queen Mothers and red hatters. Information for you to take back to your chapter and discuss. At the same time providing you, hopefully, with options of what we can do as a whole, you can do as a chapter, and you can do personally, to protect yourself. The ultimate decision is yours.


We were told of a lawsuit recently filed in Ontario against a red hat chapter, their Queen Mother, the member who sends emails and the member who planned an event, by a member who also has been a personal friend of the Queen Mothers for 30 years. This lady was injured during a chapter outing.  This lady has sued these women in her chapter for $810,000.00.


FIRST AND FOREMOST, please do not panic at what you are about to read. There are solutions.... and we are working hard to find the one that works best for us. WE DO HAVE OPTIONS!!!! We are working hard on behalf of our fellow red hat sisters to reach a solution that works for all of us to provide the maximum protection at the least cost.


Brief overview of what the lawyer said…
If sued, you will endure emotional & financial stress for 2-6 years before you get to court and be subjected to 10’s to 1,000’s of dollars in legal fees. If the suit is settled out of court you still must come up with legal fees and settlement money. If found liable you will have to pay legal fees, the judgment and the court fees. Steps will be taken to collect your assets (home, bank accounts, pension funds, automobiles etc. can and will be seized) She referred to two recent BC law suits and explained the circumstances and how long it took before they came to trial and the outcomes.


How to protect yourself? Adequate insurance (homeowner’s liability)*, waiver of liability is only agreement to limit legal liability (for event organizing etc.) and it is not absolute and not a replacement for adequate insurance. Participants must understand the waiver as it is not foolproof. For day trips, conventions, events outside our homes other than going to a restaurant, a waiver should be signed for each and every occurrence. Risks are smaller if there is a signed waiver.

Regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit, you will always pay defense costs and legal costs even if the case is dismissed. Insurance will cover these costs.

Someone asked if you are sued and you and your husband have joint ownership of your family home what happens? They could still seize your half of the home, therefore forcing your husband to sell his half or come up with the cash equivalent.


Brief overview of what the insurance experts said…

Personal liability insurance covers (which must be attached to your homeowners, tenants insurance or your contents insurance)  you on or off your premises world wide. Although the basic amount is one million dollars they recommended amount is two million and preferred amount five million. People are getting more litigious and amounts are increasing. If you add an “umbrella” policy on yourself, attached to your homeowners policy it raises your liability coverage.


Discussions took place re chapter insurance and that they are presently looking at a possibility of a chapter policy at anywhere from $5-10 per person per year. It would be worth it if offered, as it would help to keep any risk away from your homeowner’s policy.


Note that if you make a claim against your homeowners policy, your risk-free status is lost, requiring you to pay a much higher annual amount of insurance. In the case of the Queen Mother in Ontario , her insurance went up $450+ amounting to over $2,200.00 over five years. This in addition to the $1,000.00 deductible she has to pay and all of the legal fees.


Issues we are researching…  How can we protect ourselves, what can we do? Do we need to do anything?


#1.     It was "suggested" that we have a minimum of 2 million on our homeowner’s policy. An added feature to protect us is an umbrella policy on the Queen Mother so that should she ever be sued, it will not affect her homeowner’s policy. We've heard a new wrinkle to this that as long as we're associated with the RHS can this policy - or even our homeowners insurance protect us? One Queen Mother was told no. An update will be available this week.


#2.     We are looking into chapter insurance. We are working on a policy that will cover all of the chapters in the Okanagan at a cost of $5-10/year per person. 


#3.     We need TWO waivers which our lawyer is preparing. Our lawyer has drawn up two waivers which each chapter should use to protect themselves. They will NOT prevent a lawsuit and they can not protect us other than show a judge that we made every effort to protect ourselves and to make our members aware that in anything we do, there is risk. One waiver must be signed by every member of your chapter. The other must be used for each event members attend.


#4.    We must have "Event Insurance" as well as the waivers, for any gathering of red hatters where we have invited others to attend.


#5.    The lawyer for the RHS says that they have no plans to provide insurance for their members.  He said they will consider it but not to expect them to do anything. The staff and executive of the RHS are all covered by insurance.


#6.     Many Queen Mothers asked “Why do we belong to the Red Hat Society? What do we in Canada get for our $44.00 (CDN - $49US)?” Is it safe for us to belong to this non non-profit organization if they do not protect their membership by offering insurance?

Are we better off NOT being members? This was a really big question at the end of the meeting. Would we be better to be independent red hatters with our own group of chapters?

          If we all drop out of the Red Hat Society and continue on our own as red hatters, we can get non-profit insurance.


#7.     Do we join together under one chapter (Queen’s Council?) and incorporate it to get adequate insurance coverage? The lawyer for the RHS has given us authority to do this if necessary in order to get insurance coverage. What will it cost to incorporate? We would need a Board and Directors Liability Insurance but the overall cost per chapter would be relatively minor. We are awaiting the reply from our lawyers.


Please ladies, do not panic.... We do have a lawyer and insurance professionals researching our options. Please be aware and be prepared and protect yourselves. If you live in Ontario , I urge you to attend their information seminar September 30th.


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