"Settlement conference" means different things in different places but the usual meaning is something like mediation conducted by the judge presiding over the case. Following judges' orders related to settlement conferences, like following other court orders, is obviously important. Here is an example of contempt sanctions imposed on a party that failed to comply.
As Mary Novak at Just Court ADR explains: Judge Janet Berry did not believe the insurers had complied in good faith
with her rules on authority to settle, she found the company in
contempt and sanctioned them $50,000.