Let's Talk It Out

I’m sure you have heard that communication is the key to success. When it comes to resolving a Terrafirma claim, four groups must communicate well with each other: the member land trust, its attorney, the Claims Committee, and support staff for the Claims Committee.

Everyone wants an efficient and effective resolution. This starts with an early exchange to identify top issues and outline the options available to resolve the claim and uphold conservation permanence. As the claim progresses, frequent communication between all parties is crucial so that any problems or different points of view can be discussed right away. For especially tricky issues, the Claims Committee steps in to offer guidance.

The simple takeaway? Stay in touch!

Speaking of reaching out, have any questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

 

Thanks,

Hannah

Hannah Flake
Conservation Defense Coordinator
ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC
(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org

 
 
March 04, 2019 | Tags:

13 is the Luckiest Number

The number 13 is supercool. It's the smallest "emirp" – a prime number that forms a different prime in reverse. And who doesn't love a "baker's dozen" of 13 delicious baked goods? It's also the number of eligibility questions that Terrafirma asks.

The 13 eligibility requirements must be fulfilled before your organization can join Terrafirma. If you are already a Terrafirma member and you are updating your application, you may be used to checking off "yes" to all of these without reading through.

This year, remember to revisit those eligibility requirements and make sure that you still satisfy all of them.

Please also remember:

  • If you are awaiting your February accreditation decision, whether first time or renewing, don't hit that submit button just yet! Please fill out your application and then hit "submit" once your decision is received. There is an $11/parcel accreditation discount that we don't want you to miss.
  • Please send your check to Marsh's new address:

                 Jeremy Johnston, Account Administrator 
                 Marsh Captive Solutions 
                 Terrafirma RRG LLC
                 PO Box 530
                 Burlington, VT 05402-0530

 

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

 

Thanks,

Hannah

 

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Coordinator

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

 

(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

 

Counting down to 2019

In just four short days it will be the new year, and with it comes a new policy period for Terrafirma insurance. Through February 1, 2019, you can log on and update your application for the 2019 policy period that begins on March 1, 2019. Land trusts in the accreditation pipeline who are waiting for their decision in February will receive an extension.

Before you update, we recommend that you take a few minutes to review the counting rules for your properties, including:

  • Separate easements held by the same land trust can be counted as just one property for Terrafirma as long as they have the same owner, same restrictions and permitted uses, and are contiguous.
  • Different parcels under the same easement can count as one property, even if it’s not contiguous, as long as they have the same landowner and the same land trust.
  • If you want to insure property within a certain category of property right (conservation easement, trail easement, fee land, etc.), you must list every parcel within that category.

See last month’s Terrabite here (set link https://terrafirma.org/blog) for more counting tips.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

 

Thanks,

Hannah

 

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Coordinator

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

 
 
January 03, 2019 | Tags:

Got a lot on your plate?

As you prepare for the holidays next week, buying your turkey (or Tofurky) and pie, remember what else is coming up: the Terrafirma application period that is just around the corner. Starting December 1, you will be able to log on and update your application for the 2019 policy period that begins on March 1, 2019.

Before you update, we recommend that you take a few minutes to review the counting rules for your properties, including: 

  • Parcels with different owners must be listed separately. This is because the more the easement is spread across separately owned parcels, the greater the risk that you’ll have a lawsuit. Therefore, Terrafirma spreads that risk with additional premiums based on the number of separate landowners. 
  • Following that rule, if a property listed as having one owner is then divided into multiple parts with multiple owners, each piece would become an individual parcel under your Terrafirma policy.
  • If you have any questions or think you have a special case, please reach out to Terrafirma and e-mail a map of the property to help@terrafirma.org

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake
Conservation Defense Coordinator
ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC
(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

 

Hungry for more TerraBites? Check out our LinkedIn

 

Terrafirma Tips

Terrafirma is a unique insurance company – a nonprofit, member-owned risk retention group, created specifically to help land trusts. Being so different can lead to some confusion. We'd like to address a few common questions and misconceptions:

  • You must file a claim when you first learn of the incident – not when litigation starts. For example, if a land trust discovers a trespass involving cut trees in January of 2019, but waits until after April 30 (the end of the 2018 grace period for filing claims) to file the claim, they will likely be barred from coverage for not reporting in time.
  • The policy year is not the same as the calendar year – it is March 1 to March 1. There is a 60 day grace period at the end of each policy period.
  • Rates won’t go up because you filed a claim. Claim history and rates are completely independent - $63 per parcel for everyone, minus any discounts.
  • A placeholder is a full claim, and there is no need to re-file the claim to be heard for a coverage determination. Just send us a quick e-mail! See more information on placeholder versus regular claims here.
  • Everything is online except for payments, which must be sent in via check. We use check payments for maximum security and cost efficiency.
 
 

Don’t wait, file before it’s too late!

When filing a claim with Terrafirma, timing is crucial. For example, say that you are performing annual monitoring and see that the neighbor is encroaching onto easement property. You would flag it on the monitoring report, then the next step would be to file a claim with Terrafirma. It can take years for an issue to escalate to the point that it requires legal intervention. If you waited until then to notify Terrafirma, the claim would likely be denied because it was not filed in time.

In order for a claim to be eligible for coverage, it must be filed with Terrafirma within the policy year that you or anyone else at the land trust first became aware of the issue. The policy year is not the same as the calendar year – it runs from March 1 of the start of the policy year to March 1 of the next year, plus a 60 day window for filing claims. Filing a claim is quick, easy, and does not affect the cost of your premium. See our handy infographic here for more tips on when to file.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Associate

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

Hungry for more TerraBites? Check out our LinkedIn

 

 

 P.S. Will you be attending Rally on October 11-13? Seminars 6 and 15 and Workshops A01, A13, B01, B09, D02 and F06 qualify for the Terrafirma Risk Management discount. Remember to sign in on the Terrafirma attendance sheet to make sure you get credit!

 

Devising to Avoid Divisions

The no division clause in a conservation easement can be crucial. It protects the easement’s habitat and scenic values while promoting wildlife movement. It also avoids land fragmentation, conflicting management and the unnecessary costs and burdens of extra monitoring and enforcement for multiple parcels. Are you using annual monitoring visits to ask the important questions that will help you to determine if this clause could be violated?

Rather than pepper the landowner with questions, try to engage them in a friendly conversation that involves the following:

  • Has the address changed?
  • Has any portion of property been sold, no matter how small?
  • Has any portion of property been given to anyone, even a relative, no matter how small?
  • Has any portion of property been leased, mortgaged, exchanged, or liened, no matter how small?
  • Have you granted rights to anyone, even a relative or neighbor, to anyone else of any kind?
  • Have you changed the name of the owner of the property such as creating a company, partnership or trust of any kind?
  • Have land uses changed in any way?

Explain that the easement addresses divisions, and that understanding the owner’s plans now means no unpleasant surprises down the road – for you and for the landowner.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Associate

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

 

Hungry for more TerraBites? Check out our LinkedIn

 

Confronting Condemnation

Condemnation threats to conservation mount across the country. Land trusts who successfully deflect or reduce these threats find that immediate action in the condemnation process helps to defend their conservation properties.

Generally, land trust folks report that these steps help reduce loss of conservation land:

  • engage with and educate the condemning authority early in the process,
  • try to find alternatives,
  • discuss the threat with experienced legal counsel, and
  • involve the appropriate parties, including the landowner and potentially the media

See more advice and resources on the Land Trust Alliance's Practical Pointer on Condemnation, available via The Learning Center. Please ask us for assistance. We are happy to share tips and information we have gleaned even though Terrafirma excludes condemnation challenges from coverage.

 
 

Keeping the promise

A recent win in court for Three Valley Conservation Trust (Ohio) could help land trusts in other states as we all work together to uphold conservation permanence.

The case involved two siblings, James and Janis Taylor, who sold a conservation easement on their family farm to Three Valley Conservation Trust. The easement prevented any division of the farm. However, when Janis wanted James to buy her out, James asked the court to let him divide the property despite the restrictions, and the judge sided with him.

Three Valley Conservation Trust successfully appealed the decision with the help of Terrafirma, the Land Trust Alliance, Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts and American Farmland Trust. On appeal, the court sided with the land trust and Janis, stating that restricting division of the property is consistent with current law.

This is a great example of land trusts and their allies working together and it is an important decision with national ramifications. Read more about the case here.

We’re here to help! If you have any questions about divisions or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 202-800-2248 for Hannah, or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Associate

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org

 

Hungry for more TerraBites? Check out our LinkedIn

 

John Hancock is your friend

It’s tempting to skip the formality of a signature when you know you have an agreement. But land trusts that allow other organizations on their property without getting complete paperwork could be putting themselves in jeopardy.

In Selective Insurance Co. v. Boy Scouts of America, a judge decided that, because the school failed to sign a confirmation letter allowing it to use the Boy Scout campground, the insurance company didn’t have to pay for injuries suffered by a student during an event held at the site—potentially leaving the Boy Scouts on the hook. The school’s insurance policy had extended coverage for contractors but without a signed contract, the judge ruled that the extended coverage didn’t apply. If you’re planning on working with a contractor or letting another organization use your property, make sure the person you’re arranging things with puts their John Hancock on the line so you can get all the benefits of a bona fide contractor.

 

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