Don't Leaf Anything Out!

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling, and that can only mean one thing – almost time to update your Terrafirma application! As you update for 2018, don’t forget 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.
•    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.
•    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, restrictions and permitted uses, and are contiguous.

Applications will open December 1, 2017, and the last day to submit will be February 2, 2018.

Lastly, remember to tell Terrafirma about any potential problems before the end of the 2017 policy period!

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


Thank you, and happy holidays!
Hannah

Hannah Flake
Conservation Defense Associate
ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC
1250 H Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org

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P.S. Congratulations to Deborah Stanley, Derek Schaefer and Michelle Smith, the newest Members Committee representatives – we’re happy to have you on board!

 

 

Don't delay, file today!

Are you working through an issue, but not sure if it’s time to alert Terrafirma yet? Please know that timing is crucial. 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. Check out our handy infographic for more tips on when to file.

We’re here to help! If you have any questions about when to file a claim, 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
(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org
Connect with us on LinkedIn

P.S. For those attending Rally next week, keep in mind that workshops B02 and E02 qualify for the 2018 risk management discount if attended by a board member or senior management.

 

 

 

Why do I need more than one type of insurance?

Smart land trusts typically purchase multiple types of insurance coverage and will consider how the various insurance coverages fit together when selecting the right coverage package. Terrafirma fills in many of the gaps in coverage for these other insurance products.

  • General liability insurance is required in order to be eligible for Terrafirma coverage. It covers claims alleging bodily injury or property damage.
  • Directors and officers (D&O) insurance covers claims alleging wrongful management decisions by the land trust board, volunteers and staff. Unpaid directors of land trusts may have some coverage available under their individual homeowners or personal liability umbrella policies but these do not offer any defense for the land trust where the board member volunteers.
  • Title insurance can compensate the land trust if the actual title to (ownership of) the conservation easement or land they own is challenged or if there is a dispute about the legal description of the property, provided that it is not excluded by the survey exception.

For more on different types of insurance, head to the Learning Center for Guide to Risk Management for Land Trusts, starting on page 275, as well as Practical Pointers: Assessing Insurance Needs for Land Trusts. And for those attending Rally in Denver this October, check out the workshop B02: Do You Have the Right Insurance? At the Right Price? Details here.

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

Thanks,
Hannah

Conservation Defense Associate
(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org
Connect with us on LinkedIn

 

P.S. Please remember that your Terrafirma policy requires you to file a claim at the first indication of a problem. Do it now so you don’t run the risk of missing out on coverage! See more here on when to file a claim. Please call us with any questions.

 

When Confronted with Condemnation

How should your land trust respond to a condemnation threat? While such issues are excluded from Terrafirma coverage, that doesn't mean there is nothing you can do. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are many opportunities early in the condemnation process to anticipate, divert and minimize damage to conservation values.

Generally, land trusts should:

  • discuss the threat with experienced legal counsel,
  • involve the appropriate outside parties, and
  • engage with and educate the condemning authority.

See more advice and resources on the Land Trust Alliance's Practical Pointer on Condemnation, available via The Learning Center.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can e-mail us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 202-800-2248 for myself.

 

Thanks,
Hannah
Conservation Defense Associate
(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org
Connect with us on LinkedIn 

 
August 17, 2017 | Tags:

Discovering divisions

When your stewardship staff or volunteers conduct their annual monitoring visits, they probably ask the landowners questions before the visit, or fill out answers while they’re onsite. But are they asking the important questions that will help you to determine if there could be a division of property resulting in a violation of the conservation easement, or other threat to it?

Words like “subdivide” can be confusing to people who aren't familiar with technical legal terms. So here are some simpler ways to phrase the question:

  • “Have you signed anything or agreed to any division of your land, even a tiny piece of it and even if you didn’t get paid?”
  • “Have you agreed to give rights of any kind to anyone else over your land?”

Asking this can help you to be sure that you’re on top of any potential legal issues that may be brewing.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 202-800-2248 for myself. Leslie will be out on sabbatical through September 11.

 

Thanks,
Hannah

P.S. Planning your 2018 budget? Terrafirma will have its first ever slight price increase of $3 per parcel starting with the 2018 policy - see more information here.

 

Slight rate increase for 2018

Terrafirma has helped land trusts like yours defend their conservation portfolios since March 2013, increasing services along the way. After almost five years of operation, 71 land trusts have used insurance coverage to address serious conservation challenges, and all Terrafirma members have enjoyed fixed premium prices. Terrafirma continues to be sound and stable. To remain so, though, rates must go up slightly in 2018.

Your elected representatives from across the county serving on the Terrafirma Members Committee, after months of deliberation and investigation, approved a modest, $3-per-parcel increase to the base premium for 2018. For more information about this process, please visit www.terrafirma.org/premium.

Terrafirma will continue to make every effort to keep future increases as low and as infrequent as possible. Currently, no other increases are planned. In the meantime, we’re here to help! Please let us know if you have any questions. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 202-800-2248 for myself or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.

 

When to turn off the nice switch

When should you consult an attorney on a problem you’re experiencing with a land owner? Some wait until a lawsuit is already underway or seems inevitable because of reluctance to involve lawyers. They don’t want to seem aggressive, or compromise a collaborative violation resolution.

However, earlier outside legal perspective can help you get the tone just right when resolving a dispute: not too nice and not too harsh. It can also help you avoid simple mistakes that can become serious obstacles later. Read “When to Turn off the Nice Switch” to learn more, and find a perfect balance.

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

Thanks,
Hannah

 

Please forward this to your stewardship, land management or legal staff, or anyone else who you think would find this useful!

 

Spring clean your easement language

Spring is a time of renewal in nature – and might be a good time to take a fresh look at the language your organization uses when you draft easements. Click here to see our new drafting pointers for risk balancing in conservation easements. In four information packed pages we give tips to help you avoid legal trouble and audits down the road, protecting land for many seasons to come.

We’re here to help! If you have any questions about easement drafting 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

 

P.S. Don’t forget to have any lingering claims filed by April 30, when the 2016 grace period will close! To file a claim for 2016, go to your welcome screen and click on “Submit a Claim” on the menu on the left side of your screen. You should see a dropdown menu that allows you to pick 2016 or 2017 for the policy year.

 

It's your lucky month! Pots o' benefits and grace

As a member of Terrafirma and the Land Trust Alliance, you have access to many great resources — plus help from dedicated staff!

On The Learning Center:

On the Nonprofit Risk Management Center:

 

Log on as a Land Trust Alliance affiliate by clicking on this logo on the right side of the Conservation Defense Clearinghouse home page and get free and discounted risk and insurance resources.

 

We’re here to help! If you have any questions about risk management resources 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
 
P.S. Please be sure to get in any lingering 2016 claims before the grace period ends on April 30, 2017. File a claim under your 2016 policy by heading to our website and clicking on your 2016 Application on the Welcome screen, then “submit a claim” from the menu on the left.

 

TerraBite: Heads up on Possible Rate Change in 2018

Terrafirma is about to start its fifth policy year with over 500 members, 50 covered claims, and over $1 million paid out for covered claims. Thank you, members, for keeping this shared conservation defense liability risk pool strong.

Since Terrafirma started in 2013, your premium rate has been stable because we know how dear every penny is for conservation. But inflation is picking up, costs are increasing and claims payments are growing. It is time to make sure that Terrafirma remains solvent and protects the capital and reserves that all the member land trusts have worked to establish.

The actuaries are crunching the numbers and making projections about when and how much premiums may have to increase to keep Terrafirma there for you. Our initial assessment indicates that an increase in premium fees may be necessary for the 2018 policy year. Please know, however, that the Terrafirma member-elected Members Committee and ARMS staff know that everyone is on a tight budget, and we remain committed to keeping premiums as low as possible.

We also are committed to keeping Terrafirma members informed and protected, which is why we are alerting you now about this process and timing. Thank you for all you do for lasting conservation. Let us know if you have any questions.

 

Thank you,

Leslie

 
 

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