A short newsletter of bite-size ideas to chew on for Terrafirma owner-member land trusts, released January, February, May, June, September, October and November.
We are excited to announce a pair of new features that should make life a little easier for Terrafirma member-owners – two steps at a time.
Please remember that Terrafirma applications and payments are due February 3, 2020. Land trusts awaiting a February Accreditation decision receive an automatic extension to February 24.
Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.
Conservation Defense Coordinator
P.S. As we start the new year, you might want to sit down with your attorney to review your easement template. They should understand what it takes to implement stewardship, and your on the ground feedback is invaluable.
You can now use Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers to pay your Terrafirma premium. The ACH is a secure network that is all digital. Terrafirma is all online: invoices, notices, applications, policies and payments. Starting with the 2020 application period – opening on Dec. 1, 2019 and closing on Feb. 3, 2020 – ACH transfers will be the preferred method of payment.
Terrafirma’s land trust members have increased to the point that payment processing is significantly more expensive. ACH transfers are better not just for the planet, but for keeping your premium payments lower. ACH transfers are also less risky than sending paper checks through the mail, with fewer opportunities for human error and oversight. Additionally, this new system will offer easier payment tracking!
Please note that an ACH transfer is not the same as a wire transfer. Terrafirma does not accept wire transfers. While ACH is free, wire transfers incur a fee both for Terrafirma and for the land trust. Terrafirma charges a $30 processing fee for any wire transfers received.
Terrafirma cannot accept credit cards, due to the expense of both processing and administration, as well as the price of having the appropriate controls in place to address the high security risk. These costs would be passed on to you, the policyholders.
You may be able to set up ACH transfers online with your bank by creating a transfer to an external account using Terrafirma’s account information. Alternatively, you can take this information to your bank manager to set up an ACH account to pay the premium annually.
We’re excited to bring you this new payment method. Have questions about ACH transfers? Visit our FAQ page or please let us know. You can e-mail us directly or call 202-800-2248.
Terrafirma is not like other insurance companies. It is a nonprofit, specifically created by and for land trusts. While a typical car insurance company would raise premium rates following a claim, Terrafirma does not. You can file a claim and give timely notice as soon as an issue begins without worrying about the price of your insurance going up. For a refresher on when to file a claim, click here.
The Terrafirma policy states that one deductible and one limit of liability applies to each claim or set of interrelated claims - but what does it mean for claims to be interrelated? Interrelated claims are based on the same facts or circumstances. Let’s say your land trust files a claim in 2014 for a landowner in violation of its easement, incurs $300,000 in legal costs, and then incurs an additional $250,000 in costs for the same issue in 2015. Unfortunately, you could not file an additional, separate claim for $250,000 - you would be limited to the $500,000 cap for all interrelated claims stemming from the violation. But there is a bright side! So long as these thorny issues stem from the same branch, you only have to pay one deductible for all interrelated claims. And that rose smells quite sweet.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about premium calculations, filing a claim, or anything else, please let us know. You can reply to this email, email us directly or call 202-800-2248 for me, 202-800-2219 for Lorri, or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.