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.


Posts tagged premium

Three changes for upcoming annual membership

Terrafirma’s annual membership confirmation opens on Dec. 1. Here are some important points to make it easier for you:

1.  NEW changed P.O. Box address to mail premium payments. Terrafirma has a new P.O. Box and will post the address as part of the application. Please use the new P.O. Box address for the 2023 premium payment to Terrafirma. Please notify your accounts payable to update their vendor list and change the Terrafirma address to use the new P.O. Box address.

2. Terrafirma’s premium increased from $63 per insured parcel to $67 per insured parcel. As highlighted in the May 2022 Terrabite, the Members Committee voted to increase Terrafirma’s premium from $63 per insured parcel to $67 per insured parcel effective for policy year 2023. The premium for land trust back-up holders or third-party enforcers increased from $31.50 per insured parcel to $67 per insured parcel. Current premium discounts and coverage limits remain the same.

3.  Risk management discount opportunities are still available. To receive the Terrafirma risk management discount on your 2023 policy, one member of your land trust will need to attend an approved risk management course. An approved risk management course must be completed every year to qualify for the risk management discount for the coming policy year and discounts cannot be retroactively applied. Here are some upcoming risk management events:

If you have any questions, please let me know. You can email me directly or call 802-249-7147.

Thank you,

Tom Kester
Operations Manager and Secretary
Alliance Risk Management Services LLC
Manager for Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC


Premium Increase for 2023 Policy Year

I hope you are well and enjoying spring. I wanted to give all Terrafirma members ample notice that after five full years of stable premium prices and also retaining all the original discounts, Terrafirma must increase premium for the next policy year in 2023. This is only the second premium increase in Terrafirma’s ten years of operation.

Like everyone, inflation has increased all of Terrafirma’s costs – some of them dramatically. Attorney costs on claims increased 15% for example, and investment market decreases negatively affected additional income that would otherwise bridge expense increases.

Terrafirma’s elected Members Committee wants to ensure that Terrafirma can pay the costs for every covered claim, provide members with access to highly qualified attorneys nationwide, and provide sufficient management of Terrafirma to meet regulatory expectations.

At the recent Terrafirma Annual Meeting, the Members Committee voted to increase Terrafirma’s premium from $63 per insured parcel to $67 per insured parcel effective for policy year 2023 (next year). Current premium discounts and coverage limits remain the same.

We understand that any premium increase is not welcome news to members. Both Terrafirma and ARMS work very hard to keep costs as low as possible. The two premium increases in Terrafirma’s 10-year history represents an annualized 1.1% increase from the original 2013 premium. All the discounts and original policy limits remain the same.

I am happy to answer any questions. Please write to me at tkester[at]lta.org. Thank you for your dedication to lasting conservation!


Tom Kester

Operations Manager

Alliance Risk Management Services LLC


Good things come in pairs!

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.

  1. There is a new quick and easy way to update claims on the Terrafirma website. After you submit a claim we ask that you send us updates every three months, up until now via e-mail. You can now just click the handy blue “Add Update” bottom at the bottom of each claim instead. This will make past updates easier to track, so you can see at a glance what you last wrote and when.
  2. There is a new payment option! In addition to the ACH transfer option that we announced in November, you can pay via online bill pay. See details here: https://terrafirma.org/payments

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
(202) 800-2248  |  


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.


Terrafirma payments are now online!

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 car insurance

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.

not like car insurance.JPG


A rose by any other name

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.

Thank you,


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