Last month we wrote about Lyme Land Conservation Trust and their major victory for land trusts everywhere. What turned the tide in their favor? Persuasive Baseline Documentation Reports, which can include maps, descriptions, and photographs. President John Pritchard said these photographs were "critical to their case"--the judge was visibly moved by the before and after pictures that clearly displayed extensive damage. As you make your own plans for managing the property that your land trust holds, don't forget this crucial component.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about Baseline Documentation Reports 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.
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“We have a duty and we couldn’t shirk it.”
Executive Director George Moore spoke the truth when a reporter asked about Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s decision to go to court to uphold lasting conservation. For conservation organizations, upholding the spirit of conservation easements and protecting land that they own isn’t optional. It is a duty owed to neighbors, members, funders, the public, regulators, and the land itself. This is why Terrafirma insures land trusts when they need to sue as well when someone sues a land trust. Read the full story on this heroic defense of a rural community’s land ethic.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about filing claims 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.
P.S. You can now visit the Terrafirma website to download your policy, view the 2014 financial documents and Annual Report to Members, or *NEW* add newly acquired parcels to your policy any time during the year.
Every January, millions of people across America make a New Year’s resolution to volunteer more and give back to the community. To truly benefit from these good intentions, your organization should have a plan for how to support volunteers and handle the risks that come with them. From preventing injuries to preventing lawsuits, there are a lot of pitfalls that you can avoid with careful planning. To help you with this planning, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center is offering a FREE webinar for “Affiliates Only” on Myths of Volunteer Management. The webinar is on Wednesday, January 28 at 2pm ET. If you miss it, you can view the recording on the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Registration is simple. Just email Kay Nakamura and ask for instructions. Be sure to mention that you are a member of the Land Trust Alliance and therefore a Nonprofit Risk Management Center Affiliate.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about Nonprofit Risk Management Center Affiliate benefits or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.
When transit companies purchase insurance for their fleet of taxis or buses, they have to list every taxi driver or bus driver in their application. Conservation defense is similar. For each category of property right you choose to insure (conservation easement, trail easement, fee land, etc.) you have to list every parcel. If you leave out parcels owned by some landowners, it prevents Terrafirma from accurately determining how much your insurance should cost. Worse, it could cause problems later on when you’re trying to submit a claim. So make sure when you’re enrolling or updating your application to include all of the parcels for each category of property rights you’ve chosen to insure.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about listing parcels or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.
They say the best defense is a good offense. So if someone damages the conservation rights owned by your land trust or seems likely to do so, tell Terrafirma immediately. If it is a covered claim Terrafirma can help initiate a lawsuit to help you protect the public interest in the land. Remember:
- If a landowner is violating your easement or a neighbor is encroaching on your land, they may never initiate a lawsuit—why should they when they’re getting exactly what they want?
- Ignoring violations of easements or trespass could confer impermissible private benefit which could result in the land trust losing its tax-exempt status.
- Even if it looks like you are going to resolve the problem, you never know if it might come unstuck and then your Terrafirma claim might be too late.
Take note of trespass and violations early and notify Terrafirma of any possible claims.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about initiating lawsuits or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.
When is it better to come in second? For insurance, it's when you want to keep your premiums low. That's why Terrafirma is backup insurance. If you have other insurance (such as general liability insurance or title insurance) that covers a particular claim, Terrafirma will wait until you've exhausted that coverage before it starts to cover the claim. And Terrafirma may later let other insurance (such as D&O insurance for board members) cover counterclaims or crossclaims. By letting other insurers take first place in this situation, Terrafirma can offer you more coverage without charging an arm and a leg. You can read more about this in paragraph 3.9 in your Terrafirma policy in the exclusions section. The exclusions are also on the website here.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about exclusions or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.
When you need an expert report for a lawsuit, you may be better off getting your outside attorney to request it for you. Because lawyers don’t have to reveal their notes and correspondence in court where the land trust is seeking their legal advice, your lawyer’s discussions with the expert (and, depending on your state’s rules, even the report itself) can be protected from the other side. Being able to keep your disagreements with your experts confidential can really help your case. For more information, check out this practical pointer on attorney-client privilege.
We’re here to help! If you have any questions about attorney-client privilege or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.