What is Terrafirma's

overall philosophy on applications?

Terrafirma's overall philosophy is to provide the broadest possible coverage consistent with prudent business principles for the greatest number of private land trusts. Terrafirma's purpose is to defend and enforce conservation easements and to protect land owned by land trusts. In addition to conservation defense, Terrafirma focuses on prevention, good practices and strong precedents.  Terrafirma believes that land trusts are interconnected and togther can present a formidable collective defense. For this reason, Terrafirma hopes that land trusts participate in this insurance and risk prevention program. To that end, the application form and the process is as simple as possible.

What are the eligibility requirements for Terrafirma?

See the full list of Terrafirma eligibility requirements.

Why must the organization be a 501(c)(3)?

The IRS requires Terrafirma to have only 501(c)(3) members due to Terrafirma's 501(n) charitable risk pool status.

How do I apply for Terrafirma coverage?

First time applicants need to create an account on the Terrafirma website and start a new application. Returning applicants and members who are updating their information need only to log in to their existing account.

  1. Log in to your account and start your application to confirm your continued eligibility
  2. Add any new parcels, remove where applicable and update as needed.
  3. Click the “submit” button and send in payment. See details in the "Payment" section of the FAQ.

When do I apply for Terrafirma coverage?

Terrafirma only accepts new applicants during the annual enrollment period from Dec. 1 - Feb. 1. Once the enrollment period ends, new applicants will need to wait until the next policy year to apply.

Those in the February accreditation pipeline automatically receive an extension on their application until they receive their accreditation decision. This is so that you can apply the $11 per parcel accreditation discount, if accredited.

Why do I have to update my application every year?

Terrafirma members update their applications to confirm continued eligibility, add recently acquired parcels, and make any other updates. Regulators require this confirmation and account maintenance every policy year.

Do I have to insure all of my property rights?

Once you have chosen to insure a certain type of property, you must insure all properties in that category.

The categories are as follows:

  • Conservation easements
  • Owned land
  • Trail easements
  • Access easements
  • Deed restrictions

You can choose to insure any or all of the categories, but you must insure all properties within any one category. For example, if you insure one easement you must insure all easements. If Terrafirma allowed members to selectively insure only their most troublesome parcels, the risk pool would be too small to sustain coverage.

Do I have to purchase Terrorism Coverage?

No. You are not required to purchase Terrorism Coverage and it would not improve your coverage. Read the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act FAQs for more information.

Are the risks to owned land as great as the risks to conservation easements?

A survey of land trusts found that legal challenges to land owned by land trusts are less frequent and sometimes more expensive than those to conservation easements. While the issues may be different, the survey found no significant difference in the risk of legal challenges. General liability insurance or possibly directors and officers insurance may cover a suit involving a land trust that is sued regarding its owned land, but is unlikely to cover issues like trespass, in which the land trust must sue to protect its land.

When I'm entering my properties, do I need to enter all of them by hand?

No. Terrafirma has an arrangement with a third party who will do the upload for you for a fee of $1 per parcel. Please contact ARMS at , and they will send the required Excel template. Fill out the template and e-mail it to them, and they will add it to the website.

When I'm entering my properties, do I enter properties separately by tax ID?

No. Terrafirma insures by landowner, so if your easement on one landowner's property spreads across multiple tax IDs, you should enter it as one property.

When I'm entering my properties, do I enter properties separately by deed and easement or can I bundle together adjacent properties as one preserve?

Premiums are based on landowners, not deeds. For owned preserves, and for multiple deeds in one preserve that are contiguous, owned by the same landowner, conserved for the same purpose and held by the same land trust, you may count multiple properties as one preserve.

When I'm entering properties that have been divided, can I enter them together as one easement or do I need to enter them separately?

Premiums are based on landowners, not deeds. Once a landowner has exercised a division right and sold the resulting property to another landowner, you must enter the new property separately. A new landowner presents a new risk.

Will I need to send copies of baselines and organizational documents to Terrafirma to complete my application?

No. Terrafirma does not underwrite individual easements or fee land. Terrafirma only evaluates organizations based on their affirmation of eligibility and other statements made on the application.  PLEASE NOTE: If review of a later claim reveals a substantial discrepancy in the eligibility answers your land trust submitted that is material to the coverage (or to the adjudication of a claim), then Terrafirma has the discretion to deny coverage of that claim, rescind the policy, request corrective action, recalculate the premium or respond in any other reasonable, appropriate and proportional way.

Can you tell me more about the counting rules so I know when to enter things separately and when to bundle them together as a preserve?

See special counting rules here for divided easements, preserves assembled from many deeds, and for multiple easements granted by the same owner.

Can I insure additional parcels once my policy has already been submitted?

Yes. While you are not required to do so, Terrafirma strongly recommends that newly acquired parcels be covered as soon as possible. You can do this up until Dec. 31 of each calendar year. Simply select “Insure Additional Parcels” on the menu bar on the left side of your screen and click on “Add Parcels.” The price is not prorated.

Can I edit insured parcels once my policy has already been submitted?

Yes. Please contact for assistance.

 

 

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