Am I required to list all of my properties on the application?

For each category of property right you choose to insure (conservation easement, trail easement, fee land, etc.), you must 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 try to submit a claim.

 

What are the rules for counting properties for the Terrafirma application?

 

1. Each exercised division right under an insured conservation easement, trail easement or deed covenant at the time of each annual application is counted as a separate conservation easement with an additional $60 premium. If the divided parcel is not subject to an insured conservation easement, trail easement or deed covenant, then no additional premium is charged and no coverage provided.

2. Separate easements that are fully and legally merged in one ownership may be treated as one easement. (Please note that though a property may be described as containing several legal parcels, or taxable parcels, or assessed parcels, if conserved under one easement then the property would be treated as one complete parcel.)

3. Fee-owned reserves comprised of multiple parcels may be treated as one insured unit with one annual premium payment rather than the multiple premiums for units acquired under separate deeds, but only if both of the following conditions are met without exception:

a. Each deeded parcel must be owned in its entirety and exclusively by the same entity.

b. The collection of parcels must form in the aggregate a contiguous, compact conservation reserve operated as a single unit.

4. Multiple conservation easements may be treated as one insured unit with one annual premium payment rather than the multiple premiums for multiple conservation easements, but only if all the following conditions are met without exception:

a. Each conservation easement is held by the same land trust or the same set of co-holders.

b. Each underlying parcel must be owned in its entirety and exclusively by the same landowner.

c. The land covered by the conservation easements must be contiguous.

d. Each conservation easement is substantively identical in terms of restrictions and permitted uses. (Land trusts will be asked to provide copies of the conservation easements they wish to be treated as one unit.)

If the property and the easement have been subdivided but are in identical ownership, it is still treated as one conservation easement.

 

Why doesn’t Terrafirma count properties the same way as the Accreditation Commission?    

Land trusts sometimes have many small lots with different owners under the same easement. The Accreditation Commission lets land trusts group these lots into one parcel, under one easement.

With Terrafirma, however, properties may only be combined into one parcel if they have the same owner, are contiguous, and have the same conservation values. 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. This decision is based on historical observation and actuarial verified data showing significantly more risk.

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