APPENDIX II: CONSIDERATIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN A FEASIBILITY STUDY RELATED TO THE TERRAFIRMA PROGRAM
- The private land conservation community operates primarily in the southern region of Canada on a landscape fragmented by competing uses, such as industrialization and continued settlement. Within this context, the importance of the land conservation community in the role of protecting species at risk, mitigating climate change, increasing climate resilience and supporting healthy ecosystem services is heightened. It will be important to understand:
- the risks the sector faces now and over the next few decades
- the model and scale of fund that will effectively serve the legal needs of the sector—does the community have the capacity to support an insurance reciprocal like Terrafirma?
- the pros and cons of various models, including the investment needed to implement, and ongoing costs—how does the model become self-sustaining?
- the level of buy-in needed by the sector to meet an operating threshold for an efficient program
A personalized study would examine key fundamentals within the private land conservation sector to inform the design of the program. Based on the preliminary study conducted by Terrafirma, a study of the Canadian context would cover:
- understanding the risk
- understanding the numbers
- refining coverage
- defining initial capital
- defining start-up costs
- defining limits
- defining coverage
- Private land conservation organizations depend on many sources of funding to meet their annual budget needs. The lack of an adequate defence fund puts their operations at risk, but it is difficult to address this funding gap without impacting their core operations. What impact would an insurance reciprocal program have on their core budget, and would additional funding sources be needed to help organizations benefit from the program?
- Terrafirma’s program that serves the private land conservation community in the United States has proven to be an effective model in building capacity for the sector and protecting the natural assets that its members steward. The fundamental metrics of the program show significant growth, such as a nearly 30% increase in membership and a 53% increase in protected land from 2013 to 2021.
The private land conservation community in Canada operates with significant gaps in legal protection that an insurance reciprocal could fill. To what degree can the Terrafirma model be adapted for the Canadian context?
- What would be the eligibility requirements and how would private land organizations best demonstrate due diligence and effective risk management as an incentive to governments and other funders to invest in establishing an insurance reciprocal? Does the experience in the United States demonstrate that a commitment to accreditation by land trusts translate into increased capacity and ability to legally defend conservation lands?
- Terrafirma grants membership to organizations that have met accreditation guidelines and those that haven’t, but that are meeting best management practices in their operations. Accredited organizations receive higher discounts in the premiums they pay. How could a national insurance program connect with the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices and build a framework that supports a pathway of continuous improvement? Can thresholds be integrated into the standards and practices so they aren’t overwhelming for small land organizations? Can discounts be given to organizations that meet criteria for improvement and thereby reduce risk factors?
- What is the value for funders in a national insurance program? Conduct additional research regarding their level of recognition of the value of standards and practices.