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Terra remains the nation's oldest specialized professional liability firm to insure geoprofessionals and environmental engineers.


In the 1950s, there was only one professional liability insurer writing business for design professionals. However, as this carrier's geotechnical exposure grew, the losses became too significant, and around 1968 it cancelled the entire group of geotechnical engineers en masse and left them with no coverage at all.

To ensure they would never face this issue again, these engineers collectively formed Terra in late 1968 — a professional liability insurance company based in Bermuda devoted exclusively to insuring those in the geotechnical and civil engineering fields.

Terra's founders recognized that in order for them to succeed as an insurance company (which naturally assumes risk), their main focus had to be on risk management and loss prevention. To address those issues, they formed an association called GBA (Geoprofessional Business Association) to provide members with ongoing educational and professional development, as well as tools to reduce both risk and loss.

In the early 1970s, Terra helped capitalize DPIC — Design Professionals Insurance Company — one of the first organizations to offer PL coverage and active risk management to design professionals outside the geotechnical field. Terra owned a 46% interest in the company and was seated on the Board. By 1984 Terra divested its ownership in order concentrate on Terra’s own line of business — insuring geoprofessionals.


In 1988, Terra was recapitalized as a U.S. based insurance company called a risk retention group — a company owned entirely by its policyholders. Enticing prospective design professional clients who typically poured their premiums into an “insurance black hole”, Terra offered them not only PL coverage, but also a share in the profits and return on their investment as owners of the company.

The formula worked, with outstanding financial results. Those who participated in Terra's recapitalization saw their stock in the company achieve new record highs every calendar year — and an increase in book value per share from $10 in 1988 to more than $322 in 2012.

Additionally, in 1968 Terra experienced roughly one claim for every $250,000 in revenue produced by its policyholders. By 1988, this ratio had improved to approximately one claim for every $2 million, and today, it’s about one claim for every $26 million in revenue Terra insureds report to us.


Created by geoprofessionals, for geoprofessionals, Terra has always understood the risks specific to this profession, and how to help firms manage those risks. By focusing on financial and claim management, strict underwriting standards, risk management and loss prevention, Terra has succeeded in generating net income for all of its policyholders in every year of its existence.

Today, roughly 50% of Terra's business comes from geoprofessional exposures. The remaining 50% derives from broad based design professional exposures — primarily those in civil and environmental engineering.

Contact Us

Terra Insurance Company
2 Fifer Avenue, Suite 100
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Terra was first to:

  • Specialize in providing PL insurance to the geotechnical field.
  • Cover environmental liabilities shared by geotechs, civil engineers and other design professionals.
  • Compensate policyholders for professional education.
  • Require and support GBA peer review and reimburse policyholders for 100% of the costs of that review.
  • Support GBA membership to help manage risk and prevent loss.
  • Provide substantial unrestricted grants to GBA to support its programs and services.