With respect to insuring filled-in land, it is important to ascertain whether the addition of land was natural (accretion) or artificial (filled). A natural extension of land created by the gradual and imperceptible depositing of materials onto the existing land is known as accretion. In short – due to the motion of water – sand, sediment, and other materials wash up on land and remain there. Over a long period of time, the addition of such materials creates an extension of the land. In some jurisdictions, title to accreted lands may belong to the owner of the property who is sometimes referred to as the upland owner. Filled-in land, however, is neither gradual nor imperceptible. The fill may have been done by the owner of the property or others, such as the Army Corps of Engineers. Depending upon specific state law, the title to filled-in lands may remain with the state or, alternatively, if the state has no ongoing interest in same, may have been conveyed by the state to a prior or current upland owner.
A third type of additional land is artificially exposed land. Such exposure, of formerly submerged lands, most often occurs through drainage and reclamation activities normally performed by or on behalf of the state. As with filled-in land, the title may remain with the state, or if the state has no ongoing interest in same, may have been conveyed by the state to a prior or current upland owner.
Since filled-in or artificially created lands may remain the property of the state, prior to insuring same a conveyance from the state of such lands must be recorded, conveying title to same in the name of a prior or the current upland owner. If such conveyance is not forthcoming, an exception to the policy must be made excluding possible adverse ownership claims by the state from coverage as to those portions of land that comprise sovereignty lands not previously conveyed by the state or legally excluded from prior state conveyances of other types of lands.