Demonstration at Liberty Mutual headquarters marks second anniversary of Tubbs Fire in California
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October 8, 2019 – Today, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), in conjunction with Insure Our Future and Mothers Out Front, staged a protest at Liberty Mutual’s headquarters, formally launching a campaign demanding the top fossil fuel insurer to take responsibility for its role fueling the climate crisis. The launch falls on the two-year anniversary of the Tubbs Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California at the time.
“Within two weeks of the Tubbs Fire, Liberty Mutual sent us a notice that informed us that our homeowners insurance would be canceled as we were deemed to be residing in an area at high risk from wildfire,” said Melinda Shaw from Cloverdale, California. “Liberty Mutual is abandoning its long-time clients after ever increasing climate-related disasters, leaving them vulnerable, while simultaneously insuring companies in the fossil fuel industry that drive these crises. This company’s hypocrisy is shocking.”
Liberty Mutual is a top global insurer of coal, oil, and gas. It also invests more than $6.6 billion in fossil fuel companies, including $1.5 billion in thermal coal.
“We are here today because Liberty Mutual has refused more than fifteen requests since July 2018 to discuss its support for the fossil fuel industry. We will continue to spotlight the company’s role in driving climate change until Liberty Mutual takes bold action in the face of the growing climate emergency,” said Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at RAN. “Without insurance, no new fossil fuel projects can be built and existing ones must be phased out, which is the pathway we urgently need to be on to keep global temperature rise below 1.5ºC.”
The Insure Our Future campaign is demanding that Liberty Mutual immediately stop underwriting coal and tar sands projects and companies, start divesting from coal and tar sands companies, and align all business activities with limiting climate change to 1.5ºC.
The campaign on Liberty Mutual follows a string of recent victories from the global coalition of which RAN and Insure our Future are a part. Thirteen European and two Australian companies have already adopted policies restricting coal insurance, and four of these have restricted tar sands insurance as well. In July, Chubb became the first U.S. insurer to follow suit, implementing a policy on coal insurance and investments, but the rest of the U.S. industry is lagging behind.
“With ever-worsening wildfires, floods and storms, the U.S. insurance industry is reeling,” said Mary Cerulli, with Mothers Out Front in Boston, a volunteer network that builds power to ensure a liveable climate for all children. “In Boston, we are already seeing unprecedented coastal flooding. It makes no sense for an insurance company, especially one headquartered here, to fuel the climate crisis knowingly.”
Insure Our Future, made up of leading environmental and consumer rights organizations, pressures the insurance industry to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. It is supported by 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Public Citizen, and Sierra Club, among others.