Here at RAN, we know that fossil fuel companies can’t destroy the planet without outside help from the financial sector. The coal, oil, and gas giants of the world need insurance coverage to build any new projects and operate all existing ones. Big U.S. insurers like Liberty Mutual have been happy to provide that service for decades.
While insurers are supposed to be risk experts, Liberty Mutual is getting it completely wrong when it comes to the climate crisis. Instead of accelerating a just energy transition, the insurance giant is enabling the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, from oil and gas pipelines in North America to offshore drilling in Brazil.
With our partners, LittleSis, we dug into Liberty Mutual’s Board of Directors – the ultimate decision-makers at the top of the company – to help us understand why the company continues to fuel the climate crisis and trample on human rights.
Liberty’s board is deeply entangled with the fossil fuel industry, and we’ve got the receipts to prove it.
An astounding 9/13 Liberty Mutual board members (69%!) have close ties to and are personally profiting from extractive industries. Of those, 6 serve on the board of a fossil fuel company.
This presents a stark conflict of interest: Liberty directors are governing over and personally profiting from the expansion of climate-destroying fossil fuel operations while ostensibly guiding one of the world’s biggest insurance companies through the demands of the climate crisis.
Tell Liberty Mutual their board needs to break up with their fossil fuel connections:
For an in-depth analysis of Liberty Mutual directors’ fossil fuel links, check out our briefing on LittleSis’ website.
OR keep reading to meet these directors of destruction…
David Long: Chairman, President, CEO & Board Director
David Long is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Liberty Mutual Insurance. Last week, Liberty announced that he’ll be stepping down from his role as CEO by the end of 2022, but he’ll continue to serve on the board as Executive Chairman.
In addition to Liberty, Long sits on numerous Boston-area boards, including New England’s largest utility company, Eversouce, which is currently building a number of gas expansion projects across the region. Long made almost $500k in 2019-2020 alone from his position on the Eversource board.
Meanwhile, Long has refused to respond to dozens of requests from the Gwich’in Steering Committee, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust, and other frontline communities to meet and discuss Liberty’s role in insuring fossil fuel projects that are threatening their lands and livelihoods.
Joseph “Jay” Hooley: Board Director
On May 25, 2022, Jay Hooley became the new lead director at ExxonMobil – you know, one of the largest fossil fuel companies in the world. A 2019 Climate Accountability Institute report noted that Exxon was responsible for the 4th most carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of any company in the world since 1965.
Hooley is the perfect example of the conflict of interest with these insurance executives. As Lead Independent Director, Hooley now plays an indispensable role as the most powerful non-Exxon staff board member.
Martin Slark: Board Director
In addition to serving on the boards of Liberty Mutual, Hub Group, Inc., and The Northern Trust Corporation, Slark has been on the Koch Industries Board of Directors since 2017.
Koch Industries is a huge energy and manufacturing conglomerate – and one of the most powerful corporations in the country. For decades, the company, with Charles Koch at the helm (and previously his brother David as well), have funded a massive political network that has opposed any environmental and climate regulation that threatens their massive profits, as well as a host of other rightwing policies
Slark is tightly intertwined with the worst of the worst when it comes to climate change denial, climate destruction, and human rights violations.
Bill Van Faasen: Lead Director
What pot doesn’t Bill Van Faasen have his hands in? He’s been both lead director at Liberty Mutual and an Eversource director since 2012, where he received $2,037,212 in total compensation from the fossil fuel-intensive utility through 2020.
In addition, Van Faasen is also the former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
Annette Verschuren: Board Director
Annette Verschuren has been involved with fossil fuels for a long time, beginning her career with the Cape Breton Development Corporation, a coal mining operation in Nova Scotia.
While she’s Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., an energy storage development company, and has openly spoken about the risks of climate change, she remains on the Board of Canadian Natural Resources Limited, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world.
While she appears to be a proponent of clean energy, Verschuren remains directly invested in climate destruction caused by big oil and gas.
We Demand Immediate, Concrete Action
These decision-makers are actively undermining efforts to tackle the climate crisis and profiting off of the destruction of Indigenous lands, sacred waterways, biodiverse ecosystems, and our planet’s atmosphere. And yet they uniquely have the power to pull the plug on Liberty Mutual’s support for fossil fuel expansion.
We reject vague commitments about what Liberty Mutual might do in 30 or 40 years – we need to see concrete, ambitious climate action immediately. So we’re naming names and ramping up the pressure on these board members and demanding they do better for people and the planet, today.