We Gave Liberty Mutual’s Ads a Makeover

Our new spoof ad campaign exposes the insurance giant’s destructive climate and human rights record

posted by Elana Sulakshana

Did you know that Liberty Mutual spends $435 million on advertisements each year in order to sell more insurance policies? But what their silly ads don’t make clear is that the insurance giant is a top fossil fuel insurer, backing tar sands pipelines, coal mines, and oil and fracked gas extraction that is polluting communities and fueling climate destruction globally. 

We gave Liberty Mutual a rebrand in its hometown city of Boston to expose the devastating impacts of the company’s fossil fuel business on communities and the planet. From Back Bay to Fenway, we “hacked” more than a dozen bus stop shelters and installed spoof advertisements in a campaign to set the record straight on Liberty Mutual’s climate and human rights policies.

Big insurance companies like Liberty Mutual are key enablers of fossil fuel expansion that the climate cannot afford. No new coal, oil, or gas project can be built without adequate insurance coverage, and so if insurers like Liberty Mutual act, they can literally halt the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. As world leaders addressed the climate crisis in Glasgow at COP26, this guerilla advertising campaign exposed Liberty’s role in supporting climate-wrecking, rights-violating fossil fuel projects – and called on them to act.

Globally, more than thirty insurance companies have ended or limited their coverage for coal. Liberty Mutual’s coal policy, which has not been updated since 2019, remains riddled with loopholes that allow the company to continue insuring and investing in new coal projects. And Liberty’s policies remain silent on oil and gas completely. While fourteen insurers have limited or ended cover for tar sands oil, Liberty has not publicly commented on its support for the destructive sector and continues to back massive tar sands pipelines like the Trans Mountain network. The company is also a major insurer of TC Energy, the company building the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. Coastal GasLink is a massive pipeline that is being built to feed the largest fracked gas export facility and largest energy investment in Canadian history – and is in violation of Wet’suwet’en rights and title. Nor does Liberty have any stance on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, unlike eleven insurance peers.

Despite repeated invitations from communities in Alaska, Australia, Canada, and beyond, Liberty Mutual has refused every single request to meet from Indigenous leaders and frontline communities impacted by its insurance and investment practices – and have hardly changed their practices. In a scorecard report just released by the Insure Our Future campaign evaluating the climate progress of 30 of the largest insurers globally, Liberty Mutual ranked #20 on fossil fuel insurance, #14 on fossil fuel investing, and tied for last on other climate leadership. 

So we’re ramping up the pressure. 

We brought the campaign to the doorstep of CEO David Long

In addition to blanketing Boston in our rebrand campaign, we made sure our message reached Liberty Mutual CEO, David Long, who lives out in the suburbs in Dover, MA. First, we did so by making our demands heard loud and clear in the newspapers that are delivered to his doorstep. 

RAN volunteers – Rev. Christine Elliott and Rev. Mike Clark – published a powerful letter to the editor in the Boston Globe, with a direct ask to Mr. Long: 

“As Massachusetts residents and Liberty Mutual policyholders of more than 30 years, we call on Liberty Mutual CEO David Long to stop insuring fossil fuel expansion to save this place we call home. Save our friends, families, and communities from life-threatening flooding.”

This message was further echoed by an advertisement that RAN bought in the Dover-Sherborn Hometown Weekly, which is Dover’s weekly free newspaper. The town of Dover has experienced serious flooding in recent years – and it’s getting worse as the climate crisis intensifies – and so we highlighted Liberty’s role in fueling climate change impacts like flooding.

In case Mr. Long didn’t have time to read the news that week, we put up poster versions of our spoof advertisements and yard signs with our demands outside of his house.  

 

But instead of discussing our demands and Liberty’s climate policies with us, Mr. Long called the police and had the yard signs removed just minutes after we put them up. If only Mr. Long were as responsive to the impacts of climate chaos that are being felt across the world and to the communities reaching out about the destruction of their lands by fossil fuel companies that Liberty Mutual insures…

What’s next?

We’re committed to spreading these spoof ads widely to ensure that customers, current and prospective employees, and executives learn the truth about Liberty Mutual’s destructive business practices. Can you help get them out into the world? 

email Liberty’s marketing team to ensure they see the ad campaign

Spread the word on social media to jam up Liberty Mutual’s hashtags