Meet the Spokeswoman for the Mercury Initiative

( – promoted by Robert Cruickshank)

This week, Insurance Journal wrote a piece on the Mercury Insurance initiative based partly on messaging from Kathy Fairbanks, a paid PR consultant working at the beshest of…you guessed it, Mercury Insurance. To discuss the initiative with reporters, Ms. Fairbanks uses the guise as spokeswoman for Californians for Fair Auto Insurance Rates or Cal-FAIR — a front group Mercury has set up and funded for its deceptive initiative campaign.

Actually, Ms. Fairbanks works for a PR firm called Bicker, Castillo & Fairbanks, a public affairs firm specializing in issues management, grassroots advocacy and media relations.

The firm’s principles, Gwyn Bicker, Brandon Castillo and Kathy Fairbanks, have collectively managed more than a dozen successful local and statewide ballot initiative campaigns, and have been involved in numerous issues management, crisis communications and legislative grassroots and media support projects in the past decade. Issues addressed by the firm include: the environment, taxation, bonds, transportation, growth and development, government regulation and reform, local government finance, education, gaming, health care, energy and insurance, to name a few.

 Seeing her quoted so frequently, we took a look at her bio to get a better sense of her experience.

Kathy Fairbanks has specialized in developing, managing and implementing media relations and communications strategies for a broad range of clients whose policy concerns include education, healthcare, public safety, local government, insurance, housing, environmental and business issues.

 Okay, so not a lot of time spent on the meat of the issues. Maybe she worked for an Insurance Commissioner or an auto insurer.

Ms. Fairbanks has experience managing communications plans and message development for literally dozens of legislative and regulatory advocacy campaigns as well as on statewide ballot initiative campaigns. Recent ballot initiative campaigns include the following successes: No on Proposition 90 (eminent domain/regulatory takings-November 2006); No on Prop. 82 (tax increase/universal preschool-June 2006); Yes on Prop. 1A (local government funding protection-November 2004); Yes on Prop. 55 (statewide school construction bond-March 2004); Yes on Prop. 40 (statewide parks, water and resources bond-March 2002); No on Prop. 9 (electric utility deregulation-November 1998); and No on Props. 214 and 216 (mandated health care-November 1996).

 Guess not.

 More details at