Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is celebrating its four-year sponsorship of Team USA with kick-off ceremonies Thursday that include such famous Olympic athletes as Aly Raisman, Michelle Kwan, and Mike Eruzione.

Kayla Harrison, US Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo, and Paul Alexander of Liberty Mutual. Photo courtesy of Liberty Mutual.

Why the timing? Because exactly one year from today the Winter Olympics are scheduled to start in Sochi, Russia, said Paul Alexander, Liberty Mutual’s chief communications officer.

For the record, Liberty Mutual Insurance is an official sponsor of the USOC and of the 2014 US Olympic and Paralympic Teams in as well as a sponsor of those teams in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. The sponsorship designates Liberty Mutual Insurance as the official property and casualty and life insurance partner

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One reason to sponsor an Olympic team is to boost employee morale. But a more important one is that the sponsorship will enable Liberty Mutual to “scale up” its brand, Alexander said.

For the last five or so years, Liberty Mutual’s marketing mantra has been: “Responsibility. What’s your policy?”

“We’re looking to leverage our ‘responsibility’ positioning, and there are few better ways to do that than to be a sponsor of Team USA and the Olympics,” Alexander said.

Being an Olympic sponsor can also raise the company’s profile worldwide as it looks to grow overseas. Last year, for example, an acquisition helped Liberty Mutual enter the Russian market.

And one of the company’s biggest international markets is Brazil, site of the summer games in 2016.

Liberty Mutual is also a sponsor of FIFA World Cup, which is holding its big soccer tournament in Brazil next year.

It’s not easy marketing insurance. Which may explain why many insurance companies rely on cute animals, such as ducks and geckos, and slapstick humor in developing ad campaigns.

But as Alexander points out, Liberty Mutual doesn’t have a “spokes-critter.”

“My belief is that there is always room for a serious adult-to-adult conversation” about insurance, Alexander said.