Life insurance: Socially responsible investment is growing


Has long been considered lagging behind in terms of “sustainable” finance, is life insurance catching up? The figures released on March 30 by France assureurs (the former French Insurance Federation) show in any case a leap forward in 2021 in this area. With a 33% increase in outstanding units of account (CU) bearing at least one sustainable finance label.

Within life insurance, units of account are investment vehicles that do not offer a capital guarantee, unlike euro funds. In total, according to France insurers, it is thus 123.9 billion euros that are invested through units of account labeled either ISR (state label for socially responsible investment) or Greenfin (state label for products dedicated to “green” finance) or Finansol (label dedicated to solidarity finance).

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This € 123.9 billion invested in “durability” represents a quarter of the outstanding units of the life insurance account at the end of 2021 (€ 499 billion) and just under 7% of the outstanding amount. total life insurance, funds in euros include, so this time (1,876 billion).

“A social need”

From the beginning of 2020, all new multi-support life insurance contracts, ie with units of account, must offer, at the choice of the insurer, at least one unit of SRI account, or one unit solidarity fund (the “buffered” fund must in particular devote 5% to 10% of its assets to the financing of social solidarity solidarity companies, called ESUS) or a Greenfin unit of account.

And since the beginning of 2022, it is at least one unit of account in each of these three categories that must be proposed in all new contracts. Obligations under the Pact Act (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation), passed in 2019.

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More and more units are developing, “It’s not because it’s an obligation,” but because they “Meeting a social need”Florence Lustman, President of France Insurers, said during the presentation of these figures, referring to “A request from insured, looking for meaning for their savings ».

Outstanding solid and Greenfin CPUs

The “sustainable” units of account listed here are actually mostly SRI-labeled funds (they weigh € 123.4 billion) – the outstanding shares of the solidary and Greenfin CPUs remain low, at only 1.1 billion and 4.2 billion euros, respectively, according to data from France insurers.

In practice, units of account can carry several of these labels (which is why the sum of investments per label is greater than the total “sustainable” investments in units of account).

It should be noted that the figures presented by insurers are much higher than those published in September 2021 in the report of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the Pact Act, a difference that the federation partly explains by methodological issues.

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