In a rapidly changing world, insurers are innovating their communication and emphasizing the “green” and sustainable nature of investments. This durability is not always verified or recognized by certification bodies. To avoid excesses and misleading practices, the AMF and the ACPR are stepping up to the plate.
Why do life insurers insist so much on the ecological nature of the funds they sell to the French? The Autorité des marchés financiers has already answered this question in a report published in September 2021.
According to two studies commissioned by the Constable of the Stock Exchange, the French are more and more sensitive to the environmental impact of their financial investments. 76% of savers believe that the ecological or solidarity nature of an investment is an important argument. The survey also shows that 17% of respondents already have one or more investments qualified as sustainable or responsible. And this proportion continues to increase.
Strengthen the monitoring of eco-responsible investments
The publication of the AMF report in September coincides with a constant increase in the offers of investments presented as responsible or solidarity-based on the financial markets. The certification labels follow the same progression curve. Today, an individual who carries out a life insurance simulation will probably find media with a Greenfin, Finansol, CIES or ISR label for French products. At European level, the FNG, Towards and Luxflag labels also attract investors. Only problem,
Important The promoters often exaggerate their communication concerning the certifications or the ecological and responsible side of their savings products.
These excesses are not lost on the European financial authorities, who have multiplied in recent months the checks and calls to order. Financial watchdogs would like all distributors to add more environmentally friendly investment vehicles to their portfolio. Nevertheless, the authorities want to ensure that the communication of the promoters is in line with reality and does not constitute a greenwashing maneuver intended to deceive savers.
Excessive use of the ecological argument
To justify their intervention, the AMF and the ACPR rely on the results of a joint market survey carried out in 2021. The two organizations were “embarrassed” by the results of this report.
Important According to them, life insurance goes too far in using sustainable development and the preservation of the environment as selling points to savers.
The authorities consider that the “green” nature of investments is not always justified in the majority of cases. This market survey has highlighted the extent of practices or attempts to greenwash life insurance contracts. The financial authorities intend to curb this phenomenon, which is considered a priority by the director of the control of commercial practices of the ACPR. For Grégoire Vuarlot, the greenwashing of life insurance goes against the interests of consumers.
The AMF and the ACPR are already working on a list of recommendations addressed to life insurers. The authorities also plan to engage in frank discussions with the Paris marketplace during the summer, without however providing a precise timetable. They recall that assessing the environmental impact of an investment remains a complex task. Such an operation requires analyzing the composition of the contract and of each unit of account that constitutes the underlying of the savings product.