The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) says there is strong demand from the industry to invest in sustainable investments, particularly those in infrastructure development, but the industry’s capacity to invest is not matched by the sustainable assets available. More, they say regulation that will allow the life and health industry to invest in government projects has been hung up in development for more than three years.

In a submission to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding targeted infrastructure investment that will influence social, economic and environmental outcomes, the CLHIA says Canadian life insurers are a leading source of long-term financing for infrastructure development, participating in projects ranging from roadways and public transit to wastewater systems. “In 2018 life and health insurers had over $45-billion invested in domestic infrastructure,” they write.

They add that Budget 2018 made changes to the Insurance Companies Act that were intended to give life insurers greater ability to invest in such projects. “The regulations required to bring these changes into force have been pending for nearly three years,” the association says.

In addition to working with the government to address the lack of sustainable assets for investment, they say they recommend the government leverage the industry’s investment capacity to expand and accelerate long-term infrastructure projects. “We would encourage the government to develop government policies and bring forward regulations to encourage private investment in infrastructure,” they add. “As a substantial investor in the Canadian economy, the life and health insurance industry is well positioned to support this transition through its substantial capital available to invest in sustainable infrastructure.”