Calif. Considers Encouraging Insurers to Go ‘Green’

August 17, 2010

The California Senate Appropriations Committee is considering a bill that would establish a new program to encourage insurer investments in qualified environmentally friendly investments. Specifically, AB 1011 would authorize insurers to claim a tax credit against the gross premiums tax equal to 20 percent of qualified investments that emphasize clean energy projects, energy efficiency improvements, environmental technology projects and other investments that conserve natural resources or reduce green house gas emissions.

According to the bill text, exisiting law requires each admitted insurer to provide information biennially to the Insurance Commissioner on all of its community development investments and community development infrastructure investments. The commissioner and the Department of Insurance are required to provide certain information on these investments to the public, as specified. These provisions are to remain in effect only until January 1, 2011, and are repealed as of that date.

This bill would make findings and declarations relating to California’s role in greenhouse gas reduction, and would include green investments, as defined, as community development investments.The bill would require the commissioner, on the department’s Internet Web site, to biennially identify those insurers that make investments that qualify as green investments and the aggregate amount of identified insurer investments in green investments. The bill would extend the date for repealing those provisions to Jan. 1, 2015.

“By increasing incentives for reduced driving, the building of ‘green buildings,’ investments in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects, and the conservation of natural resources, the insurance industry can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the bill’s authors said.

The Association of California Insurance Companies, an affiliate of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and represents more than 300 property/casualty insurance companies doing business in California, said it supports the bill.

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