Emergency Services Levy - FAQ's

Changes to the NSW ESL - Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, the ESL is a levy on insurance policies to fund the Emergency Services in NSW. This levy supports the work of Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service. ESL may sometimes also be referred to by its previous title of the Fire Services Levy (FSL). The amount of ESL/FSL paid is detailed on the customer’s policy schedule.

As ESL/FSL is only levied on insurance premiums, the NSW Government is moving to a fairer system. From 1 July 2017, the NSW Government is removing the ESL/FSL charged on insurance premiums and replacing it with the Emergency Services Property Levy, which will be paid in conjunction with local council rates. Councils will clearly show the new levy as a separate item on customers’ rates notices. This change in the method of collecting funding for the agencies listed above is intended to ensure all property owners contribute their fair share to the cost of emergency services, rather than only those with insurance. The Government has indicated this change will not reduce the funds available to the emergency services agencies.

For policies commencing from 1 July 2017, customers will no longer pay ESL/FSL as part of their insurance premiums. Until the ESL/FSL is removed, Ensurance Underwriting will continue to collect ESL/FSL from customers to meet its statutory obligations.

ESL/FSL is currently levied on all property and motor polices that carry a fire risk in NSW, including construction risks. See the legislation for full details of what policies are caught.

The NSW Government has appointed an ESL Monitor, to head and monitor the removal of the ESL/FSL. The ESL Monitor aims to ensure that any cost savings arising from the removal of the Emergency Services Levy are passed on in full.

To comply with our regulatory obligations, Ensurance Underwriting is issuing a notice as required by the ESL Monitor at the same time as a quote, new policy, or renewal is issued.

Ensurance Underwriting will issue the prescribed notice either electronically or in print every time it issues a quote, renewal notice or new policy. Brokers need to send this prescribed notice (or a link to it where it is an electronic quotation) to their clients whenever a quote, renewal or new policy is issued.

If you do not use schedules provided by Ensurance Underwriting and produce your own schedules, you will need to include the notice as prescribed in your schedule. This includes inserting your contact details in the section titled, ‘Please get in touch if you would like further information’. The ESL Monitor has instructed that the notice must be given every time an invoice or document which contains an actual dollar amount of any premium is issued. A blanket ‘mail-out’ to all customers will not satisfy the Monitor’s requirements.

It is a mandatory requirement that the notice include contact details should the customer wish to enquire about how the change will impact the cost of their insurance.

For all brokers and agents, customers will be directed to contact their ‘insurance broker or agent’ in the first instance, but will also be provided with an Ensurance Underwriting contact number 1300 794 079 and email customerservice@ensurance.com.

There’s no change to the way that ESL/FSL is treated when cancelling a policy. If a policy is cancelled according to the policy terms, a pro rata refund of ESL/FSL will be given.

Extensions to due dates or short terming of current policies in order to reduce NSW ESL/FSL charges will not be possible.

The ESL Monitor has set up a website at http://www.eslinsurancemonitor.nsw.gov.au that contains further information about the changes and their implementation.

ESL is charged as a percentage of your insurance premium, with different percentages for different types of insurance. You can find the amount of ESL you are paying on your New Business and Renewal policy schedule for home, contents and business policies.

Your insurance policy that began or was renewed before 1 July 2017 covers the ESL for the 2016/17 financial year. The ESPL to be included in your council rates will cover the 2017/18 financial year (commencing on 1 July 2017).

There will be no ESL charged on any policy being renewed or commencing from 1 July 2017. ESL may be validly charged in relation to policies commencing before this date subject to the insurer complying with the price exploitation guidelines and the law.

For more information about the NSW Emergency Services Levy and your Ensurance Underwriting insurance policy, please contact us on 1300 794 079, or speak to your insurance adviser.

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