Insurance industry supports NSW ESL reform

The NSW Government has introduced the emergency services property levy bill into Parliament this week, leading to the phasing out of the inequitable insurance levy once and for all.

The insurance industry has welcomed the legislation to remove the unfair and inefficient Emergency Services Levy (ESL) from insurance premiums.

NSW is the last mainland state or territory to fund its emergency services with a tax on insurance. The ESL adds about 21 per cent to home building and contents premiums, and also applies to some motor insurance policies.

From July 1, a new Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) will fund most of the requirements of NSW’s fire services and the State Emergency Service.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said: “The switch from an impost on insurance to a property levy will bring an end to an unfair and illogical system whereby only those who protect their assets with insurance fund these vital community services.

“By spreading the funding cost among all property owners, not just those with insurance, the government estimates most households will be an average of $47 better off each year.”

“Switching to the FESL will make insurance more affordable and should help to reduce the incidence of non-insurance and underinsurance in the community. Further, the move to a more efficient property levy is forecast to produce benefits for the NSW economy.”