How changes to the NSW Emergency Services Levy (ESL) could impact you

Recent changes to the NSW ESL mean premiums in NSW could be going up. At GIO, the NSW ESL contribution we charge Home Insurance policy holders is currently 15% of the base premium.*

What is the Emergency Services Levy?

The NSW Emergency Services Levy (ESL), sometimes known as the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), is a payment that helps fund certain emergency services agencies in NSW. It means services such as Rural Fire Services (RFS), Fire and Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW), and the State Emergency Service (SES) are ready and equipped for when we need them most.

The NSW ESL is collected from local councils, insurance companies, and foreign insured policy holders.

There have been some changes to the NSW ESL over the last few years, including how the NSW ESL is collected, how much is charged, and what it goes toward.

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What changes happened to the NSW ESL in 2017 and 2018?

In 2015, the NSW State Government announced that it would stop collecting ESL payments through insurance premiums with effect from 1 July 2017, and instead collect ESL through local councils. After these plans were announced, insurance providers (including GIO) began removing ESL charges from premiums throughout the 2016-2017 financial year.

But in May 2017, the Government announced that these plans were put on hold, and as a result, insurance providers began to reintroduce NSW ESL charges on relevant insurance premiums in late 2017. If you weren’t charged an ESL in 2017, but were charged the following year, this is more than likely why.

What is happening with NSW ESL now?

New changes effective from 1 July 2019 make it easier for firefighters in NSW to claim compensation for work-related cancers (catching NSW up with most other Australian jurisdictions). It is expected that significantly more NSW firefighters will be eligible for loss of income payments, medical treatment expenses, and death benefits.

The expansion of the workers compensation benefits will be funded by increased ESL contributions. So, if your insurer charged your NSW ESL contribution at a higher percentage this year, that could be why.

How is my ESL calculated?

At GIO the NSW ESL is included in some premiums, including home, contents, and motor. As of July 2019, the ESL is 15% of a NSW GIO Home Insurance base premium.

For example, if your NSW Home Insurance base premium is $1,209.61, you might be charged an ESL of $181.44. Once stamp duty and GST are added, the yearly premium would be $1,667.88.*

GIO offers a range of Home and Contents Insurance options. At the moment, you can save 10% if you get a quote and purchase a new policy online.^

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

* GIO can change its NSW ESL rate.

^ Discounts does not apply to GIO Home Assist, Excess-free Glass or Domestic Workers Compensation optional covers.