The Emergency Services Levy

If you have a property, contents or motor insurance policy in NSW, you have probably paid an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) with your insurance policy to help fund the fire and emergency services.  

Insurance companies selling certain types of general insurance policies are required to provide the NSW Government with funding for the fire and emergency services each financial year.  In the financial year 2019-20, insurers were required to contribute $897.6 million towards the funding of the fire and emergency services in NSW, up from $780.4 million in 2018-19. Services funded are Fire and Rescue NSW,  NSW Rural Fire Service, and NSW State Emergency Services.    

Insurers generally reclaim their contribution amount paid from their customers by charging an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on policy premiums in relevant insurance classes.

The amount of ESL charged is set by each insurance company, which means that different companies may charge different rates of ESL for similar insurance policies.


Policies subject to ESL

ESL may be charged on certain types of general insurance policy, as outlined in Schedule 1 to the Emergency Services Levy Act 2017 ("the ESL Act").  The ESL Act requires that ESL charged on house and contents insurance policies and commercial insurance policies must be itemised separately on your policy documents. 
A small amount of ESL is also included in motor insurance policies. 

Insurance categories which may include ESL

1.    Commercial Property & ISR
2.    Residential building and or contents insurance (household insurance)
3.    Personal combined on Jewellery & clothing, personal effects and works of art
4.    Motor vehicle and motor cycle
5.    Marine & baggage
6.    Combined fire & hail on growing crops & Live stock

The ESL Act is administered by the Chief Commissioner of Revenue NSW.

In April 2020, the Chief Commissioner published Practice Note CPN015 which explains how the ESL Act is administered, including key aspects of the assessment of initial and final assessments, and the interpretation of key terms used in the legislation.