ESL rates

Insurance companies are required to help fund the fire and emergency services in NSW.  Insurers generally reclaim their contribution by charging their policyholders an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on policy premiums in relevant insurance classes.

Each insurer will set an ESL rate at a level that will allow it to reclaim its required contribution amount.  As a result, different insurers may charge different rates of ESL on similar policies.  

Shopping around and comparing prices when taking out or renewing insurance policies could save you hundreds of dollars.

ESL rates to June 2019

Household - Current and historic ESL rates

The following tables show the historic and current average rates of ESL charged on home & contents insurance in NSW, and the range of ESL rates that have been charged.

ESL rates


june19HomeESL.png
Source: Insurance Monitor's ESL rates requests

Range of ESL rates charged

Date Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17 Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18 Jun-18 Jul-18 Aug-18 Sep-18 Oct-18 Nov-18 Dec-18 Jan-19 Feb-19 Mar-19 Apr-19 May-19 Jun-19
Minimum 15.7% 18.7% 18.5% 18.5% 21.0% 22.0% 21.0% 16.0% 16.0% 7.5% 7.5% 5.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 18.5% 18.5% 19.0% 19.0% 19.0% 19.0% 19.0% 18.5% 18.5% 15.5% 15.5% 14.5% 14.5% 14.5% 14.5% 13.5% 13.5% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 9.1% 5.7%
Average 22.1% 22.5% 22.6% 22.5% 22.7% 22.8% 22.2% 19.1% 18.3% 16.9% 15.3% 9.0% 2.0% 0.0% 10.1% 20.6% 20.6% 20.8% 20.8% 19.8% 19.8% 20.2% 19.9% 19.8% 18.9% 17.8% 17.2% 16.9% 16.5% 15.8% 15.1% 14.8% 14.2% 13.4% 13.1% 12.9% 12.6%
Maximum 24.0% 24.0% 24.0% 24.0% 24.0% 24.0% 23.0% 22.0% 23.0% 20.5% 19.5% 16.0% 6.0% 0.0% 20.0% 23.0% 23.0% 23.0% 23.0% 23.0% 23.0% 23.0% 21.3% 21.4% 21.3% 21.0% 20.0% 20.0% 20.0% 19.0% 19.0% 17.5% 17.5% 16.5% 16.5% 16.5% 16.5%
Range percentage points 8.3% 5.3% 5.5% 5.5% 3.0% 2.0% 2.0% 6.0% 7.0% 13.0% 12.0% 10.5% 6.0% 0.0% 20.0% 4.5% 4.5% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 2.8% 2.9% 5.8% 5.5% 5.5% 5.5% 5.5% 4.5% 5.5% 4.0% 5.5% 4.5% 4.5% 7.4% 10.8%

Source: Insurance Monitor's ESL rates requests

Commercial property - Current and historic ESL Rates

The following tables show the historic and current average rates of ESL charged on commercial property insurance in NSW.

June19CommercialESL.pngSource: Insurance Monitor's ESL rates requests

Motor - Current and historic ESL rates

The following tables show the historic and current average rates of ESL charged on motor insurance in NSW.

June19MotorESL.pngSource: Insurance Monitor's ESL rates requests

ESL increases - from July 2019

Budget increase

The amount insurance companies are required to contribute to fund the fire and emergency services is set by the NSW Government on a yearly basis.  

The insurer contribution amount has been relatively stable over the last few years, however, is scheduled to increase by 15% to $898 million in 2019-20.

The increase is largely to fund workers compensation reforms providing firefighters in NSW with greater access to compensation if diagnosed with a number of work-related cancers.  Further information can be found in the attached fact sheet: Changes to the Emergency Services Levy.

Impact on policyholders

As your insurer’s contribution requirement to the Government is rising, it is possible that the ESL rate your insurer charges you may also increase. 

Policyholders renewing or taking out insurance at different times of the year may face different impacts, depending on how individual insurers choose to pass on the higher contributions targets.

Fact sheet: The ESL - Budget increase                      

Renewal documents for most home & contents and motor insurance policies issued after 1 July 2019 will show the components of your total premium, including ESL charged,  this year as well as last year.  If you are concerned about the level of increase in ESL, or any other part of the premium, contact your insurer to ask for an explanation.  If you remain concerned about your premium or ESL charge, please contact us, and include copies of relevant documents. 

The Monitor has noted significant differences in premium prices, including ESL amounts, offered by different insurers for very similar policies.  Policyholders are reminded that it may be in their best interests to seek alternative quotes to find the best value policy for their needs.

The Monitor will be scrutinizing insurers' application of the ESL increases to ensure they do not use these budget changes as an opportunity to increase base premiums or charge unreasonably high premiums.