The NSW Emergency Services Insurance Monitor's (ESLIM) office will close on 30 June 2020 when the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor Act 2016 ("the Act") is repealed.
The ESLIM office supported the functions of the NSW Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor in relation to the reform of the Emergency Services Levy (ESL). Professor Allan Fels AO and Professor David Cousins AM were Monitor and Deputy Monitor respectively.
The Monitor was appointed to carry out a range of insurance consumer protection functions set out in the Act, including making sure insurers did not use the ESL reform to charge unreasonably high prices or mislead policyholders over the period of reform.
The ESL reform intended to shift the funding of NSW's fire and emergency services from an insurance-based model to a property-based model by 1 July 2017. However, this reform was deferred and the insurance-based funding scheme continues to provide the majority of the funding for Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, and NSW State Emergency Services.
Over his term in office, the Monitor’s investigations into the over-collection of ESL resulted in the return of $14.7 million of over-collected ESL that otherwise would have been retained by insurers. These monies have been returned directly to relevant policyholders where practicable, or were paid by insurers to the Chief Commissioner of State Revenue. Monies paid to the Chief Commissioner will reduce the insurance contribution target in future years and flow to the benefit of insured property owners in NSW.
In NSW, consumers are benefitting from the Monitor’s requirement that insurers include additional information in renewal documents. Since 1 July 2019 renewal notices must show the premium the insurance company charged last year, alongside the premium the insurer is offering in this year’s renewal. The price comparison requirement applies to home and motor insurance policies, as well as commercial insurance policies issued to small business policyholders.
Research by the Monitor found that insurers can charge significantly different prices to provide the same home insurance cover. Furthermore, loyalty is not always rewarded by your insurance company (see Monitor's discussion paper). On average, premiums paid by customers who renew their policies are between 25% and 30% higher than those paid by new customers. (See Monitor's pricing insights)
Don’t pay more than you need to: check your quote, compare other providers and choose the best value.
Monitor's functions and activities
Key functions of the Monitor included:
- Providing information, advice and guidance in relation to the ESL reform.
- Monitoring premiums for insurance policies subject to ESL.
- Receiving complaints relating to prohibited conduct (price exploitation or false & misleading conduct).
- Ensuring insurance companies do not recover more ESL from policyholders than they are required to pay to the NSW Government to fund the State's fire and emergency services, in accordance with the arrangements in Part 3A of the Act.
The activities undertaken by the Monitor since inception are outlined in the 16 quarterly reports that the Monitor has delivered to the Treasurer.
Policyholders - If you wish to know more about your ESL, or premium pricing changes contact your insurer for an explanation. Remember, prices vary considerably for similar policies and it may be in your best interests to shop around to get the best value.
Insurers - The Chief Commissioner of State Revenue has responsibility under the Emergency Services Levy Act 2017 (the ESL Act) for ensuring insurance companies who receive premiums for certain types of property insurance contribute to the funding of fire and emergency services in NSW. Further information can be obtained from the ESL Team at Revenue NSW or from their website