Have you ever looked at your landlord insurance premium and seen an extra charge for ESL (also known as FSL)? Well, you are not the only one. This is what you need to know…
ESL (short for Emergency Services Levy) is a fee collected by insurance companies and paid to the New South Wales Government to help fund the fire and emergency services across the state.
So, if you have home, contents, or landlord insurance, you will pay this fee (which can go up and down) on top of your annual insurance premium.
TIP: While it is commonly referred to as ESL, EBM RentCover policyholders will see FSL appear on their invoice – FSL is short for Fire Services Levy, and it is essentially the same thing as ESL.
To help you better understand how this impacts you, here are some common questions we get asked about ESL…
Why is ESL added to insurance premiums?
Every financial year the NSW Government requires insurance companies who sell certain types of insurance to contribute funding for the state fire and emergency services including Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Services.
How much is ESL?
In the 2020-2021 financial year, insurers will be required to contribute almost $1.1 billion. To meet this obligation, insurance companies charge policyholders a percentage of their total contribution on top of their insurance premium (otherwise known as the ESL).
What properties are impacted?
All properties insured by EBM RentCover in New South Wales will see ESL added to their insurance premium. NOTE: Impacted landlords may notice there is a higher amount charged for ESL on new business and renewal premiums from 1 October 2020.
How do other states fund ESL?
NSW is the only mainland state to require ESL through insurance premiums. Other states apply the levy to property rates. Some argue that this is fairer as the cost of the emergency services is spread across all property owners, not just those who take out insurance.
I heard ESL was being abolished in NSW – is that the case?
At one point the NSW Government announced it would follow in the footsteps of other states and fund the ESL through property rates. However, the government decided against this change and the levy remains on property insurance premiums in NSW.
What do NSW landlords need to do?
They don’t need to do anything. Contributions are automatically included in NSW policy premiums (on invoices, this will be noted as 'FSL'). EBM RentCover will keep you updated as changes are made. If you are unhappy about paying ESL as part of your premium, you can contact your local member of parliament and let them know your concerns. Here is some more info about having your say.
Got more questions?
If you have more questions about ESL and premium changes, we are here to help. Contact EBM RentCover on 1800 661 662.
*While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact the accuracy of this article. If you need us we are there, contact 1800 661 662 if you have any questions.
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