Changes to the NSW Emergency Services Levy explained

What is the Emergency Services Levy (ESL)?

The ESL provides funding for services like fire, rescue and state emergency that keep the community safe in times of need. Most of the funding for these services is contributed by insurers from premiums charged on property and some other insurance policies, and paid to the NSW government.

What’s changing?

In a move to create a fairer system for everyone, the NSW Government is introducing a new approach to fund emergency services.

From 1 July 2017, the NSW Government is:

  • Removing the ESL charged on insurance policies
  • Replacing it with the Emergency Services Property Levy (ESPL), which will be paid alongside local council rates

SGIO welcomes this decision as a positive change for our customers. Emergency services are available to the whole community, and we agree that it’s fairer for all property owners, including those who are not insured, to contribute to the new ESPL.

For more information about what’s changing, please visit the NSW Emergency Services website

What does this mean for you?

From 1 July 2017, you'll no longer pay ESL as part of your insurance premium. Until the ESL is removed from insurance policies and replaced with the ESPL on 1 July 2017, we (and all insurers) need to continue collecting the ESL from you to meet our obligations to the NSW Government. After that date it will no longer be applied across our products.

Will the cost of my insurance premium fall?

There are many factors that influence insurance premiums but most SGIO home, contents and business customers in NSW should see a fall in the cost of their total insurance premium when the ESL is removed.

How do I know how much ESL I'm paying?

ESL is charged as a percentage of your insurance premium, with different percentages for different types of insurance. You can find the amount of ESL you're paying on your New Business and Renewal policy schedule for home, contents and business policies.

Have any more questions?

For more information about the NSW Emergency Services Levy and your SGIO policy, please contact us on 133 233 or speak to your insurance adviser.

Frequently asked questions

What do I get for paying the ESL?

Your ESL payment helps fund a significant amount of the fire and emergency services in NSW, which helps everyone in the community when they need it.

Does this change affect all insurers?

Yes, this is a NSW Government reform that affects all insurers operating in NSW. 

Will I get a refund on ESL if I cancel my policy?

There’s no change to the way that ESL is treated when cancelling a policy. If a policy is cancelled according to the policy terms, a pro-rata refund of ESL will be given.

If I've already paid through my insurance, will I have to pay through my council rates too?

You won’t be paying ESL twice. Your insurance policy that was started or renewed before 1 July 2017 covers the ESL for the 2016/17 financial year. The ESPL, to be included in your council rates, will cover the 2017/18 financial year (commencing on 1 July 2017).