Access to insurer data key to proposed NSW ESL funding reform

New legislation introduced by the NSW Government requires insurers to share their data to help ESL reform.


New legislation has been proposed, which requires insurers to share their data with the NSW Government, in a bid to reform the funding arrangement of the state’s emergency services.

An amendment to the Emergency Services Act 2017 has been put forward in the state parliament, and if passed, it would allow the NSW Government access to anonymised insurer data. This data mainly revolves around the premiums on insurance policies and in particular, a breakdown of what the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) component of those premiums.

The data would be suitably anonymised in line with privacy considerations, and the NSW Government expects this insurer data to play a significant role in helping come up with a sustainable future funding model to replace the current ESL funding arrangement that’s in place. Currently, NSW remains the only mainland state in Australia that has a tax on insurance to fund its emergency services.

The ESL in NSW accounts for about 18% of the cost of insurance for households. This cost goes up to 30% (or more) for businesses. 

“It’s imperative that the government has access to the latest data held by insurers,” said NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey.

“This is information that will help the government to model a new system that can sustainably fund NSW emergency services.”

The move to amend legislation such that insurer data can be accessed comes on the back of the establishment of the Stakeholder Reference Group – a panel of cross-industry experts that’s guiding the government as it moves ahead with reforming the ESL scheme and making the funding of emergency services more sustainable in the future.

The NSW Government is expected to release a public consultation paper in due course outlining proposed reforms to the ESL scheme.