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ICA for levy monitor role to be reconsidered

August 15, 2018

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has called for the NSW Government to reconsider the continuing role of the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan told a NSW parliamentary inquiry hearing that ongoing information requirements imposed by the monitor are extensive and costly to meet.

“It is hard to see a connection between much of the monitor’s current activity, such as a report on insurance and big data, and his levy monitoring role,” he told the hearing today.

“Given the insureds pay for the monitor through the ESL, the Insurance Council recommends that this role be reconsidered in light of the Government’s ultimate policy intentions.”

Monitor Allan Fels and Deputy Monitor David Cousins were appointed to ensure savings were passed on as the state shifted from an insurance-based levy to a property-linked charge collected through local government rates.

But the Government, led by the Liberals’ Gladys Berejiklian, backflipped on the change last year and reintroduced the levy, while the monitors’ role is set to continue until June 2020.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) said warnings of bill shock from the reintroduction of the levy had proved correct this year, with many buyers hit hard by the increases.

“With the reinstatement of the insurance levy for renewals in May and June, that had a very significant impact on business owners and property owners, and in some cases went to the very heart of the affordability of their insurance cover,” CEO Dallas Booth told insuranceNEWS.com.au after the inquiry’s morning session.

The ICA and NIBA highlighted that NSW continues to be the only mainland state that funds its fire and emergency services through an insurance-based levy.

The NSW inquiry was established on June 22 last year to report on the funding of the fire and emergency services levy. A second round of hearings will be held next Monday.

Mr Booth said there was a risk the issue could get caught up in politically motivated arguments leading into the March 23 election next year, despite strong support for change in submissions to the inquiry. 

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