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Fels seeks new CEO commitment on ESL

NSW Emergency Services Levy (ESL) Insurance Monitor Allan Fels has sought a fresh pledge from CEOs to “do the right thing” following the Government’s backflip on removing the charge from property policies.

The proposed July 1 switch to a council rates collection system is on the backburner following the Government’s decision.

Professor Fels says his office had been in touch with the largest insurers in NSW to outline its expectations.

“I have requested each insurance company CEO to pledge that they will do the right thing and comply with the guidelines, which include providing clear written communications to their policyholders about the levy’s continuation on property insurance policies,” Professor Fels said.

“The guidelines enforce the requirement for insurers to specify how much ESL they will charge in renewal notices, and also, for the first time, in online quotations.”

Professor Fels earlier this year required insurers to sign a declaration vowing they would not apply the ESL on NSW policies after its proposed removal this month.

His responsibilities have now switched to ensuring there is no overcollection of the continuing ESL, and the regulator’s tenure has been extended to June 30 2020 from an expected December 2018 end.

“We have extensive powers to collect data and question insurers,” Professor Fels said.

“Insurers have a duty to fully comply with the law. Penalties up to $10 million apply to insurers that do the wrong thing.”

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