Insurers who issue policies covering property in New South Wales and Victoria are required by law to bear a substantial share in the financing of the Fire Brigade Authorities’ annual operating costs. Under State Fire Brigade Acts, Australian resident brokers are required to act as agents for non-resident insurers. The Fire Brigade Authorities estimate their expenditure for the ensuing year and charge brokers an appropriate percentage of the annual contributions required from Resident and non-Resident Insurers based on their proportionate share of total assessable premiums. Insurers then attempt to recover these charges by way of a levy on each relevant policy.
In order to ensure that Australian brokers are not disadvantaged when placing business with Lloyd’s Underwriters and London market companies, the Australian Fire Brigade Charges Scheme was devised. Membership is subject to a formal agreement. The Scheme operates in accordance with a Scheme Manual. It is managed by a Committee of Management in London advised by an Australian Advisory Committee. The Committee of Management appoints a Scheme Administrator, which for many years has been PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia. The Administrator manages the collection of levies from and the payment of Fire Brigade Charges to brokers as well as the investment of surplus funds, if any. It prepares accounts on behalf of the Committee of Management.