Biba and the CII have defended the CII's new charter status for brokers.

The CII announced last week plans to offer broking firms chartered status, which it claimed would raise professional standards in the insur-ance industry (News, 10 May).

But critics said the move was a way for the CII to make extra money and would overlap with Biba in a number of areas.

One senior broker said the CII's move to accredit firms, in addition to individual members, was over-lapping with Biba. "You do not have individual members belonging to Biba. The CII is clearly entering its territory. Why should people and firms pay twice? There are going to be overlaps," said the source.

Terry Stanley, sales and marketing manager at Broker Direct, also expressed reservations about the charter. "The potential danger is that the public would just assume that a chartered broker would be better. All it actually means is that they've paid some money."

And Grant Ellis, chief executive of Broker Network, said that the CII had a huge challenge ahead in trying to make the charter recognised. "I can't understand how it proposes to select people to allow them to become chartered brokers and what criteria it is going to use to police it."

But Biba chief executive Eric Galbraith dismissed criticisms and said that through the charter status, Biba members would only benefit. "Clearly there's a cross over in a number of areas, so we'll be looking at how it works." But he stressed that it was still "very early days" to give details on how the charter status would work in practice.

Lee Gladwell, marketing and sales director at the CII, added: "We know that many Biba members are keen to apply and will hopefully succeed in gaining this status."