Diploma in Insurance could be first step to mandatory exams.

The CII has launched the Diploma in Insurance which could be the first step towards a mandatory professional qualification for general insurance brokers.

The author of the qualification, Teresa McAuliffe, head of technical standards and design for Aon, said she would lobby the FSA to introduce the diploma as a basic qualification, putting general insurance brokers on a par with other professionals.

The first two-hour written exams for the diploma will be held in October, and will cover fundamental issues for both general retail and specialist brokers. The course will be offered as part of the CII’s range of qualifications, but is the first to be designed for brokers.

Peter Knowles, market director, general insurance at the CII, said: “We have not had any course specifically on insurance broking before at intermediate level, so the introduction of this new course on insurance broking practice is a significant development for us.”

Areas covered include the regulatory and legal environment, the role of the broker in meeting client needs, negotiating and placing insurances, the importance of selecting insurers, and the design and operation of insurance schemes. It will also cover claims negotiation, collection and payment, and risk services available from brokers and consultants.

Currently, the FSA imposes a minimum qualification standard on financial advisers but not general insurance brokers.

McAuliffe said: “If insurance is at the bottom of the heap along with estate agents and politicians for how you regard people, then within the insurance community, brokers are at the bottom of the heap. We’re part of the insurance industry so we’ve got to do something to try to increase the profile and the public’s trust in insurance. And how better to say we’re not an industry, we’re a profession.”

She added: “We also have to demonstrate and evidence how we’ve done this, and I certainly see this as one way we can stand up to the FSA with a standard that’s not just within Aon, but a public standard you can measure us against.”