Brokers have reacted furiously to proposals that chartered broker status might be awarded to only a minority of insurance brokers.

Last week Insurance Times reported the Chartered Insurance Institute, the GISC and BIBA were considering ruling out "grandfather rights" for experienced brokers. This would have allowed them to qualify more easily for chartered status – set to replace membership of the IBRC.

Instead, the parties were considering strict entry criteria for the profession based on exams set by the CII, said BIBA chairman Simon Bolam, who also expects only a minority of brokers to qualify.

Sean Jein, BIBA spokesman for the Essex area said, the embryonic plans have triggered a strong reaction from local members.

"The hum around these proposals has now become a roar. Brokers are seriously wondering if they were right in supporting the setting up of the GISC."

Jein stressed it was impractical to expect older brokers, especially in small family firms, to study for exams to become chartered brokers.

"It would be a huge hurdle to face and could spark a huge round of sell-offs and acquisitions. Older brokers would be unable to continue unless they were linked to a larger firm."

He speculated that this might be in the GISC's interests, since it would be easier to regulate a smaller pool of firms than the estimated figure of 30,000 potential GISC members.

Chris Giles, joint managing director of Scottish brokers Giles, called for a radical overhaul of the CII's existing exams structure in favour of continuous assessment. With between 10 to 15 members of staff taking the CII's exams each year, Giles said the exams have a high failure rate and were in danger of becoming out-dated.

"We feel the MBA is a better business qualification more suited to the demands faced by a modern insurance broker providing core skills in marketing, human resources and financial management," said Giles.

Steven Radford, CII spokesman, said the details of chartered status were still under discussion and would be raised at its conference in October.