I am surprised that there is any confusion in the minds of brokers (CII's No to 'Grandfather Rights' Sparks Furore – September 23) regarding the likely entry level for achieving Chartered Insurance Broker status for both individuals and their businesses.

It has always been made clear that the entry criteria would be strict if the broking fraternity wanted real professional recognition through chartered status, granted by the Privy Council under the auspices of the Royal Charter held by the CII.

If insurance brokers are to be regarded as being on the same professional level as (inter alia) Chartered Accountants then some very convincing arguments have to be submitted to the Privy Council. In this process, appropriate academic achievement is one of the principal elements that is generally considered as being essential.

It must not be forgotten that until some two years ago broker registration was awarded to all individuals who were able to show that they had the equivalent of five years broking experience.

There are many thousands of registered brokers that fall into this category.

Indeed many insurance broking firms like my own routinely lodged applications for registration for all members of staff as soon as they were qualified under the five-year rule. In the vast majority of cases these applications involved individuals that had no professional qualifications or awards for higher educational achievement. Unfortunately, there is very little prospect of achieving chartered broker status in these cases.

On the other hand, there are thousands of principals, partners, directors and other staff within the insurance broking sector who do hold insurance related qualifications or highly relevant degrees.

Chartered status should be made available for such individuals and their firms as recognition of their professional standing in the community.

As the chairman of a trade body it is my duty to do everything to convince the CII and the Privy Council that the criteria for chartered status should be as wide as is possible in order to embrace as many registered insurance brokers as is achievable.

However, on the other hand, I have to be realistic. If our demands for entry are too low then we run the serious risk of failing to achieve the chartered status for anybody.

I cannot praise the CII more highly for its guidance and input into this matter.

Currently it is preparing proposals, which will outline the entry criteria that should be acceptable to its own membership and the Privy Council. What we must avoid at all costs is the danger that our demands for access are so low that we jeopardise the whole project!

We have to be realistic enough to recognise that true and meaningful professionalism, which justifies public respect and recognition, never comes cheaply.
Simon Bolam

Examination is necessary
At the risk of upsetting my fellow brokers I must explain why I would resist any suggestion of allowing "grandfather rights".

When I worked with my father-in-law and one assistant in my mid 30's with a young family, I also studied every night for over two years to pass the CII exams.

I am not going to stand by and see that hard won qualification diluted by granting anything like it to someone who just happend to have been around for a while. Any Chartered status without an examination would be worthless and not demand respect from anyone.
Stephen A. Ross ACII
Professional Insurance Brokers.

Blind eye to ill winds…
I feel it necessary to comment on the Bacon & Woodrow annual household report, featured in Insurance Times on September 23.

Whilst I am in no way surprised by the claim that household insurance rates may have to rise five per cent, to compensate for increasing weather-related claims, I am astonished that once again the talk is only of rate increases, rather than of weather claim mitigation.

Meteorological advice and expertise has come a long way in a relatively short space of time – now offering a range of pertinent services and sound ideas.

However, in my experience in talking to dozens of front-line insurers and loss adjusters, the insurance industry in general remains in the dark ages of weather risk management – preferring instead to drift along wherever the ill-winds wish to carry them.

If anyone doubts that claim, then simply ask the question – how many meteorologists are employed within the insurance industry? The answer, (unless I am marginally mistaken), is none !

What a shame, what a scandal!

So, let me make my point crystal clear. Irrespective of recent weather damage, rates should not have to rise five per cent to maintain industry profitability.

Indeed, rates could actually fall by 10-20 per cent if insurers actually got their act together and had a more purposeful dialogue with the meteorological experts.

We're waiting !
Jim Dale,
Managing Director,
British Weather Services,
Weatherview House,
50 Beaumont Way,