There’s never been a better moment for brokers to consider following the chartered route to professional excellence

This is a good time to be a professional working in general insurance (GI) and especially the broking sector. The economic conditions are certainly challenging, but the growing focus on professional standards is creating a market where qualifications, continuing development and ethical practice are recognised and rewarded.

Last summer, we passed the one-year anniversary of the Aldermanbury Declaration, devised by the Insurance Profession Taskforce to instil a commitment to common professional standards across GI and to create the foundations for a recognised profession.

The take-up of this has been truly remarkable; it’s a testament to the many firms in our sector willing to back aspirational talk of ethics and professionalism with tangible actions.

For most brokers signing up to the declaration, it will herald the first steps in a journey towards demonstrating professional excellence through training, development and increased numbers of qualified staff by the target date of 2013.

But for a smaller proportion of the broker community - those holding the CII’s Chartered Insurance Brokers status - compliance with the Aldermanbury Declaration is a reality today, as they have already met the stringent criteria the status requires. That in itself shows forward-thinking brokers across the UK putting themselves well ahead of the game and achieving the sales ‘gold dust’ of differentiation.

As the introduction to chartered status on the CII website sums up neatly, it’s “an opportunity for the best broking firms to demonstrate their professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge, capability and ethical practice”, so attaining the “gold standard of excellence and integrity”.

Achieving the chartered accolade for your firm is about being a professional adviser and proving that you have the capability to consult and advise on risk to handle complex insurance requirements. It’s about putting the client at the heart of everything you do and underpinning it with integrity.

Research shows that the chartered badge resonates with customers: it ranks number one for public confidence in professional standards”

Chartered Insurance Brokers status is a ‘kitemark’ that gives clients added confidence in your firm’s advice, and positions insurance brokers alongside more traditionally recognised professions, including accountancy and law. It says that your expertise has value. And research shows that the chartered badge resonates with customers: it ranks number one for public confidence in professional standards - higher than either fellowship or a degree. With almost 50% (46%) public recognition of the title, that’s five times more than any other.

Over 70 UK broking firms can call themselves chartered. But I believe many more are closer to meeting the criteria than they might think. A new microsite from the CII - - showcases the benefits of becoming chartered. Visiting it could be the start of the journey for your firm.

With a new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, on the horizon, broker professionalism - achieved through either the Aldermanbury Declaration or chartered broker status - only strengthens our argument that general insurance deserves different treatment within financial services.

But aside from those potential regulatory dividends, going for chartered status is also about recognition, customer loyalty, staff retention and giving something back to the profession that matters so much to us all. In other words, professionalism is its own reward.

For further information, visit:

Sandy Scott is chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute