Updates to Corporate Accredited Membership Criteria

Date: 30th November 2021
Author: BDMA

Following almost two years of review and consideration the directors of the BDM are pleased to announce an update to the Corporate Accredited Membership criteria.

The updated criteria fall into two distinct areas.

The first criteria is focussed on the number of accredited technicians in an organisation that are “client-facing”. Client-facing is a broad term but really reflects those people who will interact directly with customers in any capacity relating to claims handling. It won’t include back-office finance staff or business development staff, for example. We chose to revert to the requirements outlined in our original byelaws – that 25% of client-facing staff are accredited. It’s important to note that this doesn’t just include restoration technicians, we have a diverse membership including insurance, claims and commercial damage management technicians as well as specialist restorers – we wanted our Corporate Accredited Membership to reflect this diversity.  It should be possible, therefore, for a broad variety of organisations to approach us for accreditation, we would hope to see applications from insurers, brokers, claims management companies, loss adjusters and assessors and, of course, restoration businesses.

Part of the BDMA’s original purpose was to act as a representative body for the sector, but with only a small number of corporate accredited members it is hard to do that effectively. We hope that by removing some of the barriers to Corporate Accredited Membership we can grow the membership base in order to get more engagement from and with members, better represent the views of the members and drive standards forward. We are also aware that many of the businesses involved in the sector are based on a franchise model, these changes should make Corporate Accredited Membership more accessible for small firms, including franchisees.

This brings us on to the second criteria. Members may be concerned that reducing the necessary ratio of individually accredited members within a firm would negatively impact standards. Our view is that the way we assess professionalism should be broader than simply looking at qualifications. To this end we now require Corporate Accredited Members to have in place core values, business practices, and a diversity and inclusion policy that align with the BDMA Code of Ethics. Typically, we would like to see:

  • Company Code of Conduct/Ethics
  • Company Professional Development Program
  • Or similar documentation that aligns with our Code of Ethics

These requirements align with many other professional bodies that grant corporate accreditation or chartered status.  Having Codes of Conduct in place alongside other policies and procedures are a great step for businesses, along with them to control risk and burnish their reputations. Many of these policies exist to guide and protect staff and safeguard the interests of customers. In the case of franchisees, they should have their own version of these policies, even if they reflect the content provided by the franchisor.

The BDMA team will also look at the firm itself, and the owners/directors. This is, effectively, no different from any due diligence work, but we are particularly looking for:

  • no unspent criminal convictions (excluding motoring convictions),
  • no un-discharged bankruptcies,
  • no outstanding CCJs (including against the Entity, if relevant),
  • not been director of a company declared insolvent in the last 6 months.

If potential applicants cannot comply with this requirement, the BDMA can waive requirements at its discretion, following consultation with the applicant.

The granting of Corporate Accredited Membership is not automatic, all applications will be reviewed by the board of directors, who meet quarterly. Criteria should be met on an ongoing basis, but a formal review of criteria will be conducted every two years for those firms granted the accreditation.

Full information on the criteria, and details on how to apply can be found here.