Disability insurance & freelancers: moving towards compulsory insurance coverage despite existing options?

In the Netherlands, there are more than a million freelancers. According to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), forty-one per cent of this group admits that they do not have any provision if they become incapacitated for work. Most freelancers are not insured because the costs do not outweigh the benefits, or because people cannot afford it. Disability insurance can quickly amount to three thousand euros per year. Moreover, the riskier the profession, the more expensive the insurance. Mop van Tiggele-van der Velde, Professor of Insurance Law at Erasmus School of Law, explains that everyone in the Netherlands can be insured if the aspirant acts timely.

Many freelancers have trouble finding appropriate disability insurance; in addition to the high premiums, the duration, the insured items and the medical file create obstacles. The insurer and the freelancer can decide not to insure specific things like fractures and burnouts. For someone to get insured, their medical file is vetted. And there it goes wrong for many freelancers; their medical history blocks approval, for example, or their age is too high.

Mop van Tiggele-van der Velde knows these stories for her role as Professor: “But I also understand that an insurer does not want or can carry all the risks. There is no obligation for private disability insurance. If you quit your job and start your own company, you can get insurance at the UWV within thirteen weeks. There, you are accepted without being reviewed by a doctor, and the premium is fixed.”

Besides, you can qualify for so-called safety net insurance. “Are you rejected on medical grounds for private disability insurance by an insurer? Then you can return to that same insurer and use the safety net insurance there”, Van Tiggele-van der Velde explains. “The downside is that the wait for money payout is twelve months in case of a safety net insurance. Moreover, the coverage is minimal, and the premium is quite high”, she adds. “But ultimately, everyone in the Netherlands can be insured”, the Professor of Insurance Law concludes. “Maybe not for the desired premium or duration, but some coverage can be realised. But you have to be on time.”

More information

Read the entire article here (in Dutch).

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