‘In 2012, my husband became incapacitated for work. At the time, we were both working as independent consultants. He was insured, but after a year and a half we came into conflict with the insurer: was Roland’s RSI covered by policy? The insurer stopped paying after a while.
“We immediately had a financial problem. We had just moved in together, but we still had two houses. And houses were unsaleable then. So we had two mortgages on one income and had to cut back considerably. I started working more. And we have incurred debt. We have started a lawsuit against the insurer.
“Through the whole situation, we thought: there must be a better way to insure the self-employed against incapacity for work? This is how we came up with an idea that became reality in 2018: our own company, SamSamkring, with which we offer an alternative to disability insurance.
“Customers save a monthly amount with us. Does anyone get sick? Then the others donate part of their saved amount to make up for the missed income. It has something of a bread fund, but the biggest difference is that the members do not know each other personally and that we use a health and safety doctor. We now have 380 members, and the number is still growing.
“Roland and I own the company. In addition, we both still work as consultants, although Roland is still limited in his ability to do so due to his RSI complaints. We enjoy working together, we know what we can do with each other. At home it’s a lot about work, but we think that’s logical and not a big deal. You talk about what concerns you: if you have children, it is about the children, for us it is about our company.”
‘During the conflict with the insurer, I experienced first-hand how much stress money worries can cause. When I talk about it, I still feel it. In the end, the insurer settled. Fortunately, we were able to pay off our debts with the money from the settlement and the worst stress was over.
“Yet it has never been the same financially. We still go away less weekends than before. I like to spend a lot on good cooking, but now pay more attention to the offers. We have groceries delivered for the whole week at once, so that we make fewer impulse purchases.
“We both have our own checking account and pay ourselves the same salary every month. The mortgage is deducted from Roland’s account, other expenses from mine. We make sure that we both have about the same to spend, and top up when we don’t. Has one of you run out of money? Then the other pours some. The only account we have together is what we call our ‘money-we-have-too-much-account’. We save a few hundred euros per month on that, for holidays and maintenance of our house.”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of July 12, 2021