‘At a certain moment I asked the control doctor if he liked this, taunting and questioning me like this’: the (non) sense of insurance

Paying insurance for years to cover you in case of illness and then not getting paid. Or being told that you will pay an extra amount on top of the premium for the rest of your life, because you needed psychological help several times. It happens to many Flemish people who have dropped out of work for psychological or physical reasons. Three testimonials.

Deborah SeymusSeptember 2, 202203:00

Ewout Frans (39): ‘Frustrating that something like this is possible: making money with someone else’s misery’

Independent IT consultant, guaranteed income insurance with KBC

“As a self-employed person, it is always recommended that you take out a guaranteed income insurance (see box, DS) to close. When I started as an independent IT consultant eleven years ago, I doubted it for a few years, but after three years I gave in. I thought, just as insurance companies told me, that if I ever experience something or – worse – end up in a wheelchair, I’d kick myself if I didn’t have insurance. Such a guaranteed income insurance provides the extra part that you normally do not receive from your health insurance company. So I took out insurance with KBC for a monthly salary of 3,000 euros gross. Both the health insurance fund and KBC provide a certain amount in the event of illness, so that I eventually get to my predetermined amount.”

Ewout Frans: ‘At a certain moment I asked the control doctor whether he liked this, to taunt me and question me like that.’Statue Damon De Backer

“Luckily I never had anything wrong. I paid about 1,100 euros per year for my insurance. I did that for about eight years. In January 2022 I was infected with corona. Since my wife and I had a 15 month old toddler, I had been sleeping very little for a long time anyway. After my corona infection, it got much worse, but I didn’t realize it right away. I dragged myself through the day. In February, I had no choice but to consult my doctor and tell her it couldn’t go on like this. I was exhausted. Her diagnosis – too much emotional stress – was communicated to the health insurance company and my insurance. For the first time, I wanted to call on my guaranteed income insurance. KBC immediately rejected my application: according to them, the diagnosis of emotional stress was part of psychosocial complaints and I was not insured for that. After that disapproval, it turned out that my fatigue was not only due to emotional stress and too little sleep due to our second 15-month-old child, but also due to the consequences of my corona infection. My doctor wrote out a new diagnosis and I sent it again to KBC.”

Which insurances are involved?

GI: an insurance guaranteed income, which protects you against loss of income in the event of illness or during the rehabilitation of an accident. You will then receive an extra monthly replacement income, on top of any benefit you receive through your health insurance fund.

SSV: a outstanding balance insurance ensures that (part of) the remaining loan burden of your mortgage loan no longer has to be repaid by your heirs in the event of death. A debt balance insurance is therefore a form of death insurance.

VSPS: a free supplementary pension for self-employed persons with which the self-employed can supplement their statutory pension in a way that is interesting from a tax and social point of view.

IPT: a individual pension commitment is a life insurance policy that provides you with an extra pension as a company manager or self-employed person.

“I was then invited to an interview with a check-up doctor, which I still experience as terrible to this day. Just before I stepped in, the man in front of me came out seething with rage and slammed the door behind him. He had been inside for two minutes. I stepped in and the control doctor immediately asked me in an aggressive tone what I was actually doing here. Then he called me a ‘lazy’ and said I just wanted to take a vacation. He did nothing but attack me. I remained calm and sat for fifteen minutes. At a certain point I asked him if he liked this, taunting and questioning me like that.”

“He dodged the question and eventually said he wasn’t convinced. Then I received a letter that I had not been able to convince them and that they do not accept my illness. If I wanted to challenge this, I had to provide a third independent physician with expertise in insurance. If I don’t choose one myself, I can choose from one of the three doctors they suggested. In addition, this process is half charged to me. Knowing that a doctor has already litigated – and lost – in court against KBC, I will just leave it at that. I already know in advance that I will lose that fight.”

“Despite this situation, I realize that I have been very lucky. As an IT consultant I earn enough. I have money set aside for these kinds of situations and had saved extra for renovations. The benefit from the health insurance alone would not be enough. I used the amount I had set aside for the renovations to our house to bridge those months.”

“The impact of being sick and always tired was quite big on my family. During the worst period I was very curt with everyone because I was so tired. I noticed a difference, especially afterwards. Even now I still have ups and downs in my energy level and sometimes I experience a huge dip after a few days for no reason.”

“If you worked as a self-employed person for 40 years, you would have paid 44,000 euros on insurance that would never come to fruition. It really frustrates me that something like this is possible: making money with other people’s misery. Unfortunately, many have already gone before me. All I can do is let it go now, I’ve been able to do that recently.”

Magali Hoefkens (30): ‘The fact that I once needed psychological help is apparently enough to make me pay extra forever’

HRM consultant at the police, outstanding balance insurance at Belfius

“When I was 22 and just graduated from my first job, it soon became apparent that I was completely overwhelmed by the high work pressure. I have always been someone who is very perfectionist and struggled with fear of failure. At my first job there was little guidance for starters so soon I started to struggle. At the same time, my relationship ended. I dropped out of work and was referred to a psychologist by my GP. Although I felt really bad that year, I regularly tried to start up again at my job, but after a while I dropped out again. A referral to a psychiatrist followed where I started taking medication. The search for the right medicines and dose took a lot of getting used to for me. I voluntarily had myself admitted several times in 2017 and 2018 on the advice of my psychiatrist.”


Magali Hoefkens: ‘Banks help ensure that we become a society in which we are no longer allowed to be sincere.’Image Wouter Van Vooren

“Four years later I am doing well. I am happy, have a nice job and check in with my psychiatrist once a year. I have a warm relationship with my GP, and she also sees that I have been doing well for a long time. Recently I had the opportunity to buy a house. I got the best interest rate with Belfius, on the condition that I also took out outstanding balance insurance with them. I made an appointment with the office worker who would arrange my mortgage loan. During that conversation, he took a questionnaire about my health based on their own models. When I answered ‘yes’ to the question whether I had ever been absent from work for a long time, I was given an extra questionnaire that I had to fill out by my family doctor. From then on I suddenly ended up in their system as a risky person. Belfius regularly informed us via the app that they wanted to receive this completed document as soon as possible.”

“My GP simply followed her medical duty and completed that letter truthfully. At the beginning of July I received a letter asking whether I wanted to accept my debt balance with an additional premium of 100 euros per year. Rode? Depression with multiple hospitalizations. According to the medical model of Belfius, this diagnosis is not evolvable and I will therefore have to pay extra for the next 22 years. I can happily work all this time without any problems, but the fact that I once needed psychological help is apparently enough to determine that I can no longer evolve in that area. When I told those around me, everyone said it’s better to lie to your insurance company. In this way, banks help ensure that we become a society in which we are no longer allowed to be sincere.”

Karlien Vereecken (32): ‘I can’t help it that I fell when I was 11, and yet that will forever remain an excuse for banks’

Self-employed in HR, guaranteed income insurance at KBC

“In 2020 I started as a self-employed person as my main profession and took out every possible insurance from the start so that I was in order for everything. I took out a free supplementary pension for the self-employed (VAPZ) and guaranteed income insurance with KBC. I also wanted to take out an individual pension commitment, but my accountant advised to wait a little longer. The two insurance policies already cost enough together. When you take out insurance, you must always fill in a medical questionnaire. Because I have back and knee problems, I knew in advance that I would be excluded for both problems. This had already happened in the past.”

“I don’t think that’s right in itself. I do understand that I pose a greater risk to an insurance company, but then KBC would simply have to set up a system whereby I pay an extra amount each month, so that I save a little money in case something happens to my knee or back. I can’t help it that I fell when I was 11 and yet insurance companies will continue to use that as an excuse for the rest of my life.”

Karlien Vereecken: 'I do my best as a self-employed person not to fall out, take care of myself by doing a sleep study and then I am excluded from everything.' Statue Damon De Backer
Karlien Vereecken: ‘I do my best as a self-employed person not to fall out, take care of myself by doing a sleep study and then I am excluded from everything.’Statue Damon De Backer

“In 2021 I restructured my insurance policies and I also wanted to take out an individual pension commitment (IPT). For this I had to fill out a medical questionnaire again. Conducting a sleep study earlier that year also showed that I was excluded for all psychosocial, psychological and psychiatric problems for which no physical cause can be found. Then the measure was full for me. I couldn’t have lied about that sleep study either, because my hospitalization insurance was also with KBC. To exclude me from this was a bridge too far. I do my best as a self-employed person not to fall out, take care of myself by doing a sleep study and then I am excluded from everything.”

“I therefore decided not to take out an IPT and chose to cancel my guaranteed income insurance as well. KBC uses mental well-being as a stick with which to succeed. I think that’s really bad, because I think mental well-being is very important. As a self-employed person, it is not easy to guard that limit because a day of not working, a day of not being paid.”

Both KBC and Belfius were asked for a response. At Belfius, repeated attempts went unanswered. KBC stated that it “cannot comment on these individual files for privacy and confidentiality reasons”.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: moment asked control doctor taunting questioning sense insurance

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