I am feeling confused again with the insurances, health, retirement, etc. Had a call from CAP assurances and wondered if anyone out there had heard of them or do you just get a lot of calls and letters from these companies?

In extremis I go into Berlin dialect and throw as many vernacular insults at them as I can knowing full well quite a few of them do English just enough but a German dialect... That is, of course, the ones who will not take any form of no or too busy for an answer and call again later. Andrew, try some Italian just to be sadistic sometime.

I am going to do translating and office services.

Who is your insurer for the responsibilité civile? Is it responsibilité civile professionelle?

That's the one, just couldn't remember the details (primarily as my husband is artisan and I am prof lib so I deal with 2 totally different sets of stuff0

For the responsibilite civile, depends what you do for a living. I'm a tour guide but deal primarily with Americans, therefore I think it is money well spent, just in case, it only costs about 11€ a month.

Well I had letters from two companies for caisse de retraite complementaire saying they were the two recognised by AGIRC ARRCO for my departement and that I had three months to choose one of them. As well as the retraite they sent me a second form, which, as you said Tracy, seem to deal with insuring employees. I had thought that I just would ignore that one and only think about the retraite one.

As for cold calls, I had so many before I became an AE and find them a real nuisance. They always ask me if I own my house and my standard reply is that I don't give out personal information and put the phone down.

But I am still deciding about the responsibilité civile professionelle, haven't tackled this one yet.

Thanks Valerie, my head's swelling! Glad to hear everything's working out and you're up and running. That's everything done, now you just have to fend off the phone calls - we get quite a few each day from various call centres, I get the kids to answer the phone and giggle if they're around, otherwise we don't bother answering if the number isn't displayed, or do but put the phone down if there isn't someone there immediately (the computer has dialed and then puts the call through to an operator if it's answered) and all that despite being on the list for not receiving cold calls etc.!

Brian, if someone actually gets through to me and they're cold calling I just tell them I with clients and to call back later and put the phone down ;-)

Tracy and Andrew said it all but you added an important denominator and one I use to so many cold callers with something unique to sell me: "Stop wasting my time". Definitely to be learned and used.

As always, Andrew, straightforward and helpful. I know you've already got a flag flapping on your photo but you get my vote this month.

I sent copies of Twerp's birth certificate/passport off to RSI today because they wrote and asked, and I've filled in a form for Reunica with a covering letter saying I'm an AE/independent freelancer with no employees. They can make what what want of it. And Urssaf wrote with my Siret number saying I'm registered so I suppose they're happy. Apart from those 3 now then I will happily ignore everyone else - apart from the really annoying woman who keeps calling from a 'Withheld' number who then refuses to speak to me. I need to learn some very abrupt-sounding French phrases like 'Stop wasting my time'.

Tracy's already said it, as ever ;-) you'll have to opt for one compulsory insurance for employees (which will never come into place so never anything to pay, mine's Réunica) the rest you can forget, again as Tracy says - apart from anything from the URSSAF or RSI, just those two for me and then the caisse I chose when I set up for health care (Prévadiès-Campi in my case). I've had no real hassle for a couple of years now, the first was a nightmare as Tracy describes because nobody knew what the AE scheme was at the URSSAF or RSI...!

@Valerie, just read your question while typing - you'll need to opt for one for your "future employees"...! not advisable - an obligation!!! but you don't pay anything because you don't have employees (it's France!) Mutuelle insurance is something different and completely up to you ;-)

These letters seem to arrive on a daily basis. One question: do you know if it is actually a legal obligation to sign up and presumably make contributions to a pension company (eg Reunica, B2V) or is that simply a scary sales ploy? Presumably the same as with health insurance - advisable but optional.

Hi Louise, once you register you get loads of calls letter etc, eventually they drop off. In general the ones you need to look out for are RSI, Ursaaf and I think it's BTP - they are asking you to insure your employees, which obviously as AE you don't have, however, you have to fill in the form stating you have no employees and send it back to them.

You will have to spend a lot of time reminding everyone you are AE and that you have nothing extra to pay. My husband has been AE since it came out in 2009 and we've just about got everyone convinced (she says hopefully)