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~Alex Hastings~

Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC

~Guide One~

2435 Kimberly Road

Suite #100N

Bettendorf IA 52722

563-355-0262 Office

641-494-9494 Cell

855-355-0262 Fax










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Are You Making Any of These Top 10 Insurance Blunders?

When it comes to buying insurance, what you don't know can hurt you...and your family...for years to come. Learn how to identify the top ten insurance mistakes and what you can do about them with my free guide, "The Top 10 Insurance Blunders - and How to Avoid Them."

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Who first invented mass-produced instant coffee?

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Recipe: Beijinhos (Little Kisses)

This Brazilian specialty is a light treat just right for Valentine's Day. Makes about two dozen kisses.
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
  • About 2 dozen seedless green grapes, washed and dried


Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened - about 25 minutes.

Pour the thickened mixture onto a lightly buttered plate, and cool completely. Meanwhile, toast the coconut and set aside.

To assemble, lightly butter your hands. Take about half a tablespoon of the cooled mixture and wrap a grape in it, rolling it between your hands until it becomes a small ball.

Toss the kisses in coconut and place on a plate or in small paper liners.

Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Worth Quoting

This month, quotes on caring:

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia

Caring for but never trying to own may be a further way to define friendship.

William Glasser

If you open your heart, then the object of your love becomes so precious because you are so open. And that philosophy, that caring, spreads.

Jeff Bridges

The simple act of caring is heroic.

Edward Albert



Protect Your Good Jewelry, Even While Traveling


You're traveling, and whether it's a vacation or a work trip, you want to be prepared for gala evening events. So, you bring a few pieces of your good jewelry. Understandable, but perhaps not such a good idea; what happens if it's lost or stolen while you're away from home?

It may put a damper on your mood, but if you plan ahead, you might not be out-of-pocket.

Many homeowners don't realize that the same policy that covers them for losses at home could also cover stolen items if the theft occurred outside your home.

Covering off-premises losses

Check your policy. Some insurance companies will have specific rules regarding off-premises coverage, and others may not offer this coverage. If you'll be traveling extensively, look for a policy that includes off-premises coverage.

If it doesn't, you may have to purchase it as a rider policy. You'll pay extra for this coverage; however, if the worst happens, you'll find it worth the cost.

Bear in mind that this coverage may come with limitations. Certain items may not be covered at all, while others may have certain claim limits imposed on them.

Items like jewelry and electronics could be covered, but it may not be for their total value.

Scheduling valuables

One way to this coverage gap is to schedule your extremely valuable items. This means that the insurance company agrees to a fixed value for a specific item and covers most reasons for its loss. This will also allow you to set a specific deductible for the scheduled item, but you should also pay attention to the deductible for other items; some that haven't been scheduled are subject to a different deductible.

If you're concerned about protecting your personal belongings at all times, make sure you purchase a policy that travels with you and your valuables. 

Finally! A Justification for Craving Sugar

Candy HeartsSweet lovers may finally have a scapegoat for their cravings.

According to several research studies, a craving for sweet treats can be explained physiologically.

  • Studies have suggested that cravings for carb-rich foods come from a need to affect one's neurotransmitters, especially in obese individuals or those with eating disorders.
  • Certain meals may also create a desire for something sweet. A dinner rich in protein, for example, may have the eater rooting around for something sugary afterwards.
  • Sugar is addictive. A Connecticut college professor and students found that Oreo cookies proved as addictive as cocaine to lab rats. The cookies activated more neurons in the rat brains' pleasure centers than exposure to addictive drugs. Meanwhile, other research has shown that "going off" sugar can lead to the same neurological symptoms as those generated by a withdrawal from alcohol, nicotine, or morphine.

What to do When Your Health Coverage is Ending

As if anything to do with insurance isn't hard enough to understand, things like healthcare billing certainly make it so. Policyholders commonly experience "balanced billing," and getting one from a hospital ER, for example, might not be anything like you'd expect.

Common health insurance policy types - HMO and PPO plans - work within specific networks of healthcare providers to provide lower premiums. Unfortunately, even when visiting an in-network hospital, the doctor or surgeon who treated you may not be part of the same network.

After visiting a hospital, clinic, or any medical facility operating outside of your health insurance network, you may receive a bill for the difference owed after your health insurance has paid its share of the medical provider's invoice.

For example, if you have a visit to a hospital emergency room (ER), you might receive a bill that looks a bit like this:

The hospital charges your insurance carrier $500 for an ER visit. The insurance pays $250. You don't pay anything additional because the hospital is in a network contract with your insurance provider. You're only responsible for co-insurance and co-pay amounts less your deductible.

A treating doctor also charges $500 for your ER visit. Insurance pays $250. Because the treating doctor hasn't a contract with your insurance provider, you're responsible for the additional $250.

To avoid "balanced billing", ask your insurance agent which healthcare providers are in your policy's provider network, so you can go to network providers wherever possible.

If you need health insurance, don't feel as though you can buy coverage only through the government's website or any of the third parties soliciting consumers. The insurance agent you have always worked with (and who is familiar with your individual situation) can answer your questions about healthcare reform and help you compare coverage. You also can purchase a plan through him or her. 


Don't Watch What You Say: Watch What You Feel

Funny MouthA new tool has been added to telemarketers' tool kits: Now, call center employees are able to intuit our state of mind, thanks to mood detection software. The software, from companies such as Beyond Verbal enables voice analysis and gives marketers new levels of us to plumb. Just what we need.

Featured in a recent New York Times article, Beyond Verbal's software uses algorithms to identify up to 400 different moods (and who even knew we had so many) from the tone of our voice. Callers can then slant the conversation ("I know where you're coming from...") to better sell to us.

Most of us have known for years that, behind the cliches ("I'm fine, thanks. How about you?"), we're holding back a groundswell of emotions. ("Actually, I feel miserable.")

Now, we simply won't be able to hide our feelings; as Beyond Verbal's Vice-President of Marketing, Dan Emodi, told the Times: "It's not what you say; it's how you say it."

It's also not simply the call center applications that are concerning people. The software may have more far reaching applications, such as acting as a lie detector to screen potential employees or cheating spouses.

As well as the issue of potential privacy - a big one - the validity of emotion detection software is in question. Writer Natasha Singer asks: Is mood detection "any more valid than novelties like handwriting analysis?"

If marketers and others credit the software results, they may well draw invalid conclusions based on the results.

George Loewenstein, Carnegie Mellon professor of economics and psychology, points out the dangers: "That could end up being used to make arbitrary and potentially discriminatory decisions."

And for those who need a response to telemarketers who call at inconvenient times, well, we have a new tool, too: "Read my voice...can you tell I don't appreciate being interrupted in mid-meal?"

Life Insurance Can be a Creative Problem Solver

Life insurance has traditionally been used to pay for the care of a loved one in the event of your untimely death, but increasingly it's being used in other, more creative ways.

There are two basic scenarios in which you would require life insurance in retirement. First, you don't have enough money to cover your final expenses, and you don't want to burden your family. So, you purchase a small life insurance policy to cover these expenses.

Second, you have dependents - usually a spouse and/or children - who would not have sufficient income to live comfortably after you die. So, you purchase a larger life insurance policy to support your loved ones until they can provide for themselves (or for life, depending on the circumstances.)

Creative Uses for Life Insurance

Beyond these basic intents, however, life insurance can provide a creative solution to other problems that may crop up.

For example, in this scenario, you have a considerable estate, and don't want to leave your heirs with the burden of paying estate taxes. But there's a simple solution: You could set up a life insurance policy to pay the estate tax.

Here's a more realistic scenario that resonates with many of us. Often called "pension maximization," this strategy solves another problem.

In this scenario, you and your spouse want to take significant withdrawals from your retirement plans, with the result that your savings will be exhausted when one of you dies. The solution here is to purchase a life insurance plan to provide something for the remaining spouse.

In all of these instances, you would probably purchase permanent life insurance instead of term life insurance, which only stays in effect for a specific time period.

Your advisor is well-equipped to explain the differences between permanent and term life insurance, and to recommend which is best for you based on your individual circumstances. 

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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NOTICE: This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state. By using this blog site you understand that there is no broker client relationship between you and the blog and website publisher.
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