Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC
2435 Kimberly Road
Bettendorf IA 52722
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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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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.
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.
Caring for but never trying to own may be a further way to define friendship.
If you open your heart, then the object of your love becomes so
precious because you are so open. And that philosophy, that caring,
The simple act of caring is heroic.
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.
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
Finally! A Justification for Craving Sugar
Sweet 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
meals may also create a desire for something sweet. A dinner rich in
protein, for example, may have the eater rooting around for something
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.