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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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Quick Quiz

Each month I'll give you a new question.

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In the 1960s, in which American city were you supposed to wear flowers in your hair?

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Recipe: Arroz Con Pollo for a Crowd

Serves 10
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 2 tbl red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp achiote powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 cup canned or cooked peas
  • 1/2 cup stuffed olives
  • Chopped cilantro and lime wedges


Bring the stock and chicken breasts to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove chicken and leave to cool.

Add water to chicken stock to make 10 cups. Set aside. In a large pot, heat oil, garlic and onion until soft and translucent.

Add next nine ingredients. Stir until blended.

Add liquid. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until water evaporates. Cook at low heat, covered, for 25 minutes.

Shred chicken. Add to rice. Stir in peas and olives. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Worth Quoting; Friendship

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend

Albert Camus

A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.

Elbert Hubbard

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down

Oprah Winfrey

A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity.

Robert Hall

True friends stab you in the front

Oscar Wilde

A friend to all is a friend to none


Puppy Shopping? Avoid the Insurance Doghouse

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but when you introduce your new friend to your home insurance company, watch out. Some breeds make the unofficial "Bad Dog" list - which may mean higher premiums, or even worse, difficulty in obtaining insurance coverage.

While you see your dog as a family member, your insurance company sees him or her as a liability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Insurance companies must look at the bottom line and gauge the risk your dog poses. Below are five breeds that make insurance companies howl.

Pit Bulls

Owners claim this breed is unfairly judged; insurance companies are wary. One study reports that Pit Bull type dogs were responsible for 32 percent of deaths from dog bites.


Originally bred as herding dogs, Rottweilers are calm and confident, but very protective. Their strength and bark can intimidate strangers.

Doberman Pinschers

Dobermans were originally used as protection, so their size and inherent need to protect and defend make them easy targets for shady breeders and dog fight promoters.

Chow Chows

Originating in China, Chow Chows are one of the oldest dog breeds around. These dogs are fiercely protective and often dislike strangers, a combination your insurance company doesn’t like.

German Shepherds

Known for their intelligence, German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds used for police work. As a house pet, they must have proper socialization training.

To some owners, the companionship offered by a dog outweighs a potential premium increase; for others, it’s a deciding factor when picking out a puppy. Regardless, the worst thing you can do is not change your policy. So, be honest with your insurance company, and you won’t end up in the dog house.

It's summer: Is Your Deck Where It's at...or Where it Was?

Deck RelaxingAh summer. Is there anything better than sitting on the deck with family and friends, cold drink in hand and burgers sizzling on the BBQ? Yes, your patio is calling. Unfortunately, it's calling for help.

If your deck isn't up to the demands of another busy summer season, why not give it the TLC it deserves? And while you're at it, make it special with some of the latest fixes guaranteed to turn a has-been deck into a happening spot.

Add some variety

Try mixing and matching to revitalize your deck. Your railing doesn't have to be made from the same material as the flooring; a metal or iron railing provides instant contrast to your existing deck. Or add post caps. These are versatile and available in any color or size to top off your perfect railing.

Nature calls

If you don't need to overhaul the structure, accessorize; why not add some multi-functional furniture, lights, or nature to your deck? Instead of building a railing around a low-lying deck, surround it with a hedge for a private, colorful solution that is relatively maintenance-free.

Light up the night

If you already have a gazebo on your deck, try lining the inside with net lights. These tiny lights aren't just for Christmas anymore; for a small investment, you can add an intimate glow that will extend the use of your deck through summer well into fall.

Outdoor life is what summer is all about; this year, why not make your deck outdoor central?

Maximize Your Pension Using Life Insurance

Life insurance is effective for more than the traditional use, which is to provide a cushion of liquidity for your loved ones when you're no longer around.

Alternative life-insurance strategies can help achieve a number of goals, including replacing pension income.

Consider the case of a couple who plan to live their retirement on one spouse's pension, not taking into account that when this spouse dies the pension will stop, and the remaining partner is left with little to live on.

In this case, the couple can purchase life insurance that will provide a similar level of income for the survivor after his or her partner's death. The death of a spouse is traumatic enough for the survivor without the added burden of financial worries.

This is such an effective strategy, you may wish to make retirement decisions - such as when to take Social Security benefits - with a life insurance policy in mind; knowing that both spouses will receive an insurance payout upon the other's death allows the couple to make decisions that maximize their benefits.

This life insurance strategy is not just for the wealthy.

To pay for their insurance premiums, many average couples are using reverse mortgages - loans available to homeowners that allow them to access a portion of their home equity; couples who take out reverse mortgages can use a portion of this money to pay for a life insurance policy.

It's a win-win. The couple has the remainder of the money to use in their lifetime, and in the event of one spouse's death, the survivor can pay off the reverse mortgage and still hold on to the family home.

The price of an insurance premium is small compared to the peace of mind it can give both partners.

But ensure you consult your advisor ( Hastings Insurance Solutions :-) to be certain this is the right strategy for you.

Today's Foodies are Turning to "Social Cooking"

Cooking PartyVisiting the latest restaurant used to be a way of life; now it's all about DIY.

"Social cooking" has become the new way to entertain, as everything from cooking parties and gourmet groups to those blasts from the past, potluck suppers and fondue experiences, are bringing foodies together at home.

We're seeing the rise of cooking "events," attended by groups of friends.
          Celebrating a birthday or promotion? You can hire a local chef to demonstrate techniques and help attendees craft their special meal at home.
          Or a group of like-minded foodies can get together to prepare a meal, then sit down to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Even easier - and just as much fun - are potluck suppers.

     Once the purview of young couples who couldn't afford to wine and dine friends on their own, a potluck supper now becomes a showcase for guests' signature dishes and an opportunity to try something new.

Many guests bring copies of their recipes to share.

The fondue party is another retro alternative. But with a twenty-first-century twist. Today's foodies have switched up the 60s throwback, beef fondue, to make it healthier; strips of raw beef and veggies are cooked in beef stock - not boiling oil as before - then dipped in healthy sauces such as guacamole.

With social cooking, the focus is on the food and the company, not so much the environment. This mindset marks a shift in how we think about entertaining.
       Perhaps with "foodtainment" gaining popularity through TV shows such as The Chew, we now see cooking as a way to connect in an old/new way.

Don't Tempt Fate Waiting for the ACA to Cover You
Some people are tempted to tempt fate by going without health insurance coverage until they get sick.

The provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covering pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes comes into effect on January 1, 2014. At this time, no one can be refused coverage or charged extra because of a pre-existing condition.

As a result, many people go without health insurance now, hoping they'll stay well until 2014. And this decision may have devastating consequences.

For example, in the event of a severe accident, you may not be able to get coverage in place until after you've incurred thousands of dollars of medical expenses; your 2014 plan won't help you with 2013 accidents.

Furthermore, the IRS assesses a penalty on anyone who does not have medical coverage in place in 2014. For the first year, that penalty is only $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family, or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater.

But in 2015, it rises to $325 per adult, and $162.50 per child, up to $975 per family, or 2 percent of family income, whichever is greater. And it increases again in 2016, with a penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, or 2.5 percent of family income.

In the long run, going without health insurance does not save that much, and the chance of an injury such as a serious car crash introduces a devastating risk. Meanwhile, there are affordable solutions. Consult your advisor ( Alex :-)

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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