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Happy New Year! It's Time to Review Your Insurance Coverage
As the new year approaches, many people review their lives and make new goals for the future, to maybe eat better or exercise more, for example. This turning of the calendar page is also a good time to review your insurance coverage. An annual review allows you to update information and policies to ensure you are appropriately protected in the coming year.

To complete this process, take the following key steps.

Take inventory: Create a home inventory (or update your current one). Be sure to add any major gifts you receive this holiday season and remove anything you have donated, sold, or thrown away in 2019. In your inventory, include a description and the cost of items. Scan or photograph receipts to save with your list. Store everything online and/or off-site so you can access it in case of disaster.

Assess automotive needs: Consider the age and value of your vehicles. Is your coverage still appropriate? Have the primary drivers on any vehicles changed this year, or will they soon? Make sure deductibles, limits, and primary driver designations all make sense for your current needs.

Look for changes: Have you experienced any changes in the past year that might affect your insurance coverage? Renovations, births, purchases, and commute changes can all affect your insurance considerations.

Check for savings: Don't miss out on any savings opportunities. Check for multiple policy discounts, changes in requirements, or new programs that may cut your insurance costs.

Contact our office for a quick review of your policies. I can help you evaluate your insurance needs to make sure you have the right coverage as you head into the new year.

The Year in Review: A Look at the Top Headlines of 2019
It's nearly the start of a new year and a new decade. As 2019 comes to an end, here's a look at some of the most newsworthy stories of the year.

Diabetes research makes huge strides: Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco announced in February that they had successfully turned human cells into insulin-producing cells. The news brought hope that a cure for type 1 diabetes could be within reach.

Fire at the Notre Dame: The famous Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral went up in flames on April 15. More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze, which severely damaged the structure's spire, roof, and upper walls.

Prince Harry's heir arrives: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, on May 6. Baby Archie is currently seventh in line for the British throne.

Women astronauts make history: On October 18, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch entered the history books when they made the first-ever all-women spacewalk. The pair visited the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger.

Plant-based food goes mainstream: Beyond Burger became a household name this year when its surprisingly beef-like patties began widespread distribution in North America and beyond. The burgers and other meatless alternatives by maker Beyond Meat brought plant-based alternatives onto the public menu.

Is Virtual Reality Really Helping People Manage Pain?
Some top-ranked hospitals have turned to virtual reality as a way of managing pain. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, is testing the use of virtual reality (VR) to manage the pain associated with sickle cell disease, which has been described as an intense throbbing, aching, hammering sensation. Beyond sickle cell disease, VR has been used successfully to alleviate acute pain from wounds, childbirth, burns, dental procedures, and some surgeries. It has been used in various ways on patients from age 3 to age 96.

VR immerses viewers in a multisensory, three-dimensional environment that effectively distracts them from the discomfort they are experiencing. In essence, VR engages pathways in the brain that would otherwise be occupied by the sensation of pain. While researchers are still testing the technology and collecting data, Modern Healthcare reports that self-reported pain scores have been reduced by as much as 50 percent in applications at more than 200 providers spanning eight countries. And VR developers are working on developing virtual reality interventions for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health conditions that often accompany pain.

As VR technology becomes more affordable, a growing number of health care providers may use it to ease physical suffering. Besides pain management, potential benefits of using virtual reality include a reduced need for other painkillers such as opioids, reduced lengths of hospital stays, improved post-operative recoveries, and cost savings. In fact, some patients who have used VR to learn breathing and mindfulness techniques have gone off pain medications entirely. With so much potential, this treatment option may have significant positive implications for the future of health care.

Grinch Protection: Wrap Up Your Home for the Holidays
Not every grinch becomes good and returns the stolen treasures. Outside of a Dr. Seuss tale, thieves will gladly carry away your holiday goodies in their sleigh and never look back.

Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to protect your home from the season's sticky-fingered grinches. Use the following tips to keep your home safe and secure for the holidays.

Make things merry and bright: Lights can do more than decorate this season. Dark, vacant homes can be particularly tempting for thieves, especially during high-travel seasons like the holidays. Use proper lighting to deter thieves. Set timers for lights or install motion-sensing options.

Join Santa in his list-making: St. Nicholas isn't the only one who should check his list twice this season. Have you created a home inventory of your personal property? Be sure this list includes any recent gift purchases. This inventory will be helpful if you need to file a claim after a burglary.

Don't spoil the surprise: The kids aren't the only ones anxious to see what appears under the tree. Wait until Christmas Eve to put out the presents. This prevents putting them on display for potential grinches.

Keep trips under wraps: If you'll be away from home this season, don't advertise your trip to the world. Announcing on social media that your house will be empty can draw the attention of the wrong kind of elf.

Check more than the chimney: While Santa may prefer a fireplace entry, thieves are more likely to look for easy-access windows and doors. Avoid leaving patio doors unlocked or propping open apartment-building doors. Keep doors and windows locked and check hardware regularly to verify it is secure.

Enjoy holiday peace: Even with the best precautions, a theft may still occur. But you can have peace of mind by investing in appropriate coverage for your home and possessions. Contact my office to discuss policies that can help you recover your cheer if mean old Mr. Grinch tries to steal it.
Are You Making a Mistake with Your Homeowners Insurance?
Buying a home is the biggest investment you'll ever make. With that kind of commitment, you owe it to yourself to protect it. Before you make a decision on which policy to buy, it pays to be informed. Get up to speed by requesting my free guide, "What You Need to Know Before Buying Homeowners Insurance."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
These holiday cookies are a perennial favorite.
Makes approximately 30 cookies
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hershey's Kisses (about 30)
Preheat oven to 375°. Using a whisk, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat the softened butter and the peanut butter until smooth (use a hand mixer). Add both sugars and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the milk and vanilla, and mix until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating at a low speed until the dough is just combined.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into balls, then roll each in white sugar before placing them on the cookie sheets.

Bake for eight to 10 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up. Remove them from the oven and quickly top each cookie with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss.
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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