Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "insurance premiums" ...

  • Florida's Insurance Nightmare

    Six years after eight hurricanes ripped across Florida, state residents still struggle to recover from the storms' legacy - a wrecked property insurance market. Exorbitant premiums, the highest in the world, have soured the state's struggling economy, killed real estate sales and forced families from their homes. Homeowners were told that unless they paid even more, no insurance company would take their hurricane risk. The Herald-Tribune showed that is a lie. Floridians have been lied to about why there is a crisis, where their money is going, and whether they're even protected against storm losses. Public policy has been corrupted by fiction spun by the insurance industry and its supposed regulators. Billions of dollars desperately needed for the next disaster have been siphoned offshore. And millions of homeowners are left to entrust their financial security on a system rigged to extort profit. To expose the hidden truth of Florida's insurance crisis, St. John cultivated key sources deep within every aspect of the insurance industry and sought massive amounts of financial and policy data from multiple state and national entities. When it became obvious Florida's crisis was manipulated from afar, she traveled to Bermuda and Monte Carlo to discover the hidden players truly in charge.
  • Speed Trap: Racial Patterns in Traffic Stops

    The Boston Globe analyzed newly released state records on traffic stops and found that "on city boulevards and rural lanes, whites are far more likely than minorities to receive written warnings instead of tickets when stopped for identical traffic offenses." The report also looked at sex and gender, and found "women, especially young women, get breaks that aren't afforded to men." In order to then quantify the cost of such unequal treatment to the public, the Globe looked at factors such as lost ticket revenue and higher insurance premiums -- concluding "the price tag...amounts to an estimated $25 million a year." But the news wasn't all bad, as the analysis revealed the Massachusetts State Police did give almost identical treatment "to all drivers, regardless of race, sex, or age....No local police department of any size was as fair as the State Police." The earlier series (Jan 6-7) deals with how statewide, black and Hispanic drivers "received traffic tickets at a rate twice their share of the population." And when they were stopped, those drivers were "50 percent more likely to have their cars searched," even though whites were more likely to be found carrying drugs. The Globe uses tables and graphics extensively to convey the results of its analysis.
  • Fraud on Four Wheels

    This hidden camera investigation uncovered a widespread network of insurance fraud from body shops to medical clinics to insurance offices. Personal Injury Protection fraud costs drivers an estimated $240 more a year for their insurance premiums.
  • Property Assessment

    "You're paying how much for your home and auto insurance" this article asks. "Here's your big chance to cut those premiums down to size." SmartMoney magazine looks into the various ways to downsize your insurance premiums using new technologies, and businesses that are utilizing them. The article discusses the costs and benefits of rate quote services and other web-based providers, and recommends what to watch out for.
  • Are you paying too much for auto insurance?

    Consumer Reports examines auto insurance premiums in seven big states, and finds that there can be more than a fourfold difference in prices for identical coverage from different insurers. The article explains how insurance companies tailor policies to specific drivers, possibly overcharging them. It also reveals that "U.S. drivers overpay some $300-million by failing to take advantage of them." The report includes table of premiums that the major insurers in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington would offer specific drivers, depending on their mileage, record, age and marital status.
  • Insurers Happy to Pay Too Much

    Inflated costs for medical equipment have led to large auto insurance premiums in New Jersey. The state has not yet acted on proposed legislation to restrict fees, and insurers often fail to challenge inflated costs because they can pass them on to the consumer.
  • Questionable tests and cures drived up cost of car coverage

    The Record examines how unnecessary and excessive medical treatment is driving up car insurance premiums in New Jersey.
  • (Untitled)

    Police officers exempt themselves from punishment under traffic laws as a "professional courtesy," even when the accidents aren't related to emergencies, even when the investigators agree the officers were at fault, even when the officers are off-duty or commuting to work. Police agencies argue that the officers' jobs are so demanding that it is unfair to hold them to normal standards. Others said that internal discipline replaced criminal punishment, even though it doesn't include points on the licensee or increased insurance premiums, and very rarely features financial penalties. The Miami Herald finds that a small minority of departments reject the informal exemption employed throughout the field, and demand that officers at fault face punishment like anyone else. The investigation showed that two out of every three civilian drivers who are found at fault in an accident are charged. On the contrary, only one in 14 officers at fault was charged (75 percent of those charges came from two departments that don't exempt officers). (October 13; November 3, 1996)
  • Confronting a Costly Plague

    A Union-Tribune investigation reports that "violence is conservatively estimated to cost $15.5 billion a year in medical care nationwide.... (Victims range from those) stitched up and released or who spend weeks on a respirator their medical care adds to the nation's swollen health care bill. All Americans pay that bill through increases in taxes, insurance premiums and hospital charges
  • Black Bursted

    WJZ-TV (Baltimore) finds people are getting rich by filing false insurance claims and that one quarter of car insurance premiums paid in Maryland go to pay fraudulent claims, 1985.