Stories

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

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "insurance" ...

  • Investigation of a Community Health Center

    With an infusion of $11 billion, the 1,300 community health centers across the U.S. have been hailed as the backbone of the Affordable Care Act’s plan to leave no one without health care. That’s a lot of money to accomplish a lot of good. It’s also a lot of money to tempt those with larcenous intent. Two years ago, Alabama Media Group discovered that two community health centers -- Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health -- had paid more than $2 million for contracts to companies owned by the centers’ CEO. Now there are indictments and allegations of $14 million in federal funds being diverted to private hands.
  • Fatally Flawed

    A five-part series by The Charlotte Observer revealed that the officials assigned to investigate suspicious deaths routinely fail to follow crucial steps, raising questions about the accuracy of thousands of rulings. The effects of a botched investigation on surviving family members can be devastating. Killers can go free. Widows can be cheated out of the life insurance payments they deserve. In some cases, reporters found, grieving relatives were forced to launch their own inquiries into how a loved one died. Compiling the report wasn’t easy. Observer reporters first requested the state’s database of suspicious deaths in early 2012. For 18 months, the state stalled and provided incomplete data. In the summer of 2013, the Observer threatened legal action. Only then did the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner turn over its complete database.
  • Insurance Influence

    As Texas was nearing the end of a decade-long legal fight over homeowners' insurance rates with the Famers Insurance Group, the company's employees PAC gave $50,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Greg Abbott — the top lawyer in the state's case against the company. That raised questions about the settlement reached in the case, which seemed, according to one judge involved, as though the state was being "deferential to Famers."
  • Hurting for Work

    The Texas Tribune’s four-part “Hurting for Work” investigation exposed gaping holes in the workers’ compensation system in Texas, where a booming economy is adding jobs at a nation-leading pace that has the state’s top elected officials touting a “Texas miracle.”
  • FEMA's Fickle Flood Maps

    We've read for years now about anger at the high costs to property owners of changes to FEMA's flood maps, but we hadn't read this before: As homeowners around the nation protest skyrocketing premiums for federal flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has quietly moved the lines on its flood maps to benefit hundreds of oceanfront condo buildings and million-dollar homes, according to an analysis of federal records by NBC News. Reporters Bill Dedman and Miranda Leitsinger produced a three-part series showing that FEMA had approved those revisions -- removing more than 500 waterfront properties from the highest-risk flood zone and saving the owners as much as 97 percent on the premiums they pay into the financially strained National Flood Insurance Program – even as owners of homes and businesses far from a water source were being added to the maps asked to pay far more for their coverage.
  • Maryland's Failed Health Exchange

    Baltimore Sun reporters Andrea K. Walker and Meredith Cohn investigated what contributed to Maryland's troubled roll-out of its state-run health insurance marketplace. Emails between state officials and contractors as well as court documents revealed infighting and ineffectual oversight hampered efforts to launch and repair the state health care exchange.
  • Public Salary project

    This entry consists of stories culled from a massive request for government compensation from hundreds of government agencies, cities, counties, school, college and special districts. This projects follows the money. The data is made public through data bases on our web sites and culled through by investigative reporter Thomas Peele, who roots out stories from deep in the data, including ones about secret pension boosting perks, officials paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for not working, government managers sitting on huge banks of unused vacation time to cash in at retirement, part-time elected officials who do little work while being paid hundreds of dollars and an hour, long forgotten politicians receiving free life-time government health insurance decades are leaving office. The project routinely ferrets out information about the spending of public money that not even those in charge of government agencies are aware of until Peele tells them: "Wow,” said James Fang, a member of the board of the BART transit district when informed data showed the agencies former general manager, who had resigned two years earlier in the midst if being fired, had remained in the agency's payroll for years, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jacking up her future pension. “She was still on the payroll? I did not know this. It’s startling.”
  • Explosion at West

    Tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a central Texas plant exploded last April with the force of a small earthquake. The blast came just two days after the Boston Marathon and, in the national media, was overshadowed by events in the Northeast. While not the result of a terrorist attack, the explosion in West, Texas, was far larger and deadlier, and raised more significant public safety issues. In a series of investigative reports over eight months, The Dallas Morning News revealed that ammonium nitrate remains virtually unregulated by federal and state governments, despite its well-known explosive potential. (Timothy McVeigh used it in 1995 to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building.) Efforts to strengthen oversight have been blocked by industry lobbyists and government gridlock, The News found, even as the Pentagon sought bans on ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In pro-business, anti-regulation Texas, the federal government’s lax oversight meant no oversight at all. West Fertilizer Co. – scene of the disaster – violated almost every safety best practice. No state agency was charged with preventing an ammonium nitrate blast. There was no public registry of companies that handled the compound, even though many facilities are near homes and schools. Texas prohibits most counties from having fire codes and does not require facilities like West to obtain liability insurance. Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians, who created this wide-open environment, washed their hands of the problem. They said West was a tragic accident that no amount of regulation could have prevented. The News’ findings, however, proved otherwise.
  • Revealing the Cost of Government Contractors

    Federal procurement actions, whether for information technology, consulting services or project management, occur in a black box, closed off to the public and opaque to the inquiries of journalists and the public. For the most part, failures of these contractors remain low profile. That is, until the calamitous launch of Healthcare.gov, when the public saw firsthand--on a website that millions needed to use to secure health insurance--how badly these highly paid, politically connected firms and the federal employees who supposedly oversee them had done their handiwork.
  • 'Crooked Care' - Investigation into Narconon of Georgia

    Our year-long investigation culminated with the closure of a drug rehabilitation facility accused of deceiving patients, court officials and state regulators in order to enhance profits funneled to its benefactor, the Church of Scientology. Georgia's Insurance Commissioner and a local district attorney launched an ongoing criminal investigation after reviewing our findings that Narconon of Georgia lied about its license, billed insurance companies for treatment never received (that families had already paid for), and opened credit cards in the names of clients without their permission. For a decade, state regulators tasked with oversight of drug rehabilitation facilities had ignored complaints from vulnerable drug addicts and their families, repeatedly reversing fines and citations. The state ultimately revoked Narconon of Georgia's license as a direct result of our reporting. This investigation was a collaborative effort between WSB-TV, WSB-Radio and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A reporter from each institution shared the research and reporting responsibilities. The stories were featured on all three platforms simultaneously. In addition, each entity spotlighted the story digitally with extensive online coverage, due to the worldwide interest the story gleaned.