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" ...

  • WAMU: Inside The Collapse

    It's October 2008: major banks are failing, Congress is bailing them out with taxpayer dollars. The public deserves to know how we got into the mess. ABC News Nightline's "Inside the Collapse" was first to expose a top-down, company-wide reckless lending strategy that led to the biggest bank failure in U.S. history: Washington Mutual Bank. Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas got inside Washington Mutual's culture and uncovered what really went wrong using original reporting, an exclusive whistleblower interview, a video of a jubilant company party, exclusive internal company documents, former employee interviews and victim interviews. His piece, as well as a follow-up on World news with Charles Gibson and articles on ABCNews.com, caught the attention of law enforcement. Two days after the piece aired, federal prosecutors announced that because of "intense public interest" they were investigating the bank's activities with assistance from the FBI, FDIC, SEC and IRS. The story was widely reported in the national media in the following weeks.
  • The Financial Collapse

    Among the findings in this package are: In February, Morgenson warned that the arcane contracts known as credit-default swaps were so volatile and explosive that they would "set off a chain reaction of losses at financial institutions." In May, she examined the moves by private investment firms to buy up hundreds of New York apartment buildings, betting that they could evict tenants and raise rents. In July, she reported on the enormous increase in consumer debt and the changes in the lending system that encouraged risky loans. In September, she dissected the small London Investment unit that had bedazzled the insurance giant AIG with its profits but soon brought it to its knees and helped trigger a widespread collapse. In November, she profiled the reckless executives who gambled on subprime home mortgages and led Merrill Lynch to its demise. In December, she held the credit-rating agencies to sharp account, in particular Moody's, showing how they had minimized or overlooked the dangers to investors.
  • The Evidence Gap

    The nations' medical bill last year exceeded $2.7 trillin -- nearly as much as the projected total cost of the Iraq war. If it were medical money well spend, there might be few cries to "reform" the American health care system. But by some estimates, one-third or more of the medical care received by patients in this country may be virtually worthless. The nation is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars each year on superfluous treatments -- money that otherwise could by spent, for example , on providing health insurance for every child, woman and man int his country who currently have no coverage. A team of science and business reporters from The New York Times set out to explain how and why the United States is spending so much on health care with so relatively little to show for the money, They discovered a gaping chasm between scientific evidence and the practice of medicine. In an in-depth series of articles, told through real doctors and patients, and based on information they dug up that was frequently unflattering to medical providers, companies and regulators, the Times team documented many disturbing instances of "The Evidence Gap."
  • American's Neglected Levees

    Scripps reviewed the federal and state level system of levee oversight and found that no one at any level of government knows where all levees are, what they protect or what shape they are in. Thousands of communities are being forced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get levees certified under a national upgrade of flood hazard maps, but even FEMA admits the standards are outdated and don't accurately reflect the risks to people behind them.
  • Financial package

    "Hedge funds in swaps face peril with rising junk bond defaults" examined the complexity of credit default swaps, which are unregulated securities that were supposed to act as a form of insurance and protect investors against risk. "FDIC may need $150 billion bailout as local bank failures mount" reported that many regional banks in the country would fail within a year because they hadn't realized losses on defaulting mortgages. "Exploiting FDIC loopholes enriches former U.S. bank regulators" revealed that three former government employees created a for-profit company that exploits FDIC rules and helps millionaires insure up to $50 million in bank accounts guaranteed by the FDIC.
  • Insurers Criticized for New Rate Models

    This story investigates property-casualty insurers' use of controversial computer models created by various modeling firms; the computer models use complex data to project potential losses from hurricanes and other natural disasters. But investigative reporting revealed the models can be flawed in their design, in their assumptions or in their application by insurers.
  • In Their Dust

    The Baltimore Sun discovered that unbeknownst to state regulators and legislators, non-profit hospitals were suing tens of thousands of patients in local courts over unpaid bills even though those bills were covered through the rate-setting system. Some of the hospitals that filed the most lawsuits were also collecting consistent surpluses on unpaid and charity care through the rate-setting formula, something that the rate-setting commission could not explain. Patients were often railroaded through the legal system. And hospitals violated state laws or contracts with insurance companies by suing patients for amounts they were not permitted to collect.
  • Way Ahead of the Curve

    This is a series of three stories by senior writer David Evans that ran in the February, July and November issues of Bloomberg Markets magazine. In "The Risk Nightmare," (July 2008), Evans pierced the opacity and complexity of credit default swaps, unregulated securities that were supposed to act as a form of insurance and protect investors against risk. He found that CDS had built up so many interconnections that one player could jeopardize the entire financial system. In "Banks on the Edge" (November 2008), Evans reported that scores of regional banks across the U.S. would fail within a year because they hadn't yet realized their losses on defaulting mortgages. In "Peddling Tainted Debt to Florida," (February 2008), he reported that Lehman Brothers was both advising and selling toxic debt to Florida's "money market pool." This disclosure prompted a run on the pool, and it was then shut down as the state investigated its holding and worked to restore its creditworthiness.
  • America's Health Care Crisis

    "America's health-care system is in a crisis with many people worried that medical costs will bankrupt them, a Consumer Reports series found...The series found that consumers who had to buy insurance on their own had higher costs and more limited coverage, according to our nationally representative survey. Often they found they could not get coverage at all, unless it excluded the very illness for which they needed treatment."
  • Sick

    "'Sick' tells the story of eight individuals from around the country to examine what happens when people struggle to pay for their medical care. Along the way, it also tells the story of health insurance in America- how it evolved, how it operates today, and what's likely to happen to it in the future."