The concept of profit in insurance is extremely contentious. It is difficult to suppress suspicions that some of the profit and loss accounts do as much to obscure still further the true underwriting profit achieved as to clarifying the issue. Provisions for reserves over and above those required legally or even by the canons of prudent insurance practice are one source of obscurity. Life insurance business can also involve a substantial drain if the funds generated by it are invested out of the country. The loss of the physical use of life insurance funds (or mathematical reserve, since it is calculated on actuarial principles) can be of potentially great importance to countries in the basic stages of economic development when investment capital is scarce.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.