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Statistics published by the U. S. Department of Commerce (1980) indicate that in 1977 we spent 8. 1% of our gross national product (GNP) on life, health, property-casualty, and other forms of insurance. An additional 5. 7% was used to pay the Social Security tax, which is another form of insurance premium, for a total of 14. 8% of the GNP. Although insurance had its historical origin in marine insurance, it has now developed into one of the major industries of the American economy and extends into many areas of economic activity. One area where growth has been particularly strong is the medical sector. Health insurance is a major institution in all industrialized countries. It became a government responsibility in 1883 when Bismarck intro- duced a compulsory program of health insurance for industrial workers in Germany. Programs for workers in various industrial and income categories soon followed in other European countries-Austria (1888), Hungary (1891), Norway (1909), Servia (1910), Great Britain (1911), and Russia and Romania (1912) (Rubinow, 1913:250). Programs in these countries were extended in subsequent years, and other countries in Europe followed with their own programs. Consequently, today most industrial countries have universal or near-universal health insurance coverage. In the United States the issue of national health insurance has been seriously debated since just prior to World War I, and polling data since the 1930s show that a substantial majority of the public has been supportive of such a program (Erskine, 1975).
This series explores the central and unique role of organizational ethics in creating and sustaining a flourishing, pluralistic, free enterprise economy. It examines how profit seeking and not-for-profit organizations can be conceived and designed to satisfy legitimate human needs in an ethical and meaningful way. The authors submit rigorous research studies from a wide variety of academic perspectives including: business management, philosophy, sociology, psychology, religion, accounting, finance, and marketing.
Some Muslims believe insurance is unnecessary, as society should help its victims. "Insurance," however, need not be a commercial venture. In its purest sense, it is assistance with the adverse effects of inevitable afflictions, an arrangement beneficial to all. Schemes to ensure the livelihoods of traders and communities have been in existence for millennia. Commercial insurance on the other hand, was invented ostensibly for the same ends but with the chief beneficiaries being the shareholders and directors. Among the countless revelations Islam passed on, two prohibitions, namely riba (usury) and gharar (risk), have been used by legislators as grounds for the prohibition of insurance. Islam is not against making money, and there is no inherent conflict between the material and the spiritual. Islamic law allows igtehad (initiative) to the benefit of people as long as there is no harm to other people. Muslims can no longer ignore the fact that they live, trade and communicate with open global systems, and they can no longer ignore the need for banking and insurance. There is no prohibition in Islamic law against banking, nor insurance; similarly, Muslims can create insurance schemes that use their faith as the immutable basis for a working model. Aly Khorshid demonstrates how initial clerical apprehensions were overcome to create pioneering Muslim-friendly banking systems, and applies the lessons learnt to a workable insurance framework by which Muslims can compete with non-Muslims in business and have cover in daily life. The book uses relevant Quranic and Sunnah extracts, and the arguments of pro- and anti-insurance jurists to arrive at its conclusion that Muslims can enjoy the peace of mind and equity of an Islamic insurance scheme.