Orlando, Fla.

Despite the recession, there are reasons to take heart, an insurance industry economist told Life Settlement Summit attendees.

Steven Weisbart, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute, New York, talked here at the summit about “5 points for a brighter future” – indicators that seem to him to be signaling better times ahead.

1. There are some signs of thawing in the interest rates banks charge to lend money to other banks, suggesting the current tight consumer credit markets may start to ease up before long, Weisbart suggested.

2. The Obama administration’s expected drive to reduce the nation’s oil consumption, could reduce energy prices, Weisbart predicted.

3. The rate of credit growth has slowed. That’s a symptom of the sluggish economy, but also a sign that consumers are trying to live within their means, Weisbart said.

4. The threat of higher inflation is minimal for the time being, meaning that savers face less erosion of savings and income.

5. Home prices are dropping. That may trouble sellers, but it should lure more buyers into the market, Weisbart said.

Weisbart declined to put a timetable on when the current economic slump will reverse, noting that, if it lasts beyond April, the slump will be the longest recession since the stock market crashed in 1929.

The event Weisbart spoke at was sponsored by Summit Business Media L.L.C., New York, the parent company of National Underwriter Life & Health.