The rough economy notwithstanding, a number of insurers in the United States are considering launching new products this year, says a new study.

The same is true for large international insurance companies, says Catherine Stagg-Macey, senior insurance analyst at Celent, London, and coauthor of Celent’s Q2 Insurance Industry Expectations and Strategies.

The online survey reflects views of over 270 executives representing insurers and vendors from around the world. It was conducted in April and July.

The respondents may be pessimistic about the broader economy, but “they are nevertheless bullish on their own companies’ strategies,” the researchers note.

When asked about types of strategic responses companies are making to the crisis, 62% of North American insurer respondents said launching new products is already underway or completed.

54% said the same thing about launching a new channel.

International insurers had similar responses, says Stagg-Macey.

“A recession is not the time when you would expect to see product launches,” she concedes. But she believes that well-capitalized insurers are going ahead with launches anyhow.

“They seem to be investing heavily right now for the time when the recession turns, which they know it will,” she says.

Another explanation is that some insurers seem not to have suffered from recession as much as other insurers. Stagg-Macey cites property-casualty insurers as an example. In comparison to life and financial services companies, P-C carriers were not hit very hard by the first wave of the recession, so they may have been be better able to develop and launch new products, she says.

Finally, insurers with a large international exposure are having an easier time of it than single-sector insurers, Stagg-Macey says. The former companies can therefore make new launches with fewer constraints.