While the down economy may still be suppressing budgets within the life and health insurance industry, a new study finds information technology (IT) is about to get a boost in spending.

A survey jointly conducted by industry trade group LOMA, Atlanta, and business research firm Strategy Meets Action found 91% of North American life insurance executives plan to increase IT spending in 2011.

The report analyzes tech spending trends among North American life and annuity insurers. The study examined insurers by tier, uncovering significant differences in business drivers, IT spending patterns and development philosophies based on organizational characteristics.

The study found insurers will continue to see IT as a key investment worthy of additional resources.

More importantly, nearly eight out of 10 executives surveyed said their companies were growing despite the difficult economy, and their rates of spending were also on the rise.

“As the life and annuities industry emerges from this difficult period, many companies are positioning for the next wave of growth,” said SMA partner Mark Breading. “Over the past two years, insurers have taken a conservative approach to the business, working to strengthen their capital position, contain exposure to certain risks and minimize their expense base. While insurers are optimistic about growth opportunities, most think it prudent to expand IT investments with a measured pace, at least in the short term.”

The full report can be found through SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com.

-Bill Coffin