Barring another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, or some other catastrophic event, U.S. insurance companies are cautiously optimistic about the economy in 2004. As a result, IT budgets in the industry on average are increasing slightly this year.Research from Celent, Datamonitor, Forrester and TowerGroup suggests insurers will add as much as 10% to their IT budgets this year, with an average increase between 2.5% and 6.7%.

"Insurance is one of the sectors expecting above-average growth in IT budgets for 2004," says Andrew Bartels, vice president at Forrester Research Inc., a Boston-based research and advisory firm that recently conducted a survey of 900 companies across all industries.

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