This year may be the year of consolidation and legacy renewal when it comes to insurance carriers' IT spending, according to industry analysts. And IT budgets will increase slightly over 2005, although there may be trimming back in some areas.The wild card will be the impact caused by Katrina and other hurricanes that wrought such devastation in New Orleans, Florida and other locales in the Southeast.

Some industry experts envision a retrenchment in IT spending, particularly in the property/casualty area. Others anticipate the destruction caused by the hurricanes will spur insurers to spend more on data warehousing and retrieval, disaster recovery, and other IT systems to better prepare for future disasters.

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