How much does an Insurance defense attorney make per year?

Typically, an attorney who focuses his/her practice on "insurance defense" is an attorney who handles cases assigned to him/her by an insurance company. These cases involve defending persons or companies insured under various types of insurance policies, but the majority are automobile or premises insurance policies. These policies are either personal insurance or those that insure companies/corporations which are commonly known as commercial insurance policies. The insurance companies routinely assign cases that are in suit to insurance defense attorneys to defend either the company or, many times, the insured policy holder. Regardless, many insurance companies set the hourly rate they will pay attorneys to whom they assign to defend a case. That rate can be anywhere from $85 an hour to $150. Depending on the region of the country and the attorneys experience, that rate could be as high as $200 - $225 an hour. Obviously, in a law firm environment, associates will earn less than a partner, junior partner or even a senior associate. Starting salaries can range from $50,000 annually to $85,000 annually depending on the size of the firm and region of the country. By their fifth to eighth year out of law school, an insurance defense lawyer can be earning about $95,000 to $105,000 per year. As a partner, their salary could be $130,000 per year or higher depending, again, on the size of the firm, region of the country and in what other areas of legal practice the firm might specialize. Most insurance companies have insurance defense attorneys commonly known as "House Counsel". These attorneys are actual employees of the insurance company that operate the exact same way as an "outside counsel" would operate. The largest difference is that their salary is typically higher and benefits are better than with an outside firm. The increase in salary is due in part because they are attached to large corporation that acknowledges a cost-savings benefit by assigning cases to House Counsel rather than outside counsel. Much of the cost-savings benefit is due to the flat overhead of maintaining an in-house law firm rather than paying the many times astronomical costs of outside counsel. The in-house counsel, many times, is just as effective, if not more effective than an outside attorney. Those savings are past on to the in-house attorneys in the form of higher salaries and bonuses at year end. For in-house attorneys you can add another $10,000 per year to the above salaries.