34. GEORGE JOSEPH
THE MONEY: The founder of property and casualty insurer Mercury General Corp. saw his net worth rise significantly as the company’s shares rose 17 percent since May of last year. He is the company’s largest shareholder, with a 34 percent stake. Joseph’s wealth was also boosted by regular dividend payouts.
THE BUZZ: The nonagenerian insurance tycoon still goes into the office on a regular basis for a few hours at a time. Mercury benefitted from the insurance sector’s share price run-up and the entry of Uber and Lyft drivers into the market. Joseph lowered his public profile after suffering defeat at the polls in 2012 with a second attempt to allow insurers to offer discounts to drivers who switch providers. The measure would presumably have benefited Mercury, which specializes in low-cost policies. Joseph navigated B-17 bombers during World War II, earned dual Harvard University degrees, and worked as a door-to-door salesman before founding Mercury in 1961. He lives in Hancock Park with his wife, Vicky. The couple funded the building of the cross at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. He’s also donated to USC, Harvard, Cal State Fullerton, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
NET WORTH: $1.99 billion (+11.8%)
LAST YEAR: $1.78 billion
RESIDENCE: Hancock Park
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Insurance