THE MONEY

The founder and chairman of property and casualty insurer Mercury General saw his net worth drop significantly. Mercury General Corp. shares fell 17 percent since last May as auto insurance industry profits have fallen due to rising claims costs and hits to property insurance lines from catastrophic weather events last year. Accumulation of dividend payouts has been a steady contributor to his wealth.

THE BUZZ The founder and chairman of property and casualty insurer Mercury General saw his net worth drop significantly.

Joseph, ranked by Forbes as the oldest billionaire in the U.S. and fourth-oldest in the world, still goes into the office on regular basis. He is, by far, Mercury’s largest shareholder, with 34 percent of the shares. Joseph navigated a B-17 bomber during World War II, earned dual Harvard 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 also owns a home in Santa Barbara. They funded the building of a cross at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and have donated to USC, Harvard, Cal State Fullerton and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

NET WORTH

$1.9 billion

–5%

Last year: $2.0 billion

AGE: 96

RESIDENCE: Hancock Park

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Insurance

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