$1.39 billion 2.2%
LAST YEAR: $1.36 billion*
RESIDENCE: Los Angeles
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Insurance
THE MONEY: Founder of property and casualty insurer Mercury General saw net worth rise as value of shares rose 10.4 percent over past year. Continues to benefit from hefty annual dividends.
BUZZ: Nonagenarian chairman of L.A. insurer works reduced hours at property and casualty insurer. Struck out again on political battlefield with second attempt at ballot measure allowing insurers to offer discounts to drivers who switch providers; measure would
presumably have benefitted Mercury, which specializes in low-cost policies to attract newcomers. Despite dropping $16 million in contributions and tweaking initiative, it failed 45.5 percent to 54.5 percent. Joseph navigated B-17 bomber during World War II, earned dual Harvard degrees and worked as door-to-door salesman before founding Mercury General in 1961. Lives in nearby Hancock Park with current wife, Vicky. (Ex-wife, Gloria, owns 17 percent stake in Mercury General.) Couple also own home in Santa Barbara and have funded building of cross at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.
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