Source of Wealth:
Founder and chairman of Mercury General Corp. holds 18.8 million shares of the insurer valued at more than $1 billion. The stock held steady over the past 12 months but dividends were raised 8 percent. The amount was an insignificant contributor to his total wealth, but over the past decade has collected more than $250 million in dividends.
Joseph took a step back last year from the company that he founded and ran since 1961, handing over the post of chief executive to Gabriel Tirador. He continues to serve as chairman and is involved in operations. Owns 34 percent of the outstanding shares. Mercury became third largest auto insurer in California in 2003, with total assets over $3 billion. Also underwrites auto and other insurance nationally. Harvard educated numbers man, completed degrees in math and physics in less than three years. Started career as actuarial trainee at Occidental Life, grew jealous of paychecks in sales department and subsequently became an entrepreneur.