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Mercury Insurance History

Does life begin at 40? Judging by Mercury founder George Joseph's life thus far,not only is the answer yes, but the company's best years may be yet to come.You see, Mercury sold its first policy when Mr. Joseph was exactly 40 years old. The eldest son of a restaurateur, George Joseph was born in 1921 and grew up in West Virginia. During World War II, he served in the Air Force as a B-17 navigator, flying some 50 missions. Afterwards, he attended Harvard on the GI Bill, graduating in 1949 with a degree in mathematics and physics. That same year, Mr. Joseph moved to Los Angeles, where he embarked on a career in insurance. By day, he worked for Occidental Life, as a systems analyst and later as a salesman. By night, he sold life insurance door-to-door. In 1954, he left Occidental to open his own agency. He offered life insurance and eventually property and casualty lines, earnings CPCU and CLU designations along the way.

By the late 50's, Mr. Joseph had grown unhappy with the way property/casualty insurers marketed private passenger auto business. "Some companies restricted acceptance to preferred risks only; some only wrote standard risks; and other, only non-standard risks. It wasn't like life insurance, which had a slot for almost every risk," he explains.

Mr. Joseph decided to fill the void. Convinced that, "Whatever you can conceive,you can achieve," he set out to form a company that would write all risks. Even risks---young people, the temporarily unemployed, new residents--that other insurers avoided like a monk shuns Las Vegas.

In April, 1962, after two years of planning, Mercury came to life. Mr. Joseph named the Company after the Roman god of commerce and good fortune. As the winged messenger of the gods, it is Mercury who offers guidance to travelers and restores peace and prosperity.

With more complex classifications and careful screening practices than its competitors, Mercury brought a level of attentiveness to underwriting that was rarely seen. "At the time, what Mr. Joseph did was revolutionary," says Charles McClung, a founding board member who once sold insurance with Mr. Joseph.

Under Mr. Joseph's tutelage, Mercury has enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates in the industry. It is also one of the most consistently profitable, ending 2002 with written premiums of $1.8 billion, and assets of $2.5 billion. Over the years, Mercury and Mr. Joseph have garnered a slew of accolades from the industry and media alike. "Anyone in the industry will tell you they have the utmost respect for Mr. Joseph," says Policy Service Manager Gretchen Kronman, who, at 38 years with the Company, is its longest-serving employee. "His commitment to the industry, Mercury, and our agents has been tremendous." George Joseph is very, very smart," said California Assemblyman Tom Calderon at Mercury's most recent agents' contingency luncheon in California. "He really knows insurance issues."

Why Mercury

1. Low rates. Mercury has among the lowest rates of any insurance carrier in Florida. Check out our rate comparison to other insurance companies in Florida
2. Financial Strength. Mercury is rated A+ by the premier insurance rating organization, A.M. Best. Mercury has over $2-billion in assets for the protection of our policyholders. We have the financial strength to be there when you need us.
3. Great Service. Mercury prides themselves on providing the best service in the insurance industry. Our 300+ Florida based employees have made the pledge to provide exceptional service to our customers. Our customers constantly rank our service as "superior" on our customer service surveys we regularly send out.
4. Multiple insurance products. Mercury is one of the few Florida companies that provide a wide array of insurance products. Our product line includes: auto, homeowners, commercial auto and flood insurance. You will get the same low rate and great service with all these products.
5. True Long-term Value. Combining all the above demonstrates why you should place your insurance business with Mercury. In addition, over 92% of our policyholders renew their policies with us. A testimony to their complete satisfaction with Mercury. Maintaining cost control is a collaborative effort. There are several ways that policy holders can help keep premiums down as well.

What can be done to control costs:

Drive Carefully: Safe drivers pay lower premiums than those who cause accidents.
Obey Traffic Laws: Your rates may be affected by conviction of a moving violation.
Choose a Safer Car: Buying an automobile with good claims track record can significantly reduce your premium discount. Good student and Driver Safety Course discounts also apply in some states.
Raise your Deductible: The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
Report Fraud Mercury Insurance and the insurance industry are working hard to combat insurance fraud. But we need your help. If you suspect an insurance or vehicle theft scheme, notify the authorities or report it to the National Crime Bureau immediately by calling 1-800TEL-NICB. Your anonymity is guaranteed, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
Carefully choose your coverage. It may be worthwhile to drop collision and comprehensive coverage on an older car. Comparing the value of your car to the premium and deductible may help you decide. Contact a Mercury Insurance Agent or Broker if you have any questions.

Mercury Insurance is committed to doing what's best for you. Part of that commitment is an ongoing effort to offer you the highest level of service at the lowest possible cost.

What Mercury Insurance Does to Control Costs:

  • Works with regulators to push for safer automobile construction, driver and passenger air bags, and use of competitively-priced replacement parts
  • Endorses tougher seat belt laws and stiffer penalties for drunk driving and auto theft.
  • Speaks out for stricter enforcement of speed limits and against radar detectors.
  • Operates a fraud unit to investigate suspicious claims: Our Special Investigative Unit (SIU) works closely with our Claims Department to pursue all questionable claims, from padded auto body repair bills and auto theft to fraudulent bodily injury claims. The vigilance has paid off. Many questionable claims have proven fraudulent, and payments have been denied, resulting in considerable cost savings for Mercury Insurance (and every Mercury Insurance Policyholder).
  • Participates in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group dedicated to reducing crash-related deaths, injuries, and property loss.
We value your business and look forward to serving you!