History of Mercury Insurance and its local presence – Larchmont Chronicle

28February 2019

MERCURY INSURANCE COVERAGE’S headquarters structure opened on Wilshire Boulevard in

1986. Photo by Talia Abrahamson The three-story, gray office complex at 4484 Wilshire Boulevard with the Mercury Insurance indication may look typical from the exterior. It houses a rich history of Mercury Insurance’s presence in the local community and its founder, George Joseph, who is now the United States’ oldest billionaire.

Joseph was born in 1921 to Lebanese immigrants in West Virginia. He served in the Air Force throughout The Second World War and was later on admitted to Harvard on the G.I. Bill. He graduated after 3 years in 1949 with majors in math and physics and started working for Occidental Life Insurance Company a few months later on.

GEORGE JOSEPH”All my life, all of my work has been in insurance given that I graduated from college. I much like the mathematics, and mathematics is quite associated with our organisation,” Joseph said in an interview with the Chronicle last month.

Eventually he gave up Occidental Life Insurance Company, persuaded that he might provide a novel system of insurance based upon flexible factors to develop reasonable rates for a range of chauffeurs.

“George Joseph was a visionary, and the important things about George is that he was determined,” said Windsor Square resident Judge James Kaddo, a fellow member of the local Lebanese community. “He saw a need, and he saw that he might fulfill the need, however like all business owners, he didn’t have the financial backing to go against the other business.”

In 1961, after raising $2 million in capital to jumpstart his brand-new car insurer, Joseph established Mercury Insurance. He had actually collected the needed funds from around the Los Angeles community.

“We did that by very first getting an approval from the state’s Insurance Department to raise the capital, and after that we did a lot of mailings, and we had a lot of conferences. We called people, and we had some help from a financial brokerage company. I don’t recall the name of it now, however it was a small broker. All local,” Joseph said.

He established the company from his house outside of Hancock Park with 6 employees and 90 representatives. He opened his very first office at 5455 Wilshire Boulevard, at the corner of Wilshire and Cochran Opportunity, in the Wonder Mile. Mercury Insurance sold its very first policy on April 1, 1962.

In 1964, Joseph moved into his home in Hancock Park.

“I constantly wanted to reside in Hancock Park, from the time I came to Los Angeles. The beauty of the streets and the trees and homes and everything about it was uncommon,” Joseph said.

Ever since, the company has expanded throughout California and into 10 extra states. The company now has more than 4,500 employees and more than 7,000 independent representatives. It has branched off from strictly providing car insurance to include home insurance, renters insurance and organisation insurance, among others, and its market value is approximately $3 billion.

Its home office and primary executive offices lie near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rossmore Opportunity in the Park Mile.

“There was a vacant lot there, and I wanted to develop a building,” Joseph said.

Mercury Casualty bought the property in 1983 from the now-defunct American Savings Association, formerly called the American Savings and Loan Association, a victim of the S&L crisis of the late 1980s. After 3 years of building, the existing 36,000-square-foot office complex on Wilshire Boulevard was inhabited by Mercury General in December 1986.

“It’s a fantastic location to have a workplace. It’s ideal on Wilshire, and a lot of our employees reside in the area, and it’s convenient for them,” VP of Marketing and Public Relations Erik Thompson said.

The structure presently houses about 150 employees, and the company leases staying workplace. The office of the subsidiary insurance companies and the infotech center lie in Brea, California, where there are an additional 2,000 employees.

The company keeps this Park Mile Wilshire place as its headquarters in part because Joseph, at 97 and still active as the Chairman of the Board of the Mercury General Corporation, enters into the office every day.

“I simply monitor what’s going on in the company. Give guidance. Talk to people who want to speak to me,” Joseph said.

With Joseph as a local resident, as well as many employees within the headquarters, the company understands working within the primarily domestic neighborhoods of Hancock Park and Fremont Location.

“Mercury Insurance and its founder, George Joseph, have actually been great neighbors for those people who reside in Fremont Location,” president of the Fremont Location Association Web cam Davis said. “Just recently, at the childhood of 97, Mr. Joseph personally attended our property owners’ conference. He agreed that we might bring back a landscaped sidewalk on Mercury’s property in connection with an improvement the company needs to make to service their policyholders in case of a devastating earthquake.”

Mercury Insurance engages with the bigger Los Angeles community through various social work initiatives. Representatives attend Environment for Mankind occasions for Southern California homeowners, host packaging celebrations for overseas troops, support civil service messages—- for example the “Do not text and drive” effort—- and sponsor the Kings and Dodgers.

“At the time, insurance was this sort of one-size-fits-all car insurance. None of the business actually took into consideration driving record, place and all of these factors that have an impact on the danger of loss and on your danger of entering an accident. Mr. Joseph was actually a pioneer when it came to that and actually established the method modern day insurance is managed today,” said company spokesperson Thompson.

Talia Abrahamson is a junior at Marlborough School.

Tags: George Joseph, Mercury Insurance

Classification: Individuals

Source: larchmontchronicle.com

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