Named after the Roman god of commerce and travel, Mercury General hopes to combine the two. The company is the parent of a group of insurers, including Mercury Casualty Company, that write automobile insurance for all risk classifications in about a dozen states. Plain old private auto insurance accounts for more than 80% of premiums written. However, Mercury General also sells commercial vehicle insurance and a bit of homeowners, mechanical breakdown, and fire insurance. The company sells its policies through more than 5,500 independent agents, mainly in California and Florida. Chairman George Joseph founded Mercury Casualty in 1961; he and his wife own just over 50% of the company.
While Mercury General has ventured from its California comfort zone, California still accounts for more than 75% of its total premiums. The company operated solely in its home state until 1990; it now underwrites auto insurance in a dozen other states as well. These include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. – less