Mercury Insurance Group (NYSE: MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization offering personal automobile, homeowners, renters and business insurance. Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Mercury has assets in excess of $4 billion, employs 4,500 people and has more than 8,000 independent agents in 11 states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia).
Mercury’s primary focus is auto and homeowners insurance, however, the company also writes personal liability policies (umbrella), business insurance, mechanical breakdown protection (similar to an extended warranty for your vehicle), renters, service line protection, home systems protection, identity management protection and ride-hailing insurance.
Mercury founder George Joseph, who flew 50 World War II missions over Africa and Italy as a navigator before graduating from Harvard on the GI Bill in 1949 , decided his Ivy League math degree fit nicely into the actuarial world of insurance. Joseph then spent more than a decade in the industry before founding Mercury Insurance in 1961 as a low-cost alternative to larger insurance companies.
Mercury General Corp., which consisted of six employees sold its first policy April 1, 1962. Now, it’s one of California’s largest insurance providers in the state.
Mercury’s California expansion began in 1964 with the opening of its first Orange County office. Two years later, the company spread into the San Fernando Valley and also began operations in San Diego. Mercury offices opened in Northern California by 1968.
Mercury wrote $1 million in premiums per month by 1970, sold its first homeowners policy in 1972 and in 1973 the company celebrated its 10th consecutive year of revenue growth. Newly created Mercury Insurance Company wrote its first auto policy in 1977.
Mercury expanded outside of California, opening offices in Georgia and Illinois beginning in 1989.
The company insured more than 1 million vehicles in California by 1998. This led to further growth into Florida (1998), New York (2001) and Virginia (2001).
Forbes lists Mercury Insurance on its “100 Most Trustworthy Companies” in 2012 “America’s 50 Most Trusted Financial Companies” in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It has been rated A+ “Excellent” by insurance industry rating agencies A.M. Best and Fitch.
In 2017, the company was named a “Top Five Best Auto Insurance Company” by Insure.com, who surveyed more than 3,700 U.S. insurance customers on the criteria of “customer service,” “claims handling,” “pricing,” “plans to renew current policy,” and “would recommend the insurer.” Additionally, Mercury Insurance was named one of “America’s Best Midsize Employers” by Forbes magazine in 2017.
Mercury is currently operating in 11 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.
Mercury is led by President and CEO Gabriel Tirador, and Joseph is Chairman of the Board.
A March 2007 market conduct exam by the California Department of Insurance alleged that Mercury Insurance may have repeatedly engaged in practices that discriminated against active members of the U.S. military, the unemployed, those of certain occupations such as bartenders and painters, and unmarried adults living together. Additionally the company was alleged to have been inconsistent in its application of certain discounts, which resulted in some of its customers being overcharged.
Representatives of Mercury Insurance were quick to argue that the leak of the conduct exam was a politically motivated move meant to benefit California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a Republican candidate for California governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Personal Auto Insurance – Mercury provides liability, comprehensive, collision, and other coverages for personal automobiles.
Homeowners Insurance – A policy specifically tailored to individual needs for single-family homes that includes the structure, belongings and liability coverage. It may also provide additional living expenses if policyholders are forced to vacate their homes due to a covered loss or peril.
Renters Insurance – Renters insurance provides coverage for personal property and liability protection. It also covers temporary living expenses should your property become uninhabitable due to a covered loss or peril.
Condo Insurance – Specifically designed for condo owners, these policies provide coverage for personal property, liability protection, guest medical protection, and condo unit additions and alterations. It also covers temporary living expenses should your property become uninhabitable due to a covered loss or peril.
Umbrella Insurance – Additional liability protection for personal auto and/or homeowners in the event losses exceed the underlying policy’s liability limits.
Dwelling Fire Insurance – A policy specifically designed for landlords to protect rental properties – providing coverage for the structure, contents and general liability. Should the property become uninhabitable due to a covered loss or peril, fair rental value will be provided for lost rents until the property is livable again.
Business Auto Insurance – Provides protection for individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations with vehicles that are used for business purposes.
Business Insurance – Three different policies – Business Owners Policies (BOPs), Commercial Property, and Commercial Liability – that protect various aspects of a business. The most common policy coverages include liability, medical, building coverage, business personal property and business income.
Mechanical Protection – Commonly referred to as extended warranty coverage, Mercury’s mechanical protection pays for covered vehicle repairs after the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty expires. Certain benefits are also available during the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty period.
Ride-Hailing Insurance – An endorsement to Mercury’s personal auto policy that covers the gaps between auto insurance and the Transportation Network Company’s commercial insurance coverage when the driver working for a TNC turns on the ride-hailing app.
Service Line Protection – An endorsement to a homeowners policy that covers damage to exterior underground service lines, which includes water piping, sewer lines, power lines and more.
Home Systems Protection – An endorsement to a homeowners policy that covers HVAC systems, appliances, electronics and more.
Identity Management Protection – An endorsement to a homeowners, condo or renters policy that help protect a person’s identity from fraudsters.