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State Auto Financial announces strong earnings and sales results for first quarter


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- April 26, 2001 -- State Auto Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:STFC) announced net reported earnings per share of $0.37 ($0.36 diluted) for the first quarter ending March 31, 2001, compared to $0.35 ($0.35 diluted) per share for the same period last year.

Net operating earnings per share were $0.37 ($0.36 diluted), compared to $0.30 per share ($0.30 diluted) for the same 2000 period. The service fee paid by State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company (Mutual) contributed $0.07 per share and, as discussed in STFC's April 2, 2001 press announcement, the fee remains subject to review by the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI). The company intends to deliver its justification to the ODI, which will include input from independent experts, as soon as practicable.

For the quarter ending March 31, 2001, net earnings were $14,540,000, an increase of 6.3% over the $13,683,000 reported for the same period last year. The company's total revenue for the first quarter was $118,001,000, an increase of 1.3% over the previous year's first quarter total revenue of $116,461,000. The company's GAAP combined ratio for the period ending March 31, 2001 was 94.9, compared to 96.3 for the quarter ending March 31, 2000.

STFC's net written premium for the first quarter 2001 was $105,050,000, an increase of 11.0% over the same period last year. "Producing an underwriting profit is our primary objective," said Robert H. Moone, chairman, president and C.E.O. "And, as the current quarter demonstrates, profit and growth are not mutually exclusive in a rational market environment. We are very pleased with the outstanding quarter and committed to sustaining our performance."

State Auto Financial Corporation is a regional property and casualty insurance holding company engaged primarily in writing personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, commercial multi-peril, workers' compensation and fire insurance. The Company currently markets its products through more than 14,000 agents associated with approximately 2,200 agencies in 26 states. Products are marketed primarily in the Midwest and Eastern United States, excluding New York, New Jersey and the New England states.

STFC has scheduled a conference call with industry analysts for Thursday, April 26, 10 AM to discuss the company's 2001 first quarter performance. A live Webcast of the conference call can be heard on StreetFusion (www.STREETFUSION.com). StreetFusion can be accessed directly or from links found on both www.STFC.com and www.STAUTO.com. A replay of the call can also be heard beginning at noon today by dialing 800-395-7443. The replay will be available through May 10, 2001.

Except for historical information, all other information in this news release consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated or implied. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in State Auto Financial's Form 10-K and Form 10-Q reports and exhibits to those reports, and include (but are not limited to) legislative changes at both the state and federal level, state and federal regulatory rule making promulgations, interpretations, and adjudications, class action litigation involving the insurance industry and judicial decisions affecting claims, policy coverages and the general costs of doing business, the impact of competition on products and pricing, inflation in the costs of the products and services insurance pays for, product development, geographic spread of risk, weather and weather-related events, and other types of catastrophic events. State Auto Financial undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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