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State Auto Financial Corporation reports strong second quarter earnings


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- July 27, 2000 -- State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STFC) reported second quarter net earnings of $12,494,000, a 20.5% increase over the same 1999 period.

Second quarter reported earnings per share were $0.33 ($0.32 diluted), compared with $0.25 ($0.25 diluted) for the second quarter 1999. Net operating earnings for the second quarter ending June 30, 2000 were also $0.33 ($0.32 diluted) compared with $0.23 ($0.23 diluted) for the same period last year.

For the first six months of 2000, net reported earnings were $26,177,000 or $0.68 per share ($0.67 diluted), compared with $21,249,000 or $0.50 ($0.50 diluted) for the same 1999 period. Second quarter total revenue was $113,953,000, up 2.5% from $111,186,000. Total revenue for the first half was $230,414,000, compared with $222,117,000 for the first half of 1999, a 3.7% increase.

STFC's second quarter GAAP combined loss and expense ratio was 95.5, versus 96.9 for the second quarter 1999. While storm losses severely impacted many insurers' results for the second quarter, State Auto's catastrophe storm losses totaled $4.4 million, down from $4.8 million for the second quarter 1999. STFC Chairman Robert Bailey noted that "not many companies in this business can match our underwriting results over the last several years. Despite the challenges of weather and the competition's willingness to sacrifice profit for sales, we've now achieved a combined ratio of 100.0 or better 14 out of the last 15 quarters. Going forward we remain committed to the strategies that have produced these exceptional results."

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 13,100 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, July 27, 2000, 10 AM, to discuss the company's 2000 second quarter performance. A live Webcast of the conference call can be heard on StreetFusion (STREETFUSION.com). StreetFusion can be accessed directly or from links found on both STFC.com and STAUTO.com. A replay of the call can also be heard beginning at noon today by dialing 800-284-5340. The replay will be available through August 10, 2000.

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