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State Auto Financial reports first quarter 2005 results


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- April 26, 2005 --
State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STFC) today reported record quarterly net income of $40.8 million or $1.00 per diluted share, versus $32.4 million or $0.80 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2004. Net operating earnings* per diluted share were also a quarterly record, $0.96 versus $0.71, for the same 2004 period.

STFC's GAAP combined ratio for the quarter was 84.6 versus 89.6 for the first quarter of 2004. Catastrophe losses contributed 2.7 points to the loss ratio during the first quarter this year, compared to 1.0 points for the same period in 2004. STFC's first quarter revenue of $285.9 million was up from $273.1 million for the same period in 2004. STFC's book value per share increased to a new high of $16.89 per share. Return on stockholders' equity for the twelve months ending 3/31/05 was a robust 18.7%.

STFC Chairman and CEO Bob Moone stated, "It is always a plus to start a new year with positive results. Therefore, we are pleased to report excellent performance in all lines of our business during the first quarter. Our responsible pricing and disciplined underwriting strategies continued to produce outstanding combined ratios, allowing us to build shareholder value. STFC has produced record quarterly net operating earnings* in eight of the last ten quarters. We are confident that adherence to our core strategies will position us for success, despite periodic changes in the market landscape."

State Auto Financial Corporation, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is a regional property and casualty insurance holding company engaged primarily in writing both personal and commercial lines of insurance. The company markets its products through more than 22,200 independent insurance agents associated with approximately 3,200 agencies in 26 central and eastern states, excluding New York, New Jersey and the New England states. The company is included in the 2005 Forbes Magazine's Platinum 400 list of the best-managed companies in America and the State Auto Insurance Companies carry an A+ (Superior) rating from the A.M. Best Company.

* Net operating earnings, a non-GAAP financial measure which management believes is informative to Company management and investors, differ from GAAP net income only by the exclusion of realized capital gains and losses, net of applicable taxes, on investment activity for the periods being reported. For STFC, this amounts to $0.04 per diluted share for the first quarter 2005 versus $0.09 for the same 2004 period.

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