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State Auto Financial expects storms to impact earnings


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- May 20, 2003 -- State Auto Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:STFC) today announced that it estimates that May storms would contribute approximately $23 to $26 million pre-tax to losses in the second quarter, adding 10 to 11 direct loss ratio points to second quarter results. The first two weeks of the month were adversely impacted by severe weather patterns in much of State Auto's operating territory. High winds, tornados, hail, lightning and resulting fires caused damage in 17 of the company's 26 operating states between May 2 and May 12.

State Auto Chairman Robert H. Moone stated, "A study just released by the Insurance Information Institute estimates that the series of tornados and related storm activity that ravaged the central United States earlier this month may well rank as the costliest storms of their type in history. As a company with a major presence in the central U.S., State Auto's second quarter will be impacted. While claims work continues, we are far enough along in the process to be comfortable with these loss projections. We are, once again, exceptionally proud of the outstanding work being done by our Claims Department and the fine independent insurance agents representing the company. Prompt, professional claims service, even during times of great stress, remains a hallmark of State Auto."

State Auto Financial Corporation is scheduled to release second quarter results on July 31, 2003.

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, general liability, workers' compensation and fire insurance. The company currently markets its products through more than 22,000 independent agents associated with approximately 3,500 agencies in 26 states. Products are marketed primarily in the central and eastern United States, excluding New York, New Jersey and the New England states.

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 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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