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State Auto Financial announces strong first quarter earnings


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- April 27, 2000 -- State Auto Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:STFC - news) announced net reported earnings per share of $0.35 ($0.35 diluted) for the first quarter ending March 31, 2000, compared to $0.25 ($0.25 diluted) per share for the same period last year. Net operating earnings per share were $0.30 ($0.30 diluted), compared to $0.24 per share ($0.24 diluted) for the same 1999 period.

For the quarter ending March 31, 2000, net earnings were $13,683,000, an increase of 25.8% over the $10,880,000 reported for the same period last year. The company's total revenue for the first quarter was $116,461,000, an increase of 5% over the previous year's first quarter revenue of $110,931,000. The company's combined ratio for the period ending March 31, 2000 was 96.3, compared to 96.1 for the quarter ending March 31, 1999.

"The first quarter numbers are gratifying,'' said Robert L. Bailey, chairman, "especially in view of the industry's profitability struggles. As in the past, we do not intend to sacrifice profitability for market growth.''

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, April 27, 10 AM to discuss the company's 2000 first quarter performance. A replay of this conversation, in its entirety, can be heard beginning at noon today by dialing 888-293-8910, X4526. The replay will be available through May 11, 2000.

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