Columbus, Ohio (March 12, 2009) – State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC) today announced its preliminary estimates of 2009 catastrophe storm activity. The company expects first quarter 2009 earnings will include between $38.0 and $42.0 million in pre-tax catastrophe losses related to January and February storm activity.
STFC Chairman, President and CEO Bob Restrepo stated “Ice and wind storms that hit our Midwest operating states in late January and early February have contributed significantly larger than normal losses to STFC’s first quarter results. These storms include events that qualify towards our new catastrophe aggregate reinsurance program. Over the past five years, we have experienced an average of $12.4 million in pre-tax catastrophe losses during the first quarter and reported $35.0 million in the first quarter of 2008.
“While the scope of loss does not equal what we saw with Hurricane Ike, more than 10,000 claims have been attributed to these storms. We dispatched catastrophe teams to the areas most heavily damaged. Our claims personnel, working on site and from our Regional locations and our Contact Centers, have again distinguished themselves in providing service to our policyholders,” added Restrepo.
State Auto Financial Corporation, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is a super regional property and casualty insurance holding company. The company markets its personal and business insurance products exclusively through independent insurance agencies in 33 states and is proud to be a Trusted Choice® company partner. STFC stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, which represents the top third of all NASDAQ listed companies.
The insurance subsidiaries of State Auto Financial Corporation are part of the State Auto Group. The State Auto Group is rated A+ (Superior) by the A.M. Best Company and consists of State Automobile Mutual, State Auto Property & Casualty, State Auto National, State Auto Ohio, State Auto Wisconsin, State Auto Florida, Milbank, Farmers Casualty, Meridian Security, Meridian Citizens Mutual, Beacon National, Beacon Lloyds, Patrons Mutual and Litchfield Mutual Fire. Additional information on State Auto Financial Corporation can be found online at www.StateAuto.com.
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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.