COLUMBUS, Ohio -- June 1, 2001 -- The merger of State Auto Mutual Insurance Company and Meridian Mutual Insurance Company and State Auto Mutual's acquisition of Meridian Insurance Group, Inc. was completed effective June 1, 2001. State Auto Mutual is the controlling shareholder of State Auto Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:STFC). The transaction makes the State Auto Insurance Companies the nation's 48th largest property and casualty insurance group, with written premium in excess of $1 billion, over $2 billion in assets and almost $1 billion in surplus. State Auto chairman and CEO Bob Moone called the merger "an excellent fit. We've learned a lot about integrating companies by virtue of our three previous acquisitions and studying the successes and setbacks of other organizations. Working with the Meridian team over the past number of months has confirmed our initial perception that the cultures and key philosophies of the companies are very similar. These facts bode well for a smooth integration from the perspectives of agents, policyholders and employees."
With the exception of Washington, Meridian's 18 operating states are all found within State Auto's 26 state universe, but Meridian increases the group's penetration in a number of key Midwest states. "We are pleased with the successful completion of the merger with State Auto," said Norma Oman, Meridian president. "The combination of our companies is beneficial for all our constituencies and we look forward to long-term success." Oman will join the State Auto Mutual board of directors and Meridian board chairman Ray Humke will join the State Auto Financial Corporation board. No Meridian employees will be displaced as a result of the transaction.
Joel Brown, formerly Meridian's sales vice president, has been named regional vice president and manager of the new Indianapolis regional office. Steve Hazelbaker, formerly Meridian's chief operating officer, has been named a vice president of all the State Auto companies. In his new role, he will serve as director of branch/regional operations with responsibility for the companies' Cincinnati, Cleveland, Central, Des Moines, Eastern and La Crosse offices.
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 24,000 agents associated with approximately 3,700 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.
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 promulgation's, 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.