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State Auto in Ward's Top 50 group


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- October 4, 2001 -- The State Auto Group is among the Ward's 50, a benchmark group of the top performing insurance companies in the industry, released last month.

The in-depth analysis was completed by Ward Financial Group, a Cincinnati-based management consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry. This is the third year the State Auto Group has been on the list; State Auto appeared previously in 1996 and 1998.

State Auto Chairman and CEO Bob Moone said that the companies were "pleased and proud to once again be recognized by Ward's as a top performer in our industry. We believe our record of six years of underwriting profit, dramatic increases in policyholder surplus and overwhelming service to our customers demonstrates the advantages of focusing on the fundamentals of our business. During this period of substantial growth we remain committed to those principles that have contributed to our underwriting success."

The Ward's analysis recognizes the 50 companies that have excelled at balancing safety, consistency and performance over the past five years (1996-2000), and then benchmarks their performance with the industry overall. Separate analyses were conducted for the property-casualty (more than 2,700 companies were analyzed) and life-health (more than 1,300 companies were analyzed) segments. A complete list of the Ward's 50 benchmark group for each segment is located on the firm's Web site at www.wardinc.com.

State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company is a regional property and casualty insurance company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio 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 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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