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MERCURY GENERAL CORP. REPORTS FIRST QUARTER RESULTS

 LOS ANGELES, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercury General Corp. (NASDAQ: MRCY), a major California automobile insurer, reported today that net income for the quarter ended March 31, 1993, was $22.6 million, or $.83 per share, compared with $18.2 million, or $.67 per share, in the first quarter of 1992. Net operating earnings for the period were $.77 per share, a 19 percent increase over the $.65 per share reported a year ago. Realized capital gains contributed $.06 to 1993 per share results, compared with $.02 per share in 1992. Per share results are based on 27.3 million average shares in 1993 and 27.2 million shares in 1992, adjusted for a 2-for-1 stock split effective in September 1992.
 Premiums written in the first quarter were $118.5 million, a year-to-year increase of 1.8 percent and a 7.7 percent increase over the prior quarter. Premium volume is beginning to reflect the new business being submitted by the more than 100 former Ohio Casualty agents who were licensed by Mercury in late 1992 following that company's withdrawal from the California market.
 Underwriting experience in the quarter was outstanding, despite the influence of an unusually severe rainy season in Southern California. The combined ratio (GAAP basis) was 88.1 percent, compared with 91.9 percent a year ago and 85.1 percent in the final quarter of 1992.
 Although weather-related claims increased somewhat during the period, underlying trends affecting loss severity in the automobile bodily injury line in California continues to be favorable. The loss ratio for the period was 63.9 percent, compared with 68.8 percent in the 1992 first quarter. The expense ratio at 24.2 percent compares with 23.1 percent a year ago.
 Investment income in the quarter was $13.4 million, or $.43 per share after taxes at an effective rate of 11.5 percent. In the 1992 first quarter, per share investment income was $.43 after an effective tax rate of 13.5 percent. The after-tax yield on average investments of $665.5 million (at cost) was 7.1 percent, compared with 7.3 percent on average investments of $647.4 million in the 1992 first quarter.
 Shareholders' equity at March 31, 1993, was $375.8 million, or $13.74 per share. Including market values of fixed-maturity investments in excess of carrying values, net of taxes, shareholders' equity was $14.45 per share at the end of the quarter, compared with $13.52 at Dec. 31, 1992.
 MERCURY GENERAL CORP.
 Summary of Operating Results (000)
 Quarter Ended March 31,
 1993 1992
 Net premiums written $118,467 $116,413
 Net premiums earned 114,125 114,547
 Net investment income 13,414 13,668
 Net operating income(a) 21,066 17,587
 Capital gains, net of tax 1,506 634
 Net income $22,572 $18,221
 Average shares outstanding(b) 27,326,489 27,202,182
 Per share data
 Net operating income $0.77 $0.65
 Capital gains, net of tax $0.06 $0.02
 Earnings per share $0.83 $0.67
 Operating ratios - GAAP Basis(c)
 Loss ratio 63.9 pct 68.8 pct
 Expense ratio 24.2 pct 23.1 pct
 Combined ratio 88.1 pct 91.9 pct(d)
 (a) Net income, excluding capital gains.
 (b) Adjusted for 2-for-1 stock split effective in September 1992.
 (c) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
 (d) Excludes impact of rate refund.
 -0- 5/6/93
 /CONTACT: Keith L. Parker, CFO of Mercury General, 213-937-1060/
 (MRCY)


CO: Mercury General Corp. ST: California IN: INS SU: ERN

MS-JL -- LA033 -- 5599 05/06/93 15:48 EDT
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Date:May 6, 1993
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