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DUFF & PHELPS UPGRADES SAFECO CORPORATION'S SENIOR DEBT TO 'AA-'

 CHICAGO, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has upgraded the senior debt rating of the SAFECO Corporation to AA-' (Double-A-Minus) from A+' (Single-A-Plus). This rating action reflects SAFECO's conservative use of financial leverage and consistent stream of operating profits and cash flow, which has lead to strong debt coverage. In addition, asset quality is improved at SAFECO's life insurance subsidiaries and loss reserves of property-casualty operations are considered to be conservatively stated. The total amount of debt impacted by this rating change is approximately $200 million.
 SAFECO Corporation is a financial services holding company with $13.2 billion in assets, and has principal operating subsidiaries engaged in property-casualty insurance and life insurance. Other operating subsidiaries are engaged in real estate, credit and asset management. SAFECO's property-casualty insurance subsidiaries make up the 29th largest group in the United States, and its life insurance operations are the 46th largest in the United States.
 During 1992, SAFECO's operations produced record net income of $331.3 million, compared with $259.6 million for the previous year. The driving force behind the improvement in 1992 was the property-casualty operation, which represents approximately three-quarters of SAFECO's total corporate revenue. Disciplined underwriting and pricing along with avoidance of the major catastrophe losses due to its geographical mix of business were the major factors responsible for this improvement. Life insurance earnings were relatively unchanged from the prior year as the annuity and pension lines continue their favorable results, while the group health line has continued to suffer due to competitive market pressures.
 SAFECO's consolidated debt to total capitalization, including the debt of real estate and credit subsidiaries was 25.5 percent at the end of 1992, down from 27.1 percent at the previous year-end. Earnings ranged from 4.9 to 5.6 times fixed charges over the period from 1987 to 1991, and earnings are estimated to have been 6.4 times fixed charges for 1992. Both the property-casualty and life subsidiaries are considered to be well capitalized and have conservative levels of operating leverage based on their business mix.
 -0- 2/26/93
 /CONTACT: James B. Auden, 312-368-3146, or Timothy A. Bienek, 312-368-3192, both of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co./
 (SAFC)


CO: SAFECO Corporation ST: Washington IN: INS SU: RTG

CK -- NY025 -- 0818 02/26/93 11:37 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1993
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