Cotton States to Affiliate With Country P/C Pool

December 31, 2003

Atlanta-based Cotton States Insurance Group and Country Insurance & Financial Services of Bloomington, Ill., have entered into definitive agreements implementing their prior agreements regarding the acquisition of Cotton States Life Insurance Co. by merger and the affiliation of Cotton States Mutual Insurance Co. with the property/casualty insurance pool of Country.

The affiliation establishes a P/C alliance between Cotton States and the Country P/C insurance pool and calls for the business of Cotton States to be combined with the business of the COUNTRY property/casualty pool. The entire pool shares proportionally in the earning and loss results.

The P/C alliance is intended to allow both organizations to diversify risk and spread costs over a larger geographical area. Cotton States also benefits from aligning with the financially-strong Country organization. While Country assumes control of Cotton States’ board of directors, it is expected that Cotton States will continue its existing operation with offices and employees remaining in Atlanta.

Customers of the Cotton States Insurance Group will continue to work with their Cotton States agent. Policies should be unaffected by the transactions and policyholders can expect the same level of customer service as they have received in the past.

Under the life insurance merger agreement, Cotton States Life Insurance stockholders will receive $20.25 cash for each share of outstanding common stock of Cotton States Life Insurance Co. As a result, it will become a privately-held company.

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