News/Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2004

Hancock Holding Company completes Magna Insurance purchase

GULFPORT, MS (January 5, 2004) - Senior officials of Hancock Holding Company - the parent company of 104-year-old Hancock Bank - today announced the completion of its acquisition of Magna Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Planters Corporation, Memphis, TN, thereby significantly expanding Hancock's insurance business opportunities.

With the purchase, Harrison Life Insurance Company, a Hancock subsidiary established in 1978 and licensed in Mississippi and Louisiana, will merge with Magna Insurance Company. The venture will enable Hancock to offer Magna products and services through Hancock Bank and other client banks across the entire Southeast and much of the Midwest.

"This purchase represents another proactive step in bringing our Hancock customers comprehensive financial services choices, from traditional banking to wealth management, investments, trust, and insurance," said Hancock Holding Company Chief Financial Officer Carl J. Chaney.

Chartered in 1987, Magna Insurance Company is a well-capitalized, profitable life insurance company headquartered in Mississippi and licensed to conduct business in 16 states. With assets of $28.3 million, Magna is rated B++, or very good, by A.M. Best, the world's oldest, most authoritative source of insurance company ratings and the industry's standard measure of insurer financial performance. Magna is currently approved for business in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ: HBHC) has assets of more than $4.1 billion. Founded 1899, Hancock Bank consistently ranks among the top 4.6 percent of America's financial institutions for financial stability and soundness. Hancock Bank operates 101 offices and more than 135 automated teller machines throughout South Mississippi and Louisiana as well as other subsidiaries Hancock Investment Services, Inc., Hancock Insurance Agency, Hancock Mortgage Corporation, and Harrison Finance Company. Additional corporate information and on-line banking and bill pay services are available at www.hancockbank.com.


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FOR MORE INFORMATION

R. Paul Maxwell, AVP & Corporate Communications Manager
800.522.6542 (ext. 5252) or 228.214.5252
paul_maxwell@hancockbank.com