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Markel Reports First Quarter 2008 Results and Announces Election of Officers to New Positions

RICHMOND, Va., April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $3.41 for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 compared to $9.88 for the first quarter of 2007. The combined ratio for the first quarter of 2008 was 92% compared to 87% for the first quarter of 2007. Book value per common share outstanding was $263.16 at March 31, 2008 compared to $265.26 at December 31, 2007. The decline in book value was primarily due to comprehensive loss of $19.9 million, which was driven by a decline in the market value of the Company's investment portfolio.

Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our first quarter financial results have been impacted by both increased competition in the specialty insurance market and volatility in the financial markets. While our performance for the quarter suffered as a result, our underwriting profitability was in line with expectations and our commitment to a long-term investment philosophy remains unchanged."

Markel also announced today that its Board of Directors has elected Anthony F. Markel as Vice Chairman and Paul W. Springman as President and Chief Operating Officer effective May 1, 2008.

Tony Markel has been associated with Markel for over 40 years, serving as President and Chief Operating Officer since 1992. Paul Springman has worked for Markel and its subsidiaries since 1984 and has served as Executive Vice President since 2002.

Commenting on the announcement, Alan Kirshner said, "I want to congratulate both Tony and Paul. The new roles we are announcing for them today allow us to further implement our succession planning, while preserving access to the experience of the management team that has achieved great success since Markel went public in 1986. I look forward to continuing to work with both of them to reach our goals for Markel's customers, shareholders and associates."

Tony Markel added, "I've reached a point where I think it's best to step back from day-to-day operations and join Alan Kirshner and Steve Markel in providing strategic focus for the Company. With the three of us, Paul Springman to oversee operations, Tom Gayner as chief investment officer and Richie Whitt as chief financial officer, we have a stable and experienced management team that is well-equipped to deal with today's challenging markets."

In addition to the above announcements, the Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of the Form 10-Q is available on the Company's website at or on the SEC website at Readers are urged to review the Form 10-Q for a more complete discussion of the Company's financial performance. The quarterly conference call, which will also involve discussion of the Company's financial results and business developments and may include forward-looking information, will be held Thursday, May 1, 2008, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). Any person interested in listening to the call, or a replay of the call, which will be available from approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call until Monday, May 12, 2008, should contact Markel's Investor Relations Department at 804-747-0136. Investors, analysts and the general public also may listen to the call free over the Internet through the Company's web site,

Markel Corporation markets and underwrites specialty insurance products and programs to a variety of niche markets. In each of these markets, the Company seeks to provide quality products and excellent customer service so that it can be a market leader. The financial goals of the Company are to earn consistent underwriting profits and superior investment returns to build shareholder value.

SOURCE  Markel Corporation
    -0-                             04/30/2008
    /CONTACT:  Bruce Kay of Markel Corporation, +1-804-747-0136/
    /Web site: /

CO:  Markel Corporation
ST:  Virginia

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5084 04/30/2008 16:28 EDT