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Markel strengthens strategic investment in Australia with local presence and leadership

LONDON, Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Markel, the insurance operation within Markel Group Inc. (NYSE: MKL), announced it has hired an in-country leader and will open three new offices in Australia in September 2023. These offices, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, will be led by Rory Morison, who has been appointed as managing director of Markel's Australia operation.

Markel Australia will focus on providing underwriting solutions to businesses that traditionally purchase insurance in the domestic Australian market. This approach will complement existing support through Markel's significant London capacity, as well as industry and product specialists from across its wholesale international business in London and Asia.

Demand is growing across Australia for specialty commercial insurance, particularly in casualty and financial lines, driven in part by the growth of the digital economy alongside traditional industries. Markel intends to introduce new products to the local market, including its leading Fintech and CommTech insurance solutions, designed to protect fast-growing technology businesses from a range of risks such as professional indemnity, general liability, directors and officers (D&O) liability, and cyber. Markel will also continue to support Australian brokers and commercial customers with its broad range of specialist insurance products.

Morison joins Markel from AXA XL where he has worked since 2002, most recently as head of long tail lines. He is a proven local leader in casualty and financial lines – a key initial focus area for Markel in Australia – and he combines this with a deep understanding of Lloyd's, having spent eight years in the London Market. This will ensure even closer connectivity with the existing underwriting support and capacity from London.

By establishing new offices, assembling an experienced leadership team under Morison, and ramping up its investment in local underwriting talent, Markel hopes to build on its long-standing commitment to the Australian market. A core foundation of Markel's international growth strategy is the commitment to strong local underwriting presence and capabilities. Having an appropriate on-the-ground presence means that underwriters can respond more quickly and adapt products to onshore clients' needs and the nuances of a particular risk environment. This is especially important given the speed at which many businesses operate today.

Christian Stobbs, managing director, Asia Pacific, at Markel, said: "Australia is the world's tenth largest insurance market, and it's growing. Specialist commercial insurance forms a significant portion of this premium. We know that local underwriters understand local conditions and are uniquely focused on the needs of local clients. By establishing a strong underwriting presence in Australia under Rory's leadership, we are well-positioned to serve our clients as part of the domestic market, raise our game, and further Markel's international vision."

Andrew McMellin, managing director of wholesale at Markel, added: "Markel has a solid track record of building businesses in international markets, having successfully established onshore operations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia over the past decade. In each case, we have committed to hiring high-quality talent and empowering them with underwriting and claims authority, underpinned by Markel's highly collaborative and entrepreneurial culture."

Rory Morison, managing director of Australia at Markel, said: "I am looking forward to leading the Markel team in Australia and expanding our presence in the local market. We see significant opportunity for Markel within Australia as businesses adjust to the changing landscape, including the rise of the digital economy, increased scrutiny on director liability, and a spate of high-profile cyber breaches. Markel's dedication to a strong local presence and on-the-ground capabilities will ensure that we are best placed to support our new and existing Australian brokers and customers."

About Markel
We are Markel, a leading global specialty insurer with a truly people-first approach. As the insurance operations within Markel Group Inc. (NYSE: MKL), we operate the Markel Specialty, Markel International, and Markel Global Reinsurance divisions, as well as State National, our portfolio protection and program services operations, and Nephila, our insurance-linked securities operations. Our broad array of capabilities and expertise allow us to create intelligent solutions for the most complex risk management needs. However, it is our people – and the deep, valued relationships they develop with colleagues, brokers and clients – that differentiates us worldwide.