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Markel Reports Second Quarter and Six Month Results

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported net income of $5.95 per diluted share for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 compared to net income of $5.84 per diluted share for the same period of 2004. Net income for the six months ended June 30, 2005 was $13.42 per diluted share compared to $10.04 per diluted share in 2004. The combined ratio for the second quarter of 2005 was 92% compared to 90% in 2004. For the six months ended June 30, 2005, the combined ratio was 91% compared to 93% in the prior year. Book value per share increased to $177.98 per share at June 30, 2005 from $168.22 per share at December 31, 2004 due to comprehensive income of $96.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005.

Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Despite increased competition resulting in lower premium volume, we produced strong results for the first half of the year. We remain focused on underwriting profitability and look forward to continued success in the second half of the year."

The Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of the Form 10-Q is available on the Company's website at http://www.markelcorp.com or at the SEC website at http://www.sec.gov. 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 may include forward-looking information, will be held Wednesday, August 3, 2005 beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). Any person interested in listening to the call should contact Markel's Investor Relations Department at 804-747-0136. Investors, analysts and the general public may also listen to the call free over the Internet through Markel Corporation's corporate web site, http://www.markelcorp.com.

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.

Markel Corporation celebrates its Diamond Anniversary in 2005; over 75 years we've firmly established the Markel Style and our commitment to success.

SOURCE: Markel Corporation

CONTACT: Bruce Kay of Markel Corporation, +1-804-747-0136