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Markel Reports Second Quarter and Six Month Results

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $9.11 for the quarter ended June 30, 2006 compared to $5.95 for the same period of 2005. Diluted net income per share was $16.77 for the six months ended June 30, 2006 compared to $13.42 in 2005. The combined ratio for the second quarter of 2006 was 86% compared to 92% in 2005. The combined ratio was 90% for the six months ended June 30, 2006 compared to 91% for the same period of 2005. Book value per share increased to $179.89 at June 30, 2006 from $174.04 at December 31, 2005 due to comprehensive income of $76.9 million partially offset by repurchases of the Company's common stock in 2006.

Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Both our underwriting performance and premium volume growth were strong in the first half of 2006. The London Insurance Market segment's second quarter combined ratio of 96%, the first quarterly underwriting profit for Markel International, as well as favorable development of prior years' loss reserves in the Excess and Surplus Lines segment contributed to our success. Gross premium volume grew 11% in the second quarter of 2006 and continued to exceed our expectations. This growth resulted primarily from rate increases for catastrophe-exposed product lines and further expansion of new programs as we continued to experience strong competition in our professional liability and casualty programs."

The Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2006 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 2, 2006, 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 also may listen to the call free over the Internet through the Company's 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.

SOURCE: Markel Corporation

CONTACT: Bruce Kay of Markel Corporation, +1-804-747-0136/ /Web site: http://www.markelcorp.com