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Markel Reports Second Quarter and Six-Month Results

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $8.29 for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 compared to $12.15 for the second quarter of 2007. Diluted net income per share was $11.69 for the six months ended June 30, 2008 compared to $22.02 for the same period of 2007. The combined ratio for the second quarter of 2008 was 95% compared to 89% for the second quarter of 2007. The combined ratio was 93% for the six months ended June 30, 2008 compared to 88% for the same period of 2007. Book value per common share outstanding decreased 5% to $252.39 at June 30, 2008 from $265.26 at December 31, 2007. The decline in book value was primarily due to comprehensive loss of $113.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2008, 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, "Despite soft insurance market conditions, we are pleased with our underwriting results. Our investment results in the first half of 2008 reflect the ongoing turbulence in the equity and fixed income markets. While we are disappointed in these short-term results, we remain confident that our long-term focus on investments in high quality, profitable, durable and transparent companies will continue to add value to Markel in the future as it has for years."

The Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 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 on 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 Company's quarterly conference call, which will involve discussion of the Company's financial results and business developments and may include forward-looking information, will be held Tuesday, August 5, 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 Friday, August 15, 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, 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 08/04/2008
CONTACT:
Bruce Kay of Markel Corporation, 1-804-747-0136
Web site: http://www.markelcorp.com (MKL)