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Markel Reports Third Quarter and Nine Month Results

RICHMOND, Va., Oct 31, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $10.47 for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 compared to diluted net loss per share of $11.31 for the same period of 2005. Diluted net income per share was $27.24 for the nine months ended September 30, 2006 compared to $2.52 in 2005. The combined ratio for the third quarter of 2006 was 84% compared to 149% in 2005. The combined ratio was 88% for the nine months ended September 30, 2006 compared to 109% for the same period of 2005. The quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2005 included $254 million, or 58 points and 18 points, respectively, of underwriting loss related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Book value per share increased 17% to $204.45 at September 30, 2006 from $174.04 at December 31, 2005 due to comprehensive income of $313.9 million partially offset by repurchases of the Company's common stock in 2006.

Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased to report record net income for the third quarter and nine months of 2006. Our success was the result of a benign hurricane season, strong underwriting performance across all of our business units and solid investment returns. Despite a competitive market, we are excited about the future and are confident in our associates' ability to build long-term shareholder value."

The Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 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, November 1, 2006, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Standard 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

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