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Markel Reports Third Quarter and Nine-Month Results

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $6.02 for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 compared to diluted net loss per share of $14.46 for the third quarter of 2008. Diluted net income per share was $11.02 for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 compared to diluted net loss per share of $2.63 for the same period of 2008. The quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2009 included a benefit of approximately $25 million related to a change in United Kingdom tax law that became effective in the third quarter of 2009. The combined ratio for the third quarter of 2009 was 96% compared to 124% for the third quarter of 2008. The combined ratio was 97% for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 compared to 104% for the same period of 2008. The combined ratio for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2008 included $115.1 million, or 22 points and 8 points, respectively, of underwriting loss related to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Book value per common share outstanding increased 23% to $274.33 at September 30, 2009 from $222.20 at December 31, 2008, which was driven by improvement in the market value of the Company's investment portfolio.

Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "In addition to the increase in market value of our investment portfolio, our third quarter and year-to-date results benefited from a benign hurricane season and strong underwriting profitability from our international operations. While we continue to experience intense competition in all segments of our business, we are actively pursuing growth opportunities and are pleased to have completed our acquisition of Elliott Special Risks, a Canadian managing general agent, effective October 1, 2009."

The Company also announced today it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of the Form 10-Q is available on the Company's website at www.markelcorp.com or on the SEC website at 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 Thursday, November 5, 2009, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Standard 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, November 13, 2009, 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