Markel Reports First Quarter 2008 Results and Announces Election of Officers to New...

Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:28pm EDT

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Markel Reports First Quarter 2008 Results and Announces Election of Officers
to New Positions

RICHMOND, Va., April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Markel Corporation
(NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $3.41 for the quarter
ended March 31, 2008 compared to $9.88 for the first quarter of 2007. The
combined ratio for the first quarter of 2008 was 92% compared to 87% for the
first quarter of 2007. Book value per common share outstanding was $263.16 at
March 31, 2008 compared to $265.26 at December 31, 2007. The decline in book
value was primarily due to comprehensive loss of $19.9 million, 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, "Our
first quarter financial results have been impacted by both increased
competition in the specialty insurance market and volatility in the financial
markets. While our performance for the quarter suffered as a result, our
underwriting profitability was in line with expectations and our commitment to
a long-term investment philosophy remains unchanged."
    Markel also announced today that its Board of Directors has elected
Anthony F. Markel as Vice Chairman and Paul W. Springman as President and
Chief Operating Officer effective May 1, 2008.
Tony Markel has been associated with Markel for over 40 years, serving as
President and Chief Operating Officer since 1992. Paul Springman has worked
for Markel and its subsidiaries since 1984 and has served as Executive Vice
President since 2002.
    Commenting on the announcement, Alan Kirshner said, "I want to
congratulate both Tony and Paul. The new roles we are announcing for them
today allow us to further implement our succession planning, while preserving
access to the experience of the management team that has achieved great
success since Markel went public in 1986. I look forward to continuing to work
with both of them to reach our goals for Markel's customers, shareholders and
associates."
Tony Markel added, "I've reached a point where I think it's best to step
back from day-to-day operations and join Alan Kirshner and Steve Markel in
providing strategic focus for the Company. With the three of us, Paul
Springman to oversee operations, Tom Gayner as chief investment officer and
Richie Whitt as chief financial officer, we have a stable and experienced
management team that is well-equipped to deal with today's challenging
markets."
    In addition to the above announcements, the Company also announced today
it has filed its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 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 quarterly conference
call, which will also involve discussion of the Company's financial results
and business developments and may include forward-looking information, will be
held Thursday, May 1, 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 Monday, May 12, 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, 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
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