Markel Corp. history, profile and corporate video

 Markel Corp. is a financial holding company. It markets and underwrites specialty insurance products and programs. The company operates through three segments: Excess and Surplus Lines, Specialty Admitted, and London Insurance Markets. The Excess and Surplus Lines segment writes property and casualty insurance outside of the standard market for hard-to-place risks, including catastrophe-exposed property, professional liability, products liability, general liability, commercial umbrella, and other coverage tailored for unique exposures. The Specialty Admitted segment writes risks that, although unique and hard-to-place in the standard market must remain with an admitted insurance company for marketing and regulatory reasons. The underwriting units in this segment write specialty program insurance for well-defined niche markets, personal & commercial property, liability coverages, and worker’s compensation insurance. The London Insurance Market segment writes specialty property, casualty, professional liability, equine, marine, energy, and trade credit insurance and reinsurance on a worldwide basis. The company was founded by Samuel A. Markel in 1930 and is headquartered in Glen Allen, VA.”

“Markel History

Company founder Samuel A. Markel ran a small insurance agency in Norfolk, Virginia. In the 1920s, the city of Norfolk passed a law mandating that all jitney buses be insured. Unable to find backing from any large insurance firms, Markel organized a mutual insurance company composed of the jitney bus owners, called the Mutual Casualty Association. Company headquarters later moved to Richmond, Virginia.

The Mutual Casualty Company structure was rearranged in 1926 and transformed to a stock company, American Fidelity & Casualty Company. At this point, the company began insuring motor freight carriers. At one point, AF&C became the largest insurer of trucks and buses in the country. Markel assisted in passing the National Motor Carrier Act of 1935 which allowed state and federal authorities to regulate truckers.

In 1930, Markel established Markel Service, a separate company to handle direct and reinsurance of AF&C. His older twins Lewis and Irvin helped start Markel Service, and younger twins Stanley and Milton joined later.

In 1951, the company expanded into Canada by founding Markel Service Canada, Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, Ontario.

In 1959, the national claims division of AF&C became National Claims Service, an independent adjuster which could be contracted by other insurance firms. The Safety Engineering Division also began offering services to other firms.

The company later expanded beyond truck and bus companies, led by the third generation of Markels; Anthony (Vice Chairman), Steve, and Gary.

In 1980, the company founded Essex Insurance Company in Delaware. Essex began as a property insurance company in White Bear Lake, Minnesota but later moved to Richmond, Virginia.

In 1985, Prem Watsa took control of Markel Financial Holdings, a Canadian-based specialist in trucking insurance. The company was controlled by the Virginia-based Markel family. The company was almost bankrupt, but Watsa figured it just needed a capital injection. Watsa hit it off with Steven Markel, who is still a friend. In 1987, he reorganized Markel Financial Holdings (Canada) and renamed it Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., short for “fair, friendly acquisitions”.

In December 1986, Markel Corp. held its first IPO at $8.33 per share, valuing the company at $15 million. Shares traded on the NASDAQ.

In December 1987, Markel Corp. acquired half of Shand Morahan & Company, an underwriter in Deerfield, Illinois. In December 1990, Markel completed its acquisition of Shand.

As part of the Shand acquisition, Markel Corp. also acquired American Underwriting Managers, an insurance underwriter in Pewaukee, Wisconsin specializing in personal boat and motorcycle insurance. In 1992, AUM became Markel American Insurance Company.

In 1989, Markel Corp. acquired the Rhulen Agency of Monticello, New York. Rhulen is a speciality insurer for children’s summer camps and youth organizations. Rhulen was later moved to Richmond, Virginia, and renamed Markel Insurance Company.

In October 1996, Markel Corp. acquired Investors Insurance Holding Corporation in Red Bank, New Jersey.

In Spring 1997, Markel Corp. trading moved to the NYSE.

In January 2000, Markel Corp. founded Markel Southwest Underwriters in Scottsdale, Arizona after buying the Arizona policies of Acceptance Insurance Company.

In March 2000, Markel Corp. completed the acquisition of Terra Nova (Bermuda) Holdings Ltd.

In October 2009, Elliott Special Risks LP (ESR) were purchased by Markel International, a London based specialty property and casualty insurer that runs the international operations of Markel Corp.

On May 10, 2010 at the Markel Corp. Annual Meeting it was reported there would be a new management structure approved by the Board. Alan I. Kirshner will remain Chairman and Chief Executive Officer while Anthony F. and Steven A. Markel will still serve as Vice Chairman. Reporting to them is a three-member Office of the President. Thomas S. Gayner will be President and Chief Investment Officer, while Richard R. Whitt, III and Michael Crowley will each be President and Co-Chief Operating Officers.

In July 2010, Markel Corp. acquired Aspen Holdings, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska.

In April 2011, Markel (UK) Limited an appointed representative of Markel International Insurance Company Limited launched Markel Direct. An online direct to customer distribution channel for specialist insurance.

On January 4, 2012, Markel Corp. completed the acquisition of Thompson Insurance Enterprises, a privately held program administrator underwriting multi-line, industry-focused insurance programs.

In February 2012, Markel’s Camp Insurance Program, joined forces with CampDoc.com, a electronic health record system for camps, to help summer camps reduce risk and liability and to ensure the health and safety of kids while at camp. 

June 2012, Markel Direct expands product range into charity and community group risks 

On May 1, 2013, Markel Corporation completed its acquisition of Alterra Capital Holdings Limited. 

On December 17, 2013, Essentia Insurance Company (Essentia), a subsidiary of Markel Corp, was rated as “A2″ by Moody’s Investor Service with an uncertain outlook.”

*Information from Forbes.com

**Video published on YouTube by “Markel Corporation