7 May 2015 Insurance

Markel posts strong Q1 results

Specialist insurer Markel has posted a solid set of results for the first quarter of 2015 as it benefitted from a jump in income and a healthy combined ratio.

Its comprehensive income to shareholders was $281.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared with $230.3 million for the first quarter of 2014.

Markel’s combined ratio improved to 83 percent for the first quarter of 2015, compared with 95 percent in the same period of the prior year. This was driven by more favourable development of prior years’ loss reserves, as well as a lower current accident year loss ratio and a lower expense ratio compared to the first quarter of 2014.

Alan Kirshner, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “2015 is off to a tremendous start, with significant contributions from all parts of our business. Our underwriting operations produced a consolidated combined ratio of 83 percent.

“During the quarter, we ceded a significant portion of our asbestos and environmental reserves to a third party, which eliminated the uncertainty around these exposures and gives us flexibility regarding capital allocation. Our investment operations contributed approximately $263 million of pre-tax investment return to our first quarter 2015 results.

“We also continued to experience significant growth year over year within our Markel Ventures operations. The acquisition of Cottrell in July 2014 and strong performance in our other manufacturing operations drove a 43 percent increase in Markel Ventures revenues and more than doubled EBITDA attributable to Markel Ventures.”

William Stovin, president of Markel International, said: “Markel International’s insurance business continued to experience premium growth and deliver solid underwriting performance during the first quarter.

“We continue to see opportunities for our UK retail operations, expanded by the acquisition of Abbey Protection Group last year, to work more closely and effectively together. On the wholesale side of our business, our professional and financial risks business is benefitting from a combination of new leadership and the development of a portfolio of emerging risk products.

“We continue to grow our trade credit business, which is now operating in New York, Dubai and Singapore, as well as in London, and benefit from our well established equine and livestock business.

“We remain committed to building a business, focused on specialty products, which has strong underwriting profitability and which balances the volatility of the international wholesale market with local retail business.”


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