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MARKEL CORPORATION ANNOUNCES RECORD EARNINGS

 RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Markel Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: MAKL) announced earnings per primary share of $.99 for the second quarter and $2.01 for the six month period ended June 30, 1993. "We are especially pleased with our second quarter accomplishments, which included increasing profitability from our underwriting operations, and a rating upgrade from A.M. Best for our Evanston Insurance Group subsidiaries. Now that all of our insurance companies carry an A- (Excellent) or better rating from A.M. Best, we are even better positioned to take advantage of opportunities in a competitive insurance market," commented Alan I. Kirshner, chairman and chief executive officer.
 Following is a comparison of 1993 and 1992 quarterly results on a per share basis (net of taxes):
 Quarter Ended Six Months Ended
 June 30, June 30,
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Primary earnings per share:
 Operations $0.56 $0.52 $1.11 $0.94
 Realized gains 0.43 0.38 0.90 0.38
 Net income before
 non-recurring items $0.99 $0.90 $2.01 $1.32
 Gain on the sale of
 brokerage programs -- -- -- 2.50
 Relocation costs -- -- -- (0.60)
 Net income $0.99 $0.90 $2.01 $3.22
 Net income for the second quarter increased 12 percent to $5.5 million, or $.99 per primary share, from $4.9 million, or $.90 per share reported in 1992. Underwriting results compared favorably to the prior year, as the Company reported a 93 percent combined loss and expense ratio for the second quarter, compared to a 98 percent combined ratio for the same period last year. The improvement was attributed to growth in earned premiums, favorable loss experience, and a continuing focus on expense reduction and control. Investment results for the second quarter of 1993 were 11 percent lower than those reported for the same period last year. The decline, due primarily to the impact of lower interest rates on net investment income, was partially offset by higher realized gains from the sale of investments.
 Net income before non-recurring items for the six month period increased 55 percent to $11.2 million, or $2.01 per primary share, from $7.2 million in the prior year, or $1.32 per primary share. Net income for the six month period in 1992 included two non-recurring items: a $13.8 million net gain, or $2.50 per primary share, from the sale of the Company's Governmental Programs Division and a $3.3 million after-tax provision, or $.60 per primary share, for the relocation of the Company's Markel Rhulen Underwriters Division (MRU) from Monticello, N.Y., to Richmond, Virginia. Net income for the six month period ended June 30, 1992, was $17.7 million, or $3.22 per primary share, after consideration of the non-recurring items.
 Operating revenues for the six month period rose 9 percent to $105.5 million, from $97.3 million last year. Growth in earned premiums due to higher retention of gross premium volume more than offset lower brokerage commission revenues, and higher realized gains from the sale of investments softened the impact of a decline in net investment income due to lower interest rates. Operating income for the six months increased 83 percent to $22.3 million from $12.2 million last year. The increase was the result of higher underwriting profits, higher total investment returns and the effect of a $5.0 million first quarter 1992 pre-tax charge to provide for the relocation of MRU. For the six month period, the Company reported a combined ratio of 94 percent compared to 98 percent in 1992. Underwriting results improved due to growth in earned premiums, favorable loss experience and expense reduction and control efforts.
 Long term debt at June 30, 1993, was $100.8 million, compared to $100.6 million at Dec. 31, 1992. The Company recently filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering up to $100 million of debt securities. The Company anticipates utilizing approximately $75 million of the securities being registered to refinance existing debt, with the remainder of the securities available for issuance for general corporate purposes in the future. The Company's leverage improved to 45 percent of total capital, from 48 percent of total capital at Dec. 31, 1992.
 Book value per common share increased 11 percent to $22.44 from $20.24 at Dec. 31, 1992. The increase was due to net income and unrealized gains in the Company's equity portfolios.
 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.
 MARKEL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Statements of Income
 (Unaudited)
 (dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 Quarter Ended Six Months Ended
 June 30, June 30,
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Operating revenues:
 Earned premiums $45,246 $35,195 $85,502 $71,532
 Commissions 348 4,165 700 8,422
 Net investment income 5,129 6,731 10,850 13,770
 Net realized gains
 from sales of
 investments 3,622 3,132 7,626 3,115
 Other 344 210 852 464
 Total operating
 revenues 54,689 49,433 105,530 97,303
 Operating expenses:
 Losses and loss
 adjustment expenses 28,453 23,225 52,191 45,359
 Policy acquisition
 and other insurance
 expenses 13,752 11,252 28,378 24,805
 General, administrative
 and other 1,293 4,796 2,632 9,966
 Relocation costs -- -- 5,000
 Total operating
 expenses 43,498 39,273 83,201 85,130
 Operating income 11,191 10,160 22,329 12,173
 Other income (expenses):
 Gain on sale of
 brokerage programs -- -- -- 23,271
 Amortization of
 intangible assets (1,721) (1,827) (3,448) (3,690)
 Interest (1,790) (1,316) (3,302) (2,890)
 Total other income
 (expenses) (3,511) (3,143) (6,750) 16,691
 Income before income
 taxes 7,680 7,017 15,579 28,864
 Income taxes 2,150 2,097 4,362 11,120
 Net income $5,530 $4,920 $11,217 $17,744
 Earnings per share:
 Primary $0.99 $0.90 $2.01 $3.22
 Fully diluted $0.99 $0.88 $2.00 $3.15
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Darrell D. Martin of Markel Corporation, 804-965-1635/
 (MAKL)


CO: Markel Corporation ST: Virginia IN: INS SU: ERN

MH-TW -- DC003 -- 8772 08/03/93 09:37 EDT
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Date:Aug 3, 1993
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