S&P Affirms Markel Corp. Ratings; Revises Outlook to Stable

October 24, 2003

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has affirmed the BBB- counterparty credit rating BBB- senior unsecured debt rating and BB preferred stock rating on Markel Corp. (MKL), but has revised its outlook from positive to stable.

“The outlook revision follows MKL’s recent announcement that it will report an unexpected reserve strengthening charge of $105 million in the third quarter of 2003, which is expected to result in an after-tax net loss of $15 million-$20 million for the quarter,” said S&P. “Because of this charge, Standard & Poor’s expects MKL’s 2003 earnings to fall below its expectations.”

The announcement also indicated that S&P “is concerned that reserve strengthening could continue to be a drag on MKL’s operating results over the medium term, given significant reserving charges reported by the group in the past four years. Capital adequacy, however, is expected to remain supportive of the credit rating over the medium term.”

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