S&P Puts Markel Corp. and Related Units’ Ratings on CreditWatch Negative

January 22, 2001

Standard & Poor’s has placed its ratings on Markel Corp. and related entities on CreditWatch with negative implications. These rating actions are based on Standard & Poor’s concerns about prospective earnings, capitalization and leverage at Markel Corp., the holding company.

The driver of these concerns is Markel international (formerly Terra Nove), which, through the third quarter of 2000, continued to operate below Standard & Poor’s expectations. Partially offsetting these concerns is the continuing strong performance of Markel North America, which continues to outperform its U.S. competitors. Standard & Poor’s will have discussions with Markel management in the near future to resolve the ratings’ CreditWatch status and to address its plans to improve earnings and capitalization in 2001.

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