Although its main business is insurance and that segment is doing well, some of the investments it has been making with its excess cash are performing even better.
The economy is in recovery, and while the market as measured by the Value Line Index was up 12% in the past year, Markel is up more than 24% for the same period:
Source: Barchart.com Markel Corporation markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Excess and Surplus Lines, Specialty Admitted, and London Insurance Market. 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, and commercial umbrella, as well as provides environmental, transportation, inland marine, ocean marine, casualty facultative, railroad, and public entity insurance products. The Specialty Admitted segment writes risks that remain with an admitted insurance company for marketing and regulatory reasons. This segment writes specialty program, personal and commercial property, and liability and workers' compensation insurance products. The London Insurance Market segment writes specialty property, casualty, professional liability, equine, marine, energy, and trade credit insurance and reinsurance products. The company was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia. (The preceding company profile is from Yahoo! Finance.)