3 February 2021News

Markel sees profits slide to $798m in 2020, Q4 offers encouragement

Markel saw its profits slide in 2020 but still generated a healthy income, with the global pandemic and another challenging year of unusually high catastrophe losses creating challenging circumstances for the business.

Markel reported net profit of $797.6 million for 2020, less than half of the $1.79 billion reported in 2019. Its fourth quarter performance brought more cheer for investors however, with net profit of $828.9 million in 2020, up from $511.1 million in the same period of 2019.

Gross written premiums for 2020 were $9.27 billion, up from $8.78 billion in 2019. For the reinsurance segment specifically gross written premiums inched up to $1.13 billion from $1.11 billion in 2019.

For Q4 2020 Markel reported gross written premiums of $2.3 billion, up from $2.01 billion in the same period the previous year. For the reinsurance business gross written premiums were up to $172.4 million, from $151 million in Q4 2019.

Markel’s consolidated combined ratio was 98 percent for 2020, up from 94 percent. For the reinsurance segment specifically, its combined ratio for 2020 was 103.7 percent, up from 104.4 percent in 2019.

For Q4 2020 its combined ratio was 89 percent - 96 percent for the reinsurance business - compared to 93 percent the previous year, and 120 percent for reinsurance.

Thomas Gayner and Richard Whitt, co-chief executive officers of Markel, said the business “enters 2021 well positioned to continue the momentum of our excellent fourth quarter. We will help our customers navigate continued near-term economic uncertainties and cautiously look forward to greater opportunities as economies around the world recover."

They added: "We are grateful and amazed by how our employees responded to the global pandemic and continued to serve the needs of our customers, trading partners, shareholders and each other."