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Moody’s affirms Syndicate 3000

Lloyd’s insurer Markel Syndicate 3000 has had its B+ Above Average syndicate performance rating affirmed by Moody’s.

The ratings agency said the affirmation was the result of a “prudent reserving approach” at the syndicate as well as “the benefit of significant reserves relative to stamp capacity”. It added that in combination with a “conservative approach to reinsurance purchasing and… improved management controls imposed by Markel” these factors made it likely that “the syndicate should outperform the market over the cycle and give above average continuity prospects for policyholders”.

Moody’s comments came ahead of Markel Corporation’s 2005 Q1 results, which saw reported net income of $7.47 per diluted share for the quarter, compared to net income of $4.20 per diluted share for the same period of 2004.

The combined ratio improved to 90 percent compared to 96 percent in Q1 2004. Meanwhile, book value per share decreased to $165.47 per share at 31 March 2005 from $168.22 per share at December 31, 2004 due to a comprehensive loss of $26.1mn for the first quarter of 2005.

Alan I Kirshner, chairman and CEO, commented: “We are extremely proud that our disciplined underwriting approach continues to produce record underwriting performance. While the decline in market value of our investment portfolio was significant during the first quarter of 2005, we are not short-term investors and we remain confident in the long-term value of our holdings. We believe our commitment to underwriting profitability and our ability to produce exceptional investment results over the long term are the cornerstones for continued growth in book value per share.”

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