Markel American Insurance Company

Markel American Insurance Company
4521 Highwoods Parkway
Glen Allen, VA 23060

In the 1920’s, Sam Markel was in the business of providing insurance to the infancy stages of the transportation industry. He was considered to be one of the most successful brokers in the entire country for five decades. The entrepreneur’s twin sons soon carried on the family tradition. They hired specialists who concentrated on different challenging areas of unusual risks which was the market for their insurance. Over the years, their good investment sense paid off as they are acknowledged by the industry as top underwriting experts. A strategic evolution has taken place for Markel insurance. They have become risk bearers, more than your traditional insurance broker.

The “jitney” was the idea that started this whole venture. When World War I veterans started these innovative buses, the public demanded protection against accidents. Norfolk, Virginia passed a city ordinance that required all buses to be insured but nobody wanted to cover jitneys. Mr. Markel owned a small insurance agency at that time, and he saw the struggle of the small-time operators when no one wanted to sell insurance to them. Out of his desperation, he gathered all the jitney operators to create a small mutual insurance company which aimed at fulfilling their needs. By 1926, the Mutual Casualty Company was restructured and turned into a stock company where its future depended of legitimate truck and bus operations.

Business expansion began in 1930. At this point, the company has grown to be the largest insurer for the United States. Markel Service was established through the leadership of his younger twins. By 1951, it expanded its operations in Canada through the request of the Ontario Trucking Association. A subsidiary was formed in the same year. It was known as the Markel Service Canada.

The changing nature of the insurance industry needed the third generation of insurers ready to be diverse in offering new products. The move was complex, especially for a company which had services exclusively tailored for truck and bus-related products and services for almost 40 years. In order not to lose its client patronage, reputation and professionalism, the group hired more people with qualified skills and expertise.

Overseas partners help the firm reach its corporate goals and objectives. For many years it has been in alliance with Lloyd’s of London. An international conglomerate, the Hogg Robinson Group Limited, purchased common stock back in 1978. Their world-wide facilities, found in over 30 countries have benefitted Markel Service, not to mention, its readily available funds.

On March 24, 2004 the most significant event in Markel history occurred. It was the acquisition of the Terra Nova Holdings Ltd. which owned companies in UK, Bermuda, Paris and many more. It became a global insurance market for diverse casualty, property, aviation, marine, and reinsurance. International specialty markets were now part of the agenda of Markel.

These are all due to their strong corporate foundation created by strong relationships, committed employees, quality products, excellent customer service and teamwork. The modest company started by Sam Markel is now pushing industry standards.