Markel Corp. reports yearly profit compared to 2008 loss

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Richmond insurance company Markel Corp. reported a profit of $202.4 million in 2009 compared with a $58.4 million loss in 2008.

The insurance company’s results improved primarily on a reduction in investment losses. Markel had $96.1 million in investment losses in 2009, compared with $407.6 million in 2008.

Markel Chairman and CEO Alan I. Kirshner said 2009 was a tough year in the financial markets as well as the insurance industry. Kirshner said he does not expect significant improvement in the insurance market in 2010.

The company benefited from a mild hurricane season in 2009.

Gross written premiums for the year decreased 14 percent in 2009 from 2008. The company said the decrease came primarily from competition and the weak economy.

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