Markel Corp. (NYSE:MKL) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 06, 2019 • 09:30 am ET


Markel Corp. (NYSE:MKL) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Good morning, and welcome to the Markel Corporation Fourth Quarter 2018 Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask question. (Operator Instructions)

During the call today, we may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. They are based on current assumptions and opinions concerning a variety of known and unknown risks. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in or suggested by such forward-looking statements. Additional information about factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is included under the captions Risk Factors and Safe Harbor and Cautionary Statement in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q and earnings release on Form 8-K.

We may also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures in the call today. You may find a reconciliation to GAAP of these measures in the press release, which can be found on our website at in the Investor Information section. Please note, this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Tom Gayner, Co-Chief Executive Officer. Please go ahead.

Thomas S. Gayner

Good morning. Thank you, Nicole. Welcome to the Markel Corporation Year-End 2018 Conference Call. This is Tom Gayner, the co-CEO of Markel, and that it's my pleasure, along with my co-CEO, Richie Whitt; and our CFO, Jeremy Noble, to welcome you to our year-end 2018 conference call.

These calls are designed to give you a quick report on current conditions, financial results and our thoughts on the business environment for the Markel Corporation. We appreciate your long-standing partnership and interest as we continue to build your company over time, and we look forward to answering your questions at the conclusion of this call.

In short, 2018 was a fascinating year at Markel. We posted record revenues. Those revenues meant we served more customers with more products and services than ever. The revenues reflect our efforts to grow and expand the scope and scale of the Markel Corporation over time. Unfortunately, at the same time we're reporting record revenues, we also reported a comprehensive loss for the year.

Our loss in 2018 reflects volatile equity markets and declines in our equity portfolio, especially in the fourth quarter. We also experienced mark-to-market losses in our fixed income portfolio from higher overall levels of interest rate. The cluster of challenges in 2018 also included a second year in a row of historically high catastrophe losses in the insurance industry and specific challenges at our CATCo insurance and securities operation.

In each and every circumstance of challenge that I mentioned, I also believe that we learned how to better operate your company and to continue to build upon the multi-decade record of excellent financial results. We are optimistic about 2019 and beyond. At this point, I'm going to turn the call over to Jeremy Noble to give you a quick