Based on the aggregated intelligence of 130,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, specialty insurer Markel (NYSE:MKL) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Markel's business, and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Markel facts

Headquarters (founded)

Glen Allen, Va. (1930)

Market Cap

$2.59 billion


Property and Casualty Insurance

TTM Revenue

$1.9 billion


Chairman/CEO Alan Kirshner (since 1986)
CIO Thomas Gayner (since 2001)

Compound Annual Tangible Book Value Growth (over last five years)



Chubb (NYSE:CB)

CAPS members bullish on MKL also bullish on:

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
General Electric (NYSE:GE)

CAPS members bearish on MKL also bearish on:

Citigroup (NYSE:C)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, 2,599 of the 2,661 members who have rated Markel -- roughly 98% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include All-Star TMFInvestorpoet and JohnPRutledge.

In February, TMFInvestorpoet tapped Markel as a marvelous way to take advantage of the downturn:

Investment losses decreased Markel's book value in 2008. Looking forward, Markel should have good pricing power on policies and plenty of equity to invest at depressed prices. Look for book value growth in 2009 and a nice bump up in share price by the end of the year.

In a pitch from last month, JohnPRutledge compared Markel to yet another wealth-creating miracle:

This Baby [Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A)] is well managed and will do well over the long term. The CIO's deployment of float is quite impressive. It will be interesting to see the investment rejiggering and new stakes planted as I write this review. We won't know what [Markel] is doing right now for some time, but I think its shareholders will be mighty pleased with the way management is positioning the company for the years ahead.

What do you think about Markel, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 130,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Markel and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Berkshire Hathaway is also a selection of Stock Advisor. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor choice. The Fool owns shares of Markel and Berkshire. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.