Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-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 and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Markel facts

Headquarters (founded)

Glen Allen, Va. (1930)

Market Cap

$7.2 billion


Property and casualty insurance

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$3.4 billion


Chairman/CEO Alan Kirshner
President/CIO Thomas Gayner

Return on Equity (average, past 3 years)


Cash / Debt

$2.7 billion / $2.3 billion


CNA Financial 
Meadowbrook Insurance Group
Travelers Companies

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 98% of the 2,935 members who have rated Markel believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.   

Just last week, one of those Fools, All-Star Manlobbi, succinctly summed up the Markel bull case for our community:

Rather correlated to the S&P500 from one year to the next however (1) low cost leverage from float, (2) marginal equity outperformance, (3) leverage from invested unrealized capital gains and (4) initial price/book multiple of 1.15 versus historical average substantially higher-together will lead almost certainly to outperformance of the S&P500 over say 5 years.

If you want market-thumping returns, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Of course, despite a strong five-star rating, Markel may not be your top choice.