Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-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 $4.02 billion
Industry Insurance
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $2.31 billion
Management

Chairman/CEO Alan Kirshner

President/CIO Thomas Gayner

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 4.5%
Cash/Debt $1.08 billion / $1.03 billion

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 98% of the 2,816 members who have rated Markel believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include joelechols and All-Star nrlbuild, who is ranked in the top 5% of our community.

Late last month, joelechols touched on Markel's market-beating qualities:

P&C insurance operations are ran very well. There is no moat (durable competitive advantage), but it doesn't need one. It uses float money to invest in outstanding companies with moats. Has consistently smoked the S&P with less standard deviation.

Over the past five years, in fact, Markel has grown its tangible book value at a solid rate of 12.1% annually. That's faster than other insurance stocks like AIG (NYSE: AIG) (1.2%), Chubb (NYSE: CB) (4.5%), and even Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) (9.6%).

CAPS All-Star nrlbuild expands on the Markel outperform argument:

Management's tone in annual meeting and other communications I have read is very good ... confident but realistic, if anything I would say they are cautious with their outlook while over delivering. The price seems to be good at only 1.2 times book value...the big question is can they continue to grow? They appear to have a blend of growth performance (thus no dividend) matched with a more "value" risk profile. Hoping for some safety here with a reasonable probability of growth leading to out performance.

What do you think about Markel, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!  

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended Markel and Berkshire, and The Fool owns shares of both. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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