By Michael Olsen, CFA, The Motley Fool – DailyFinance
If Berkshire Hathaway‘s (NYS: BRK.A) annual meeting is the main event in Omaha, and the Value Investing Congress is a delightful foodie dish, the Markel(NYS: MKL) brunch is that somewhat unknown, fringe trendy pub you frequent with your friends — before it’s cool, while it’s still accessible, and because it stays open for love of the craft. Each year, Steve Markel, founder and CEO of Markel, and Tom Gayner, the company’s colorful and successful chief investment officer, hold a brunch.
What’s amazing at this point in Markel’s lifecycle is that the meeting’s not better attended: Markel, for all intents and purposes, is a mini-Berkshire. It’s carefully refined a unique underwriting model and culture, and it skillfully deploys its insurance profits into best-of-breed companies at value prices. Better, it’s managed to fly under the radar — the company has a middling $4.3 billion market cap. It’s more of a value cognoscenti favorite than mainstream dish. But don’t mistake its potential: It’s an organization that over time appears truly built to last.