November 18 - Markel International, the specialist insurer, is creating a service company in Hong Kong that will begin operating on 1 January 2011, from an office at Lee Gardens, and will provide underwriting services to the Hong Kong insurance market.

Markel International has a wide insurance portfolio, including products for marine and energy, property and casualty, and professional and financial risks. In Asia, it writes business via the Lloyd's Asia trading platform, using Syndicate 3000, its wholly-owed Lloyd's syndicate.

The new Hong Kong office will enable it to gain better access to the local market, particularly in specialist insurance lines for the territory's financial community, and is part of Markel's hub-and-spoke strategy in Asia. The regional hub is Singapore, where the company opened an office in 2007 - its first Asian operation.

Markel International also recently stepped up its underwriting activities in the Malaysian market after being granted a licence by the Labuan Financial Services Authority.

Peter Phillips, managing director of Markel International Singapore, said: "Hong Kong has been a priority market from the time we first joined the Lloyd's Asia platform as it presents significant opportunities for the products and lines of business in which we specialise.