In these days of red tape and bureaucracy, insurer Markel International’s unregimented approach to business continuity is highly unorthodox. But it is a policy that has proved successful for over three decades.

Markel Corporation has grown from a small family business, founded in the 1920s, into a multi-billion dollar international insurance provider. Markel International is the international arm and it underwrites a diverse portfolio of property, casualty, marine and reinsurance business on a worldwide basis.

Business continuity (BC) is an integral part of Markel International’s ‘business as usual’ operations rather than an ‘add on’ handled by a central department in isolation from the rest of the business. Company values of spontaneity and adaptability are reflected in the simplicity and flexibility of its business continuity management (BCM) programme in which responsibility for BC is devolved to the business, creating a true BC culture.