Markel is looking at opening an office in Spain to spearhead a drive into Europe.

Markel International professional liability divisional director Jeremy Brazil said the company hoped to expand and raise its profile in London and internationally after a period of consolidation.

"One area worth further investigation is Spain," he said. "We could create a profile by opening an office."

The drive into new markets is likely to receive a boost with the arrival of new chief operating officer Gerry Albanese.

He becomes chief operating officer and president of Markel International. He was previously chief underwriting officer with Shand Morahan, Markel Corporation's US subsidiary.

Albanese will fill the role vacated by former president Jeremy Cooke, who left in May to join broker Marsh.

His arrival is likely to boost the company's drive into new markets.

Finance director Andrew Davies said Albanese would be "fantastic value" particularly for retail and liability classes, by bringing successful products across the Atlantic.

"Jeremy Cooke did the hard work, the difficult bits which was getting the right structure. He was superb for that role."

With Albanese and new chief administrative officer Richie White, who also joins Markel International from its parent organisation, the company was well placed to grow, he said.