Markel has poached the chief operating officer and underwriting director of Gerling at Lloyd's to head its new specialty division.

Peter Middleton will become Markel Inter-national's divisional managing director, specialty division on 5 January 2004. The specialty division is the rebranded name for the insurer's reinsurance and accident division. The company said that the name "reflects the type of business written currently and the way Markel foresees the division developing."

The existing reinsurance and accident team will form part of this division and Clive Couzens will continue as divisional managing director for accident and reinsurance.